A venture-capital fund focused on University of Arizona spinoffs has announced its fourth investment since its founding last year, backing a Phoenix-based startup with an online platform to help hotels and restaurants quickly find temporary workers.
UA Venture Capital Fund LLC participated in funding a seed round of growth capital for Qwick Inc., which was founded by Blaine Light, a graduate of the UA College of Engineering and its McGuire Entrepreneurship Program.
Qwick’s online platform (qwick.com) was launched in Phoenix less than a year ago, and the company has registered more than 4,000 hospitality professionals and more than 130 hotels, catering companies, event venues, restaurants and bars.
The funds invested by UA Venture Capital will be used to continue Qwick’s expansion into additional markets, the fund said.
The size of the investment was not disclosed, but the fund’s average investment is about $2 million, said Fletcher McCusker, CEO and co-founder of the UA Venture Capital Fund.
Light said he’s using his prior experience helping to launch Uber’s ridesharing service in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico a few years ago.
“I’m inspired by all the people we are helping, and I love hearing about the extra income they are earning in their downtime,” Light said in a news release.
Qwick offers hospitality workers flexibility and control over their schedules, while businesses benefit by being able to fill shifts in real-time with a qualified and vetted workforce at a fraction of the cost of traditional staffing agencies, the company says.
“These are the kinds of extremely bright and intelligent young entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies that we want to help keep in Arizona,” McCusker said.
The fund’s first three investments were in UA tech spinoffs Codelucida, which has developed error-correction technology that can enable cheaper high-performance data drives for consumer and data center storage; Regulonix, which is working on a new, nonopioid painkiller; and Post.Bid.Ship., which offers an online trucking platform that links up available haulers with shippers.