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  • Writer's pictureJason Brooke


Byto provides a community for workers, hiring managers, and employers that aim to fill hourly and/or temporary work positions. I initially came across the Byto team after their successful completion of the College New Venture Challenge and Polsky Accelerator at the University of Chicago. I was able to chat recently with the founders and was immediately taken with their story as well as ambition to create a better and easier way for job fulfillment.


It was the summer of 2019 and Yuki was on the hunt for a job. He had just completed his freshman year at the University of Chicago and was looking for a side hustle to help make some extra cash. As he began his search, Yuki was confronted with the challenge of where to turn for his job search process.

Yuki soon realized that most of his peers found temporary work positions via referrals from friends and/or friends-of-friends. However, he was surprised to realize that this process was almost entirely conducted via ‘word-of-mouth.’ This begged the question as to why there did not exist some type of platform or aggregation point to help streamline the peer networking process for hourly job searches.


Over the successive months, Yuki recruited several peers from the University of Chicago – which would eventually become Byto’s founding team – to begin investigating the issue. They focused on service sector economy segments (e.g., restaurants, retail, warehousing) which maintained high frequency hiring needs for hourly or temporary workers but that were often overlooked by Gig Economy platform providers such as Upwork or Freelancer.

Conducting dozens of interviews, the team was surprised to learn that over 50% of labor-seekers in these industries relied on peer networks to discover job opportunities. Employers also preferred hiring from referrals, but often struggled to fill positions in a timely fashion and instead underwent a highly manual hiring process that might cost up to $500 per hire.

"I was surprised to discover how many people actually get jobs through some type of connection or referral. These personal networks ended up being much more impactful than a general job search site like Indeed" - Yuki Yuminaga

Thus, Byto was conceived as a community for workers, hiring managers and employers. Byto’s easy-to-use, intuitive platform would enable labor-seekers to gain referrals to jobs that best fit them while employers would successfully reduce time- and cost-to-hire.


Large, Supercharged Team

Byto immediately stands out with a five-member founding team. Yuki serves as CEO, leading the business model development and management strategy for the startup. Ren (COO) & Fong (CMO) spearhead commercialization and marketing efforts, with a focus on enrolling workers and employer partners. Byto also boasts two CTOs – Jerome & Yves – that have helped realize the architectural vision for the platform and mitigated the need to rely on outsourced technical talent.

Dual-Sided Value Proposition

Byto aims to improve the hiring experience for both job-seekers and employers for hourly positions. For job-seekers, Byto helps to create a tailored professional bio for each individual that is onboarded to the platform. Once the profile is established, workers can begin connecting with current as well as former employees within their target fields and start receiving referrals to relevant postings. For employers, Byto provides a dedicated hiring portal to create new job postings, manage the pipeline of candidates, and receive recommendations to relevant hires. By focusing on improving the experience for both workers and employers, Byto can drastically reduce the time- and cost-to-hire for hourly positions.

Networking, Not Just Job Searching

As opposed to generalist job search (e.g., Indeed, Monster) or Gig Economy (e.g., Upwork, Freelancer) platforms, Byto provides a dedicated community for hourly and/or temporary workers. In addition to finding available positions on the platform, job-seekers have the opportunity to network with and learn from similarly focused professionals within their community. Byto’s emphasis on networking is key – as this helps workers to land a job through a single referral, rather than submitting hundreds of applications across employer websites.

"We are not a job search platform, we are a networking platform. We are building a community that both workers and employers can tap into for addressing their hiring needs" - Ren Yu Kong


The Byto team aims to provide a seamless hiring experience for both workers and employers for hourly positions – from the minute a job is posted to the point where it is filled. For employers, this means a faster and lower cost hiring cycle. For workers, Byto represents a one-stop shop for their career search needs.

The Byto team is currently gearing up for the formal platform launch in January 2021, after which point the team will begin planning for a formal capital raise. The team has already received strategic and financial support from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago. For further questions, please contact Ren Yu Kong at

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