Employment tech start-up Shortlist has raised $1 million in seed funding from US-based private equity firm University Ventures, Indian angel investor Samir Shah of Sattva Capital, Kenya-based seed fund Zephyr Acorn, global impact investor Farm Fund at ImpactAssets, US-based investor Bodley Group.
The raised funds will be used to enhance its data-driven talent screening product, which automates applicant vetting using online competency-based assessments. Recruiting and talent management is a core challenge facing growing businesses in emerging markets.
Shortlist was also part of the People Matters TechHR'17 Spotlight Program held in August this year.
The single biggest challenge for growing companies is finding the right talent to scale,” says Paul Breloff, co-founder and CEO of Shortlist. “We believe that both jobseekers and employers deserve a better way to find each other and gauge fit. We’re thrilled to have a group of investors who share our desire to fix this broken talent marketplace, and believe the mix of expertise across India, East Africa, and the United States will add significant strategic value as we build on our early traction."
Shortlist team answers some questions on the recent funding.
How much money was raised in your seed round, and who were the investors?
Shortlist raised $1 million in seed funding from US-based private equity firm University Ventures, Indian angel investor Samir Shah of Sattva Capital, Kenya-based seed fund Zephyr Acorn, global impact investor Farm Fund at ImpactAssets, US-based investor Bodley Group, and other individuals in India and the United States.
What will the investment help you facilitate the business?
We will use the funds to enhance its data-driven talent screening product, which automates applicant vetting using online competency-based assessments.
Who are your clients?
We’ve worked with over 80 clients across India and East Africa, including Ather Energy, M-KOPA, MicroEnsure, and Xynteo, as well as other leading social enterprises, SMEs, and several major consulting firms.
How does the Shortlist screening platform work?
The Shortlist platform makes it easier for employers to hire high-performing candidates that are a great fit for their open positions. Our unique technology creates a single application flow to engage candidates across a company’s sourcing channels, including job boards, referral programs, and existing third-party recruiters. We then screen these candidates using chat-based interviews, online competency assessments, and other proprietary tools that predict how candidates will perform in a particular role. Employers receive access to interview-ready candidates, and ultimately only engage with the applicants who possess the right ability, experience, and fit for their teams. This allows employers to skip the most time-consuming and bias-prone phases of hiring.
Where does Shortlist currently operate?
Shortlist has offices in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Nairobi, and serves clients throughout India and East Africa.
Why was Shortlist started?
Shortlist's co-founders Paul Breloff, Simon Desjardins and Matt Schnuck are former impact investors and entrepreneurs. They experienced first-hand how the social enterprises in their portfolios consistently struggled to hire the right people they needed to grow their businesses, but knew that businesses of all sizes and types were facing the same issues. The Shortlist product launched in early 2016 in India, and we started operations in Kenya in middle 2016.
How many candidates have you reached?
Nearly 200,000 candidates globally have engaged with our site.
Who are previous funders?
Shortlist has previously received funding from AHL Venture Partners, Blue Haven Initiative, the Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund, and Shell Foundation, and was a winner of the ANDE-Argidius Talent Challenge.
Over 1 million people enter India’s workforce each month, and the World Bank estimates that Africa will add more people to its job market in the next ten years than the rest of the world combined. Given this volume of jobseekers, companies are typically left to sort through hundreds of applicants for a single job opening, relying mainly on CVs and personal connections to guide decisions on who to meet and hire.
"Over the past century, we’ve become much more efficient in figuring out how to allocate physical capital. Over the next decade, we will see a revolution in how we allocate human capital,” says Ryan Craig, author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education and Managing Director at University Ventures. “The shift from degree- and pedigree-based hiring to competency-based hiring has tremendous potential for employers, individuals, and overall economic growth. University Ventures is proud to partner with Shortlist, which in a short period of time has become a leading competency marketplace in emerging markets.”
“Recruiting has been a challenge over my career and finding the right talent for a role is demanding and time-consuming for nearly all companies in which I’ve invested,” says Samir Shah. “Knowing the co-founders for many years, I’m excited to see the team come together to build a much improved, tech-enabled solution for companies that want to hire the best without the stress. I’m thrilled to support the Shortlist team.”