3 San Francisco Startups Share Their Hiring Plans After Big Funding Rounds

After securing major investments, these three companies are on the rise — and hiring now.
Written by Jeff Kirshman
September 8, 2022Updated: September 8, 2022

Since its founding in 2017, fresh food technology provider Afresh has helped supermarkets make progress toward their sustainability goals — including avoiding 6.9 million pounds of food waste.

That’s the equivalent of reducing 3,820 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and preventing 117 million gallons of wasted water. Yet the Bay Area startup recently presented another figure that might be its most encouraging yet: $115 million in Series B funding to continue its mission of eliminating food waste and making fresh food accessible to all. 

“This round of funding proves that climate tech is important to investors and shows we’re building technology that the world needs,” CEO and co-founder Matt Schwartz said. “I am certainly excited about this financing, but I’m more energized by our team, the phenomenal work we do to be of service to our grocery customers and the positive social impact we’re making.”

In other Bay Area venture news, digital transformation and engagement platform Firework raised $150 million in Series B funding — bringing their total valuation to $750 million — and hopes to use this influx of capital in technology and development, with emphasis on a shift to web3. Meanwhile, data and cloudy company Ascend raised $30 million in Series B funding this April, led by Tiger Global, and is growing on all fronts.

Built In San Francisco met with tech professionals from all three companies to learn more about these recent investments, and how they plan on using the injection of capital to execute their ambitious goals.

The best part? All three companies are hiring now.


Ascend.io team photo



What they do: Ascend.io is a big data and cloud company striving to enable organizations to innovate faster by harnessing the power of automation. 


Describe your latest round of funding.

We raised $31 million in our Series B in April 2022. The round was led by Tiger Global, with participation from Shasta Ventures and existing investor Accel. We’re really excited, as this new round of funding will allow us to accelerate our go-to-market efforts, expand into new geographies and extend Ascend’s data automation cloud to support full multi-cloud data mesh automation.


What is your company’s biggest priority for headcount growth?

We’re growing on all fronts! With our customer traction accelerating — we’ve quadrupled our growth in users — we’re hiring a ton on our field engineering team for roles such as solution architects, cloud data architects and field data engineers, who partner closely with our customers on the technical implementation and rollout of Ascend. We’re also investing heavily in our sales and marketing teams as we ramp our go-to-market efforts. Finally, as always, we’re looking to add more talented software engineers to the team to further extend the capabilities of our data automation cloud. By the end of the year, we will have more than doubled our headcount!

We’re always excited when we find people who are as passionate about data as we are.”


What’s the best way for jobseekers to secure an interview with your company?

Candidates should include an updated resume and customize it to highlight how they would be a great fit for the role and our team. One of the things we are always looking for is someone who embodies our core values: one team, one dream, evolve with intent, I got it, and build for 10x, plan for 100x. Of course, we’re always excited when we find people who are as passionate about data as we are.



Afresh group photo in the office


Matt Schwartz
CEO and co-founder


What they do: Afresh is a system built for fresh inventory, forecasting, ordering and grocery store operations to help eliminate food waste.


Describe your latest round of funding.

In early August, we announced $115 million in Series B funding, which gives us a significant amount of capital to accelerate our vision of a fresher future. This round, led by Spark Capital, included participation from Insight Partners, VMG Partners, Bright Pixel Capital and Walter Robb, senior executive partner at S2G Ventures and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. All of our prior investors also joined, bringing total funding to $148 million since founding Afresh in 2017.

Afresh started with a small set of regional chains that took a leap of faith on us, and these successes have enabled us to work with an even larger set of customers, including the third largest in the country: Albertsons. We’re coming up on having signed almost 10 percent of all supermarkets in the U.S. onto our platform, and we’re so excited to grow even further from here.


What is your company’s biggest priority for headcount growth?

Food shapes our day-to-day experience of the world, and it profoundly shapes our environment as well. Growing, producing and distributing food consumes 30 percent of global energy use and 50 percent of habitable land use — and about one-third of that goes uneaten. Despite the potential for technology to yield massive benefits within the fresh food supply chain, this segment of the industry has remained far less addressed by such innovations. 

As demand for our technology increases, we’re expanding teams across the company and have almost 50 open roles right now. The bulk of those are in engineering, where we have 20-plus positions open, including front end, back end and full stack engineers; machine learning engineers and data scientists; and infrastructure engineers. We are also hiring multiple product managers, user researchers and designers, as well as a couple of solution architects.

Afresh has a clear path ahead toward reducing millions — and then billions — of pounds of food waste while building a strong and enduring business. It’ll require hard work, but I know we’re building the team to do it.

Every person on the team has the opportunity to create a lasting impact.”


What’s the best way for jobseekers to secure an interview with your company?

At Afresh, we value your “why” just as much as the line items on your resume. When writing a cover letter or organizing your resume, share what motivates you as a person, why our mission resonates with you and what you’re looking for professionally. Be sure to share specific examples: Explain how your contributions directly impacted the company, culture or product you worked on in past roles or environments. As a small company with a hugely important mission, every person on the team has the opportunity to create a lasting impact.



Firework join our team


Loren Guerra
Head of Technical Recruiting


What they do: Firework uses live streaming and short videos to drive online conversions for e-commerce brands.


Describe your latest round of funding.

This past May, we secured $150 million in Series B funding, led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and are now valued at $750 million. To date, we have secured more than $235 million in funding since we were founded in 2017.


What is your company’s biggest priority for headcount growth?

Technology and product development, especially with a shift toward web3, are our biggest growth areas, with an emphasis on engineering, product management and marketing headcount.

We have a number of roles posted that are either remote or hybrid.”


What’s the best way for jobseekers to secure an interview with your company?

We ask that anyone and everyone who is interested in joining us actively apply via our career page. We have a number of roles posted that are either remote or hybrid, with offices in San Mateo and New York City. That being said, we do not have a heavily mandated in-office requirement; instead, we request that employees who live a commutable distance spend Thursday or Friday in the office, if they are able. Candidates are encouraged to reach out to me directly once they apply so I can keep an eye out for their resume: [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!



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