SmartRecruiters raises $50m to help companies find the best talent.

San Francisco based startup, SmartRecruiters have raised $50 million in a series D round of funding.

Regular readers of Our Week in Digital will know that we love a recruitment based news story.  This week we are truly spoiled…this particular gem combines our two biggest loves. Tech and Recruitment!

SmartRecruiters was founded in 2010.  Since that time, they have gone from strength to strength offering their 360 SaaS product.  Designed to span the entire hiring journey, it takes users through the early stages of marketing a new position to tracking applications, right through to making the final offer.     

The core platform includes tools for distributing job posts across a myriad of online job boards.  It can create career and job pages specific to each position and monitor a candidates’ performance until an offer has been accepted.

Additionally, it supports collaboration between all the decision-makers involved in the hiring process.  Users are able to use online chat facilities and form “team” groupings, similar to the Microsoft Teams model where feedback can be discussed and shared until a consensus is reached.  

SmartRecruiters also features hundreds of third-party integrations.  It covers background checks, analytics, communications and assessment apps.  Useful if you are a large, enterprise customer managing multiple candidates across multiple roles.  

CEO and founder Jerome Ternynck believes his product is perfect for large enterprise customers:

“Fortune 500 companies don’t have the luxury of letting critical positions go unfilled — they need to maintain their competitive advantage through effective sourcing of quality talent,”

In evidence of this, the company already boast an impressive client base.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Ikea, Visa, and Bosch are all household names using the SmartRecruitment software.   

SmartRecruiters had previously raised $55 million, including a healthy $30m series D three years ago.  With this additional $50m in the bank the company plan to further invest across AI and machine learning; a trend which is set to radically disrupt recruitment software in the coming years.  Indeed, AI is playing a pivotal role in helping companies solve their recruitment needs.

In a demonstration of this, Fetcher, Eightfold and Pymetrics are three more names who have recently raised large chunks of VC cash to bring more automation to recruitment.

Alongside their AI efforts, SmartRecruiters have global ambitions. They are planning to expand their operations across the Asian and European markets.

Ternynck added, “With this funding in place, we see an accelerated product development trajectory, allowing us to build on our record of delivering what we call hiring success: better hires, better hiring velocity, better candidate quality, and enhanced candidate experience for enterprise customers”.

Talkspace picks up $50m Series D funding.

Quite rightly, mental wellness is receiving some much-needed airtime.  Some very high profile, public figures are working tirelessly to reduce the stigma surrounding talking about our mental wellbeing and the need for us all to be more mindful as we go about our day to day lives.

The sheer abundance of wellness and meditation apps across space goes some way to address this need, but now It appears that the world of tech has gone one step further and recognised the demand for products which facilitate open channels of communication with professionals at the point of need.

One of these is Talkspace; a platform which allows patients and therapists to communicate online.  On Wednesday, Talkspace were able to announce the close of a $50m financing round led by Revolution Growth.  Also investing in the round are current financiers Norwest Venture Partners, Omura Capital, Spark Capital and Compound Ventures.  This latest round takes the total raised by Talkspace to $106.7 million.

For a subscription fee, users are able to ‘chat’ directly (and without limitation) to one of the company’s 5,000 healthcare professionals. Since its 2012 launch, Talkspace has also rolled out products specific to certain user groups; teenagers or couples for example.

In a statement issued by Talkspace, they indicate the funding will be used to boost the growth of its commercial business.  In direct evidence of their intentions, they used the same statement to highlight a new partnership with Optum Health…a technology-driven health services business.  Optum are just the latest enterprise customer to offer the Talkspace product to its employees and members as part of its package.

Talkspace CEO and co-founder Oren Frank remarked that,

“Our advanced capabilities in data science enable us to not only open access to therapy, but also identify the attributes of successful therapeutic relationships and apply that knowledge throughout the predictive products we build, to the therapists that use our platform, and in the content we provide”.

Tech and the digital landscape is evolving at a rapid rate.  In particular, our overuse of, and hang up with social media has been blamed for the decline in our mental well being, especially amongst the young.

Perhaps with products like this, tech is going some way to re-address the imbalances.  Paradoxically though, it could be argued that it is the lack of face-to-face contact facilitated by our screens which has contributed to our growing mental ill health in the first place.  Indeed, we can do everything we need to do online without having to set foot from our homes or speak to another living being! Including it seems receiving therapy!

Paris opens a data centre to control its digital infrastructure.

Above ground, Paris is a metropolitan, vibrant and dynamic city.  Quite apart from all the obvious landmarks adorning the pages of Parisian guidebooks, Paris has another string to its bow.  Alongside Berlin, the French capital is fast becoming mainland Europe’s premier tech hub. Home to Station F, the largest tech startup campus in the world, it is a magnet for techies from all over the globe.  It is welcoming a stellar digital workforce to it’s Juliet balcony-lined streets.

Underground too it is just as fascinating; home of the catacombs…the sewers…and of course the world famous Metro system.  Now, hidden in the basement of an 18th Arrondissement office building there lies a new data centre; one from which The City of Paris will be able to host and control all their digital services.

