Pando raises $15M Series A, eyes international expansion

By Cale Guthrie Weissman , written on March 24, 2014

From The News Desk

No matter which way you look at it, there is no painless way to hire talent. For both the employer and the candidate it sucks. Over the last few years, there's been an uptick in new platforms and methods to "disrupt" the hiring process -- something I've remained dubious of.

But while hiring will probably always remain a huge pain, the process of discovering talent -- especially for tech -- is unduly arduous. is another company claiming to alleviate some of these stresses. To its credit, it tackles a more acute issue beyond just saying it can "save hiring" -- namely recruiting skilled tech talent. It also has a pretty smart and simple way to do it. Today it is announcing a $15 million Series A led by Crosslink Capital and Sierra Ventures with the plan to make its platform available in more cities in the US and around the world.

Hired's CEO Matt Mickiewicz has co-founded other successful companies before this venture, including SitePoint and 99Designs. He recounted to me his hiring woes from his past companies. "Job ads didn't get us candidates in the door… Agencies were expensive and largely unproductive," he said. The positions he saw most difficult to fill were predominately design and development -- and many studies back up the claim that there's a growing demand for these types of positions.

Hired's premise is that it prescreens applicants before companies can even take a look at them. From there, Mickiewicz and his co-founders Douglas Feirstein and Allan Grant, built a platform that presents around a hundred new candidates each week to companies looking to hire. Currently the service is available to predominantly San Francisco- and New York-based companies, but more locations will be added in the coming months. From there, the companies can decide who they want to interview. Simply put, Hired streamlines the process of vetting candidates and connecting with companies.

An important factor about Hired is that it requires companies to disclose the technical information about the position -- salary, benefits, etc. -- at the door. Mickiewicz says this gets much of the awkwardness out of the way from the get-go; Imagine interviewing for a job for weeks and then learning afterward that the salary was a fraction of what you were currently earning.

Hired charges one percent of the candidates salary for the first 24 months of their employment. If it doesn't work out or the person leaves, Hired stops charging. Mickiewicz says that this shows how Hired is aligned with the intended result. While most other hiring platforms simply charge for access, Hired is free to use until an offer is made.

According to Mickiewicz, a majority of the candidates trying to get on the Hired platform don't make the cut. He says the vetting process is 50 percent algorithmic and 50 percent human curation. Currently there are about 8,000 candidates looking for jobs per month, a number which, according to Mickiewicz, has more than tripled over the last three months. There are also over 700 companies who have used Hired. Month to month, however, only about 400 actively participate. "We approve 150 companies every month," Mickiewicz told me. All of them discovered the service organically, as the startup has done minimal marketing.

The plan now is to get the platform ready to scale. Mickiewicz sees opportunities in cities in the US and abroad. Dublin, Berlin, and London are all on the radar as European hubs to focus on in 2015 and 2016. The $15 million investment is intended to help them expand into these new places as quickly as possible. It took about 6 months to get going in San Francisco. New York, however, only took 60 days. "We're hoping that each subsequent city goes faster and faster," Mickiewicz says.

Hopefully this will mean easier talent acquisition as well as a more transparent hiring process. That is, of course, if the participating companies aren't part of the Techtopus. But that is most probably out of Hired's purview, unfortunately.

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]