Curated Intel from the Talent Tech Industry
November 1-6, 2021:
• TA platform Lever raises $50M in Series D funding round;
• Axel Springer moving to a 2022 IPO for Stepstone on the Frankfurt Exchange;
• Fiverr acquires Stoke Talent for $95M, adding freelance management tools to its platform;
• Walden Capital launches a $550M fund to invest in deep tech startups;
• Phony job ads are on the rise even on legitimate job sites.
• A Shout Out to TA Though Leaders. We’re pleased to recognize once more some of this year’s TAtech Top 100 Most Influential Thought Leaders: @EdTobon, @HowardBates, @LeeBiggins, @RyanChristoi, @MaryLeone – thanks for your contributions to talent acquisition!
• The TAtech Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management. The best way to ensure your customers onboard your products effectively, delivering the performance improvements they want and the quality reputation you deserve.
TA platform Lever raises $50M in Series D funding round
Lever, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of a talent acquisition platform, raised $50m in Series D funding. The Apax Digital Fund made the investment. As part of this partnership, Apax Digital’s Mia Hegazy will join Lever’s board of directors. The company intends to use the funds to expand globally, invest in R&D, and build on its ecosystem of technology partners. Led by Nate Smith, CEO, Lever provides a platform that allows talent teams to reach their hiring goals and to connect companies with talent, featuring complete applicant tracking systems (ATS) and candidate relationship management (CRM) capabilities. The company serves more than 4,000 customers including the teams at Netflix, Spotify, Atlassian, KPMG, and Nielson and added more than 100 technology partnerships and integrations in 2021.
Axel Springer moving to a 2022 IPO for Stepstone on the Frankfurt Exchange
German media group Axel Springer is preparing to spin out and list its online jobs portal StepStone in Frankfurt, hoping to fetch as much as a €7bn valuation for the unit in a stock market debut slated for the first half of next year. Privately held Axel Springer has appointed Rothschild as its IPO adviser and is in the process of interviewing banks to lead the offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Axel Springer said it would not comment on speculation, while StepStone said it was constantly reviewing options to further its growth. The planned listing is the latest step in the evolution of the German media group since it was taken private in 2019 by buyout group KKR and pension fund CPPIB in conjunction with its major shareholder Friede Springer and the company’s chief executive Mathias Döpfner.
Fiverr acquires Stoke Talent for $95M, adding freelance management tools to its platform
On the heels of LinkedIn last week launching Service Marketplace, a competitor to freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, today Fiverr announced an acquisition that speaks to how it plans to stay in the game by building in more features for its users. Fiverr is acquiring Stoke Talent, which lets companies manage their freelance teams, for $95 million. Stoke’s toolset includes features to onboard new freelancers; employers can also pay them through the platform and accordingly track their overall freelance budgets. The idea here is to build tools that both tie in those employers more tightly into Fiverr’s freelance marketplace — Stoke will remain independently operated, but the products also will be integrated, so that freelancers hired via Fiverr can be onboarded and paid through Stoke — and also tie Fiverr more deeply into how those companies work with freelancers overall, even if they are not sourced via Fiverr itself.
Walden Capital launches a $550M fund to invest in deep tech startups
Over the past 20 years, there has been a steady flight of capital away from deep-tech – those science-and tech-related breakthroughs on which world-changing businesses are built, Walden Catalyst said. The VC firm has a belief in the ability of data as the “fuel” and AI as the “engine” to transform the way people live, work and play. Lip-Bu Tan and Young Sohn created this fund to invest in early-stage deep tech companies, specifically big data, AI, semiconductor, cloud, and digital biology, Managing Partner of Walden Catalyst Sohn told TechCrunch. The San Francisco-based venture capital firm announced today the closing of a $550 million fund, which was oversubscribed. The VC firm did not disclose the names of its limited partners. Sohn and Tan, who have proven track records across the semiconductors, cloud, and electronics industries, are early investors in many tech companies, including Zoom, Inphi, Berkeley Lights, Habana, and Nuvia.
Phony Job Ads Are on the Rise Even on Legitimate Job Sites
Job ad scams are on the rise. According to the FBI, more than 16,000 Americans reported employment scams in 2020. Some are easy to spot. Others are quite sophisticated. Fake employment postings often promise thousands of dollars in earnings for little or no work. In some cases, it is a re-shipping scam: The individual targeted is tasked with receiving packages at home and forwarding them. In other cases, the scam involves paying a fee or sending something of monetary value. The many people currently unemployed or working from home have become a big target for these kinds of ruses. Unfortunately, even bona fide jobs sites are being abused by cybercriminals. "Fake job ads are popping up on websites like Indeed that are convincing [and] well-written, and some [criminals] go as far as performing interviews with unsuspecting candidates," said Chris Ray, an analyst at IT research and analysis firm GigaOm in San Francisco. "The goal is usually to purloin confidential data such as Social Security numbers and bank details."
The TAtech Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management
Who gets blamed when a talent technology solution doesn’t live up to customer expectations? The solution provider, of course. Yet, research shows that the vast majority of such shortcomings are caused not by the product or its developer but by inadequate implementation by the buyer. To put it bluntly, most technology consumers lack the skills and knowledge to bring such products onboard, no matter how robust the provider’s own implementation support may be. What’s the solution? Educate your customer. Position your company as an implementation partner with its customers and enroll them in the TAtech Learning & Certification Program in Talent Technology Implementation Management. Your investment will be small and the ROI will be huge, both in customer success stories and your brand’s reputation.