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Phenom People raises $30 million for AI recruitment platform used by Microsoft, others


Phenom People, a human resources (HR) platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies attract new talent, has raised $30 million in a series C round of funding led by WestBridge Capital, with participation from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s VC firm Omidyar Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures, Karlani Capital, and a fund belonging to AllianceBernstein.

Founded in 2010, Philadelphia-based Phenom People touts its “talent experience management” (TXM) platform as an all-in-one solution for companies to build career websites with personalized job and content recommendations, chatbots, and a content management system (CMS) for pushing fresh content to the site.

AI in recruitment

Numerous startups are leveraging AI and automation to streamline the recruitment process, such as New York-based Fetcher which crunches data to proactively headhunt new candidates, while San Francisco’s Xor uses AI for recruitment and screening and New York-based Pymetrics helps companies carry out candidate assessments through neuroscience games.

Phenom People claims some 300 clients around the world, including big-name customers such as Microsoft which uses the Phenom People platform to power its career portal. “Microsoft is an excellent example of a leading technology organization working to revolutionize candidate experience through A.I.-driven experiences,” noted Phenom People CEO and cofounder Mahe Bayireddi at the time. Other notable clients include Amazon-owned Audible and Whole Foods, Ford, General Motors, Hershey’s, and Philips.

With another $30 million in the bank, on top of the $29 million it has raised previously, Phenom People is well-positioned to scale its company beyond its current 500 headcount and grow globally.

“Global organizations are shifting their spend from legacy singular HR tools to data-driven, intelligent talent experience platforms,” Bayireddi said. “Chief human resources officers can make an investment in a modern approach — connecting every interaction across the talent lifecycle for candidates, recruiters, employees and management.”

How it works

Companies that integrate Phenom People’s technology can tap into AI-powered recommendations based on their skills, location, and interests, with natural language processing (NLP) used to surface positions by understanding what a candidates is looking for — this may involve correlating search terms with synonyms, or highlighting other closely related fields. It can also suggest job openings based on their profile (e.g. if they have logged in with their LinkedIn credentials), search history, content that they click on, and more.

Alternatively, companies can adopt a more conversational approach, integrating a Phenom People chatbot which can field questions from interested parties on things like whether a company currently has job openings in a certain locale. Phenom People launched its chatbot last January, and the company said that in the past year it has captured 20 million interactions while “getting smarter with ever one,” according to Bayireddi.

“To help the chatbot learn and better personalize the talent experience, our customers feed it the information it craves, such as frequently asked questions and facts about the organization,” Bayireddi told VentureBeat.

Above: Phenom People chatbot

For talent acquisition specifically, Phenom People’s platform matches key information from job descriptions (e.g. required skills, experience, and education) with data from candidate profiles to establish the best matches.

However, the platform isn’t purely about helping companies add new faces to their workforce — it can also be used to help internal candidates plot a career path through surfacing potential promotions, garnering job referrals from their alumni network, and more.

Above: Phenom People: “Career path discovery”

On the recruitment side, AI is also instrumental in terms of matching skills and compatibility to help determine the best candidates for a role, while recruiters can also rediscover past candidates who perhaps marginally fell short previously.

Above: Phenom People offers AI-guided candidate insights

Big data

Bayireddi noted that his company’s AI algorithms are powered by huge datasets incorporating 3 billion events annually, and includes a network of 100 million candidates, 8 thousand recruiters, 2 million employees, and 20 million active job openings.

“These observations are turned into 10 thousand markers, which are used to develop over 360 talent signals,” Bayireddi said. “These talent signals are key to making our platform’s AI real and impactful.”

“Talent signals,” essentially, are micro-insights based on current market conditions in recruitment and across industries, while network activity — internal signals generated from within Phenom People’s ecosystem — are also incorporated.

At its core, Phenom People promises companies the tools to personalize career sites, make job searches more intelligent, and serve recruiters with deeper insights based on big data.

“This allows candidates, recruiters, employees, and management to get the information they need — whether relevant jobs, data, or quality leads — to make smarter decisions, faster,” Bayireddi concluded.

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