The Latest from the Talent Tech Industry
March 8-13, 2021: SeekOut raises $65M to take on LinkedIn; U.S. hiring outlook continues to improve; Christy’s auctions a JPG file “minted” as a nonfungible token (NFT) for $69M in cryptocurrency; Google escalates its war on the college degree; India-based Apna, a LinkedIn for blue and grey-collar workers, raises $12.5 M; Tengai, the interviewing robot can now work on a candidate’s smartphone; TAtech announces totally awesome conferences; Flock’s AI-enabled cameras are watching city streets to catch those committing non-violent crimes.
Recruiting startup SeekOut raises $65M to take on LinkedIn
Seattle startup SeekOut raised $65 million to fuel growth of its recruiting software. The 4-year-old company is profitable and saw annual recurring revenue spike 10X over the past 21 months. The Series B round, led by Tiger Global with participation from Madrona Venture Group and Mayfield, values the company at close to $500 million. SeekOut previously raised a $6 million round in 2019. The company’s “Talent 360” software is like LinkedIn on steroids. It pulls information on potential hires from sites such as LinkedIn and GitHub; from research papers and patents; and other public domains. Its algorithms can also make assumptions based on various data — for example, whether someone might have a security clearance. The platform has built-in diversity filters to help reduce unconscious bias; an automated messaging tool; and a search engine that understands past hiring patterns and needs based on job descriptions.
U.S. Hiring Outlooks Continue to Improve for Q2
Hiring outlooks continue to improve for the second quarter according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey (NYSE: MAN) of more than 7,500 U.S employers. Employers in all twelve U.S. industries report positive outlooks, with the strongest hiring activity forecast in Leisure & Hospitality sector (+27%), Transportation & Utilities (+23%) and Wholesale & Retail Trade (+22%). Employers are more optimistic about a return to pre-pandemic hiring than last quarter, with more than half (52%) expecting pre-pandemic hiring levels will return before the end of 2021.
JPG File Sells for $69 Million, as ‘NFT Mania’ Gathers Pace
After a flurry of more than 180 bids in the final hour, a JPG file made by Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple, was sold on Thursday by Christie’s in an online auction for $69.3 million with fees. The price was a new high for an artwork that exists only digitally, beating auction records for physical paintings by museum-valorized greats like Eugene Delacroix, Marcel Duchamp and Francisco Goya. Beeple’s collaged JPG was made, or “minted,” in February as a “nonfungible token,” or NFT. A secure network of computer systems that records the sale on a digital ledger, known as a blockchain, gives buyers proof of authenticity and ownership. Most pay with the Ethereum cryptocurrency. “Everydays” was the first NFT sold by Christie’s, and it offered to accept payment in Ethereum, another first for the 255-year-old auction house.
Inside Google’s Plan to Disrupt the College Degree
Google announced the next steps in its plan to disrupt the world of education, including the launch of new certificate programs that are designed to help people bridge any skills gap and get qualifications in high-paying, high-growth job fields--with one noteworthy feature: No college degree necessary. The new tools could be a game changer for a growing number of people who consider the current educational system broken, or for the millions of Americans who are currently unemployed, much due to fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan includes: the release of three new Google Career Certificates on Coursera in project management, data analytics, and user experience (UX) design; a new Associate Android Developer Certification course; over 100,000 need-based scholarships; partnerships with more than 130 employers working with Google to hire graduates of its certificate program; and a new Google Search feature that makes it easier for people to find jobs for their education level, including no degree and no experience.
Apna.co raises $12.5 million led by Sequoia, Greenoaks
Apna.co, an India-based professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers, has raised $12.5 million led by Sequoia Capital India and Greenoaks Capital. Existing investors, Lightspeed India and Rocketship.vc, also participated in the round. Founded in 2019, the app comprises vertical communities for skilled professionals like carpenters, painters, field sales agents, among others. Users on the app get access to local jobs, network with peers, and tap into upskilling opportunities.
Tengai Goes Digital – In Your Smartphone
To meet the increased market demand for conversational AI and remote interviews, we’re launching automated two-way interactive digital video interviews. With the new release, recruiters around the world can sit back and relax, while candidates perform the interviews. Hiring managers can then access the unbiased interview data and its result. Tengai Interview software with conversational AI is a robot interviewer Unbiased by design; it is a fully automated interview software powered by 15 years of experience in unbiased recruitment. When integrated into the recruitment process, the conversational AI objectively assesses soft skills and personality traits through blind interviews. Tengai’s interview analytics and candidate recommendations assist recruiters and hiring managers to make better hiring decisions. Tengai mitigates unconscious bias and delivers a more honest, fair, and exciting candidate experience.
TAtech Announces Totally Awesome Conferences
Upcoming events you do not want to miss! Sure, they digital … well, actually digital and more, but TAtech’s upcoming conferences are events you do not want to miss. They’ll cover everything from The Future of Recruitment Marketing to A Job Posting Designed for High Performers, from The Future of Recruitment Automation to Blockchain & Diversity, from AI and the Candidate Experience to Programmatic Ad Buying in a Time of Business Acceleration.
The AI-Enabled Cameras Surveilling Towns Across America
The ad begins with a sweeping drone shot of an all-American suburb fit with lush, green trees and cul-de-sacs. A sedan drives down winding streets of large bungalows, garbage and recycling bins ready for pickup at the end of long laneways. This could be anywhere in America: Ohio, Texas, Oregon, or California. “We started Flock to eliminate non-violent crime,” says Meg Heusel, who works in marketing for the little-known company that hawks smart-surveillance cameras. “That's because 87 percent of non-violent crime goes unsolved throughout the U.S. and that’s not due to a lack of trying on the law enforcement side.” It’s a lofty pitch, but Georgia-based Flock has been quietly selling AI-powered cameras to police and community associations across the country that can spot and clock license plate data it says will help solve crimes and track down suspects. All combined, the network of cameras, which the company calls “TALON,” has become something of a panopticon of national surveillance, recording license plates and vehicle movements nationwide.