Wize Hire, a recruitment service for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Tiger Global with Amplo and Mercury. The tranche values the company at $250 million once the money is released, and co-founder and CEO Sid Upadhyay says it will aim to increase WizeHire’s staff by more than 100 people, expand the company’s workforce, and “further establish[ing]relationships with technical partners.
COVID-19 has put pressure on the labor supply chain, especially in those segments of the economy that are in crisis due to pandemic-related travel restrictions and work-from-home policies. In 2021 poll from The Conference Board, which specializes specifically in the service industry, 80% of respondents said they had difficulty finding skilled workers.
With a deficit not expected to end soon, some organizations have turned to technology for a solution. WizeHire was the main beneficiary. Its customer base has doubled in 2021 to 15,000 employers, and sources close to the company told TechCrunch that it now has about $10 million in annual recurring revenue.
“The pandemic has further shed light on our customers’ need for recruitment and hiring tech,” Upadhyay told TechCrunch via email. “For a recruitment platform targeted at small and medium businesses – and which was launched at the time – the first months of the pandemic were difficult… [But we] expanded our services beyond hiring to include new products such as access to paycheck protection loans or small business tax credits directly on our app… [and] expanded our presence in new industries such as mortgages and insurance.”
WizeHire was founded in 2014 by Upadhyay and Jay Niblick. Upadhyay previously co-founded Hoot.me, an app that allows college students to add lessons and collaborate with teachers and classmates on Facebook. Civitas Learning acquired Hoot.me in 2013.
According to Upadhyay, WizeHire’s goal was to address some of the major challenges SMEs face when it comes to recruiting. Small business owners often need help writing effective job ads, as well as being able to post jobs in more places, he says. The statistics paint a picture: According According to the latest NFIB Jobs Report, 92% of SMBs reported having few or no qualified candidates when they applied for a job.
“Small businesses should focus on growth, not on HR trends, industry statistics, or labor market best practices. WizeHire is doing the hard work to help them find the right talent to grow their business,” said Upadhyay.
WizeHire is different from platforms like gemstone, Ottaand Talent.com with an algorithm that guides businesses through the recruitment process. Trained on resumes on skills and licenses and grades on soft skills, algorithm offers compensation for a role, a specific location for posting a job posting, and candidates based on criteria selected by the company.
Upadhyay offers an algorithm to save time, but it should be noted that these kinds of models can reinforce bias in the hiring process. Amazon reportedly turned off an AI hiring tool that, trained on resumes for 10 years, discriminated against female applicants. Recognizing the danger, New York City recently passed a law that prohibits businesses from using algorithm-based systems to make New Yorker hiring decisions without first testing those tools for bias.
Upadhyay did not directly answer the question about algorithmic bias, but indicated that WizeHire also provides advice from hiring and business coaches.
In addition to AI-driven offerings, WizeHire advises clients on the difficulty of hiring in their local market based on analysis of internal hiring data and “proprietary third-party data”. In the other place, WizeHire recently partnered with LinkedIn to make it easier to use apps on mobile devices and partnered with Payscale, which advises small businesses on payroll issues, to expand the understanding of compensation on the company’s platform.
Looking ahead, WizeHire plans to add background checks and text messaging between candidates and recruiters, as well as “legal-approved” industry-specific proposal letter templates.
“Staffing firms are expensive, candidate tracking systems are built for HR professionals, and managing job boards is time-consuming for the busy business owner. The hiring problems on Main Street are so visible that it affects everyday customers,” Upadhyay added. “Many HR technology companies are looking to help enterprise companies with unlimited resources. WizeHire not only focuses on underserved main street companies, but also creates a unique experience for them for each industry vertical.”
WizeHire’s latest funding round, which brings its total raised to $37.5 million, comes amid a flurry of venture capital investment in HR technology platforms fueled by pandemic-era challenges. Last year, venture capital investors invested more than $12.3 billion in global HR startups, about 3.6 times more than in 2020. according on the Pitchbook.
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