TalentBin raises $2 million Series A to help use data to discover hidden technical talent

By Michael Carney , written on July 16, 2013

From The News Desk

Increasingly, top technology companies are recruiting in-house. Rather than relying on outside agencies, which spend inordinate amounts of time building talent databases, these companies must then source their own prospects. TalentBin, a startup which describes itself as a “talent search engine,” has raised a $2 million Series A round of financing to offer a solution to this very problem.

The round was led by Lightbank, with participation from NEA, Foundation Capital, FundersClub, First Round Capital, and Charles River Ventures. Lightbank partner Paul Lee will join TalentBin's board.

TalentBin’s core offering is a database consisting of more than 500 million social profiles aggregated from across “hundreds of sites,” including major social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Meetup, and Quora, as well as industry-specific communities such as Github, Stack Overflow, Behance, and others. The company also has included what it calls non-social sources such as the US Patent Database, open-source email list serves, and PubMed life sciences authorship database. The company currently adds approximately 10,000 new profiles each week to its database.

In this way, TalentBin aims to offer employers a comprehensive perspective on a potential candidate’s qualifications, interests, and abilities. Specifically, this data is all available publicly, but typically goes far beyond that which a user will typically include on their linkedin profile and resume. The company’s algorithms then analyze this data and help recruiters surface otherwise hard-to-find technical talent.

“Consumers create implicit professional data across the Web, for example in the names and descriptions of GitHub repositories that they own and patents that they file,” TalentBin co-founder Peter Kazanjy says. “We simply take this info that is naturally created in the process of doing one’s job and make it ‘recruiting useful.’”

TalentBin users can access its database via a Web application, as a Google Chrome browser plug-in, or through an API connecting to existing Recruiting CRM, ATS, or HRIS systems. Clients pay $6,000 per year per recruiter for access to the system, a price point that is comparable to LinkedIn’s rate of $8,000 per user and’s $7,000 per user. The company already works with more than 200 corporate clients including Facebook, Amazon, and UPS.

“What’s appealing about TalentBin is that they have the vision to think beyond the current state of the market to what it will be like years from now,” Lightbank’s Lee says.

Kazanjy adds, “Not only do we give a more holistic and ‘human’ snapshot of hard-to-find candidates, but we also provide the tools for communication, pipeline management and reporting -- all from one technology platform.”

San Francisco-based TalentBin was named an “Awesome New Technology” at the 2012 HR Tech Conference, a “Recruiting Game Changer” at HR Tech Europe’s iHR Awards, and a “Cool Vendor Supporting Multiple Nexus Forces” by Gartner. The company has raised “north of $4 million to date” including this latest round, according to Kazanjy, with previous financings consisting of a $1.2 million seed round and then another approximately $1 million from First Round Capital* and Charles River Ventures. The focus for the year ahead, according to Kazanjy, will be continuing to scale its sales organization, a challenge into which both Lightbank and NEA should be able to offer tremendous insight.

The company faces competition in the social talent search space from GitHub-focused Gild, which raised its own $8 million Series A round earlier this year, and from Entelo, which announced a $3.5 million Series A a month ago. Each of these three companies launched in 2011, but neither competitor has managed to aggregate the the volume of data sources that TalentBin has. To the extent that it’s correct in its thesis that recruiter value such breadth, and that it can extract “professionally relevant data” from its wealth of sources, TalentBin appears to have the clear advantage. Other factors like user interface and pricing are more difficult to differentiate.

Says Kazanjy:

There is a major secular shift occurring in the market where organizations that bring recruiting in house need a talent marketplace to go shopping in. This has gone from being something that was initially hypothetically, conceptually interesting, to something that is now an enormous, and some would say even obvious market. But LinkedIn followed a similar trajectory. Not everyone recognized early on that it would one day be a huge recruiting platform.
If Marc Andreessen is right in his infamous prediction that software is eating the world, then already scarce and valuable technical talent will only become an increasingly hot commodity. To that end, TalentBin and other companies that use data to help recruiters unlock hidden stores of such talent appear well positioned to capitalize on the next wave of innovation.

[Disclosure: First Round Capital is an investor in PandoDaily.]