Why then, in a city famed for it’s growing tech dominance is cloud-based infrastructure being shunned for a more ‘hands-on’ approach to data management?   City of Paris officials say that it comes down to remaining in control of their public data, providing more reliable services and reducing the environmental impact.  

Overall though and quite unsurprisingly, cost seems to be the main factor in the city’s decision.  Creating a data centre such as this is much more cost efficient than renting some space.

Over the last 4 years, IBM has been operating the data centre space used by The City of Paris.  However, every 4 years the contract has to be re-negotiated. Should another provider be cheaper than IBM, for example, The City of Paris would have to migrate all their servers to a new centre – a lengthy and costly process.  In fact, doing so could cost in the region of €1 million.

The City of Paris has decided to play the long game.  Officials have spent nearly $18 million (€16 million) on the new centre in the hope that it won’t have to open another or ‘move’ again for the next 50 years.   

Paris IT Head, Joachim Labrunie has remarked;

“We want to be able to tell citizens where their data is, we want to save some money and we want some stability by avoiding regular moves”.

When compared to most data centres, this one is quite small.  It has room for for 240 racks, occupies 8,200 square feet and will only need 300 servers to operate.

It is a tier 3 data centre which means Paris can expect at least 99.982% of uptime.  

In case of failure, there is a plan B of sorts! A huge generator is on standby in case of a crash…essential when you consider that it will also accommodate some of the public services relied upon by Paris’ 2.1 million residents.  The organisations in charge of social housing (Paris Habitat), public hospitals (APHP) and water distribution (Eau de Paris) will each rent some space from the company.

Paris officials realise that this decision to move from the cloud is likely to raise a few eyebrows, and acknowledge that it is not a system which would work for everyone.  We mentioned earlier that Paris is fast becoming a global hot bed of tech talent. It is this abundance of digital skill which Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire believes will allow The City of Paris to make a success of the project.  He says “…the city already has talent to build, operate and manage” the centre.

It certainly seems to make sense for Paris and it will be interesting to see if other cities follow suit.  

Bristol-based, Ultrahaptics buys Silicon Valley rival for $30m.

Quite literally making the “leap” to The Valley, Silicon Gorge based start-up Ultrahaptics has purchased rival gesture tracking firm, Leap Motion for $30m (£23.7m).

Headquartered in San Francisco, the acquisition develops sensors which allow people to translate their hand movements into virtual signals.

Ultrahaptics announced its purchase of Leap Motion on Thursday and will see them be able to extend their already impressive offering.  Ultrahaptics will take on all Leap Motion’s staff and patents. In so doing, the company plans to use Leap Motion technology to help create a host of other products…automotive products, digital signage and medical interfaces among them.   

In a statement released earlier this week, Ultrahaptics chief executive Steve Cliffe outlined their ambitions.  He said, “our combined technologies have the opportunity to be at the global epicentre of spatial interaction. We are building a company to support the changes between human and machine interaction that will define the 21st Century.”

As the Internet of Things continues to advance, companies using this technology and building haptic feedback can only prosper.  In recent years, smartphone manufacturers and carmakers are just two industries which have been able to revolutionise and disrupt their respective markets.  Through using haptic technology, they have been able to pioneer transformative concepts such as to create the illusion of physical buttons and switches on otherwise flat surfaces.  

Definitely defining the 21st century!  

It is always exciting to witness the prowess of Bristol’s tech entrepreneurs in action and we love reading stories which confirm all that we at Ignite Digital Talent have known for some time – that the South West is home to some of the greatest tech and digital enterprises on the planet.  Congratulations Ultrahaptics. We can’t wait to see what you do next!

And Finally:

Tweeter in Chief required!

If communicating in 280 characters or less is your thing then maybe this is the job for you!  

Twitter are looking to hire a “Tweeter in Chief” to help the social platform better communicate and engage with its users.

One of the most common stones hurled at the upper echelons of Twitter’s management is its failure to understand those who use it and how to communicate publically with those who do!  

Perhaps then, this is why Twitter are now looking to employ a Tweeter in Chief.  The unusual job listing went live earlier this week and describes the position as one which will “set the tone of who we are and how we act, and talk to people on Twitter”.  Delving a little deeper, the company is calling for applicants who are “extremely plugged into the Twitter culture, stan culture, and culture in general,” as well as someone “obsessed with building communities and how content travels on the platform”.  They are looking for a “master in the art” of Twitter; someone with a “passion and expertise” for marketing.

Recently, Twitter has been criticised for its fundamental failings on how it handles speech and who it allows on its platform. Perhaps this is best demonstrated by examining how the site approaches fixing these issues. Reactions from the platform surrounding White Extremist activity, hate speech and harassment, for example, have been inconsistent at best.  It certainly can’t hurt then to have someone on board who is more steeped in online culture to look after its primary communication channel.

Note to Mr Dorsey… We are specialists in all things tech and digital recruitment!  Finding @Twitter a Tweeter in Chief would be right up our ‘Tweet’!

We’d be happy to talk terms!


About the author: As a founder of Ignite Digital Talent, I lead our brilliant team to ensure we deliver time and time again for our clients. I also stay closely networked with industry influencers to ensure we are well placed to understand the issues and challenges our clients face.

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