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Brilliant Hire by SAP Shines Bright in Venture Capital Round

By Jacqueline Prause, SAP Global Content Team

The future shines bright at Brilliant Hire by SAP, a dynamic startup that believes in giving job candidates the agency to bring their whole selves to the companies of their dreams. Fresh off a round of venture capital funding, the employee-led startup has been given an extended runway to execute on its ambitious product vision for the talent acquisition market.

The new round of Series A funding, awarded by principal investor SAP, comes as businesses are struggling to fill jobs left open as a result of the global phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. Hiring has never been more fast-paced and competitive, with recruiters bearing the brunt of the pressure to hire workers more efficiently and achieve new standards for quality of hire. To gain an edge in attracting qualified and diverse job candidates, businesses are increasingly integrating AI-powered solutions in their talent acquisition strategy.

SAP is stepping up to address this need on behalf of customers that run SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting with an infusion of venture funding for Brilliant Hire by SAP, an employee-led startup in the SAP.iO Venture Studio, an innovation hub that helps employees start up and scale with SAP. As an organically innovated solution, Brilliant Hire by SAP brings customers the advantage that it integrates with and is developed in parallel to SAP SuccessFactors.

Delivering the Candidate-First Experience

With the successful validation of Brilliant Hire’s three-year product roadmap, Jeanine LeFlore, General Manager, Brilliant Hire by SAP, says the team is already building out the solution with new features to address some of the toughest challenges in recruiting. For many recruiters, providing an amazing candidate experience is now top of the agenda.

“The industry is at a crucial juncture right now,” LeFlore says. “Delivering a powerful candidate-first experience is paramount to the success of any company in the talent acquisition landscape today. At Brilliant Hire, we put the candidate at the core of everything we do, and this in turn is what drives the highest value for our customers.”

LeFlore sees the next stage of development as a golden opportunity to leverage the momentum Brilliant Hire generated in 2021. The team plans to build out its vision for an intelligent data platform that enables recruiters to develop authentic relationships with both active and passive candidates, while using data to create personalized journeys for candidates. She says, “We are seeing tremendous traction in the recruiting space with our smart job matching AI/ML- powered technology, and we’ve just scratched the surface. With this new round of funding, we will double down on building the most compelling candidate-first experiences that connect recruiters with both active and passive candidates — to meet them in their environment, rather than making candidates have to search.”

Attracting More Qualified and Diverse Talent

For companies seeking to hire more qualified and diverse talent, Brilliant Hire by SAP helps increase the visitor-to-applicant ratio on careers sites and empowers diverse candidates to apply for roles best fit to their qualifications. In an example of how SAP runs SAP, the global software company runs Brilliant Hire on its career page, which is a vital hub for the one million-plus members of its talent communities.

“With Brilliant Hire by SAP, we are able to leverage AI to elevate the candidate experience and help candidates find the SAP job that is best fit to their skills,” says Elke Manjet, Global Head of Talent Attraction, SAP, and Member of the Executive Board of Advisors for Brilliant Hire. “We are seeing strong results from our use of Brilliant Hire’s smart job matching feature, both in terms of KPIs and qualitative feedback from candidates. Candidates really like that they can immediately see if they are a strong match for an open position or if they qualify for other positions they had not considered — so that the best-fit jobs find the candidates and not the other way around. We want people to have an amazing experience along their SAP journey from the start, and we do that by presenting the very best of SAP technology and innovation.”

Brilliant Hire by SAP offers a pilot of smart job matching for SAP SuccessFactors customers on SAP Store with self-sign-up for customers in the U.S., Germany, and India. The team recently presented smart job matching during its Be Brilliant! webinar series, available for on-demand viewing here.

What is Series A funding for an intrapreneurial venture?

The SAP.iO Venture Studio supports employee-led ventures from small, entrepreneurial teams. Although these ventures are housed within SAP, they experience all the same growth opportunities and challenges that are typical for startups, including technology innovation, market fit and funding.

“Series A funding for an intrapreneurial venture is not unlike funding for an external startup,” says Ram Jambunathan, senior vice president and general manager, SAP.iO Venture Studio. “Our approach is to ‘build fast and learn things.’ Investments are made based on achieving aggressive milestones aligned to product development and business execution. Each venture in the Venture Studio has an executive board that holds it accountable to meeting milestones. What makes the Venture Studio such an exciting opportunity for SAP employees is that we empower employees to drive and own the progress and success of their venture. The Venture Studio provides an incubator environment that offers these ventures runway to develop transformational solutions that will ‘future-proof’ SAP and its customers.”

From Pilot to Venture — The Story of Brilliant Hire by SAP

The story of Brilliant Hire by SAP began with a passion for creative problem-solving, when a small team of developers at SAP Labs India pitched the winning solution at an SAP internal hackathon in 2016. It was the start of a remarkable entrepreneurial journey for the team and their pilot project.

“The inspiration for Brilliant Hire came from our own hiring experience,” says Hemant Shetty, co-founder, Brilliant Hire by SAP. He recalls his astonishment as he was interviewing many candidates to scale the team. “There was a 90 percent rejection rate in the first round of interviews. We realized that finding the right candidate is like finding a needle in a haystack.”

The experience gave the team insight into the pitfalls of the hiring process and opened the way for the launch of Brilliant Hire by SAP, which found seed funding after a successful pitch to the SAP Innovation Center Network (ICN) in 2017. “Hiring is time consuming and it includes human unconscious bias. At Brilliant Hire, we wanted to solve this and create experiences for recruiters as well as candidates,” Shetty says.

In 2018, the team joined the SAP.io Venture Studio to begin working full time on Brilliant Hire by SAP as an independent venture. Brilliant Hire has grown from a three-person pilot to a dynamic team of twenty passionate experts spread across India and the U.S., who bring a diverse range of experience to solving challenges in recruiting. With its third round of funding, Brilliant Hire by SAP shines a bright light on the possibilities for AI to elevate the candidate experience in talent acquisition.

“We believe in creating a world where a candidate’s dream job finds them,” says Swetha PB, co-founder, Brilliant Hire by SAP. “We’ve focused on building an intelligent and inclusive platform that provides companies the ability to build authentic relationships with candidates they want to hire and candidates to own their successes.”

The future of talent looks bright indeed at Brilliant Hire by SAP!

About Brilliant Hire by SAP

Brilliant Hire by SAP is a dynamic startup in the HR Tech space with teams in San Francisco and Bangalore. It offers an AI-powered application that integrates with SAP SuccessFactors to deliver a more personalized and inclusive candidate experience on companies’ careers sites, and streamline processes for recruiters. Brilliant Hire by SAP is a venture within the SAP.iO Venture Studio.

Find out more on www.brillianthire.io

About SAP.iO Venture Studio

SAP.iO Venture Studio drives a new era of organic growth at SAP. It invests in new ventures founded by small, entrepreneurial teams inside of SAP who are focused on building the future of enterprise business processes. SAP.iO Venture Studio provides design, development, and sales support to help these ventures launch.

Find out more on www.sap.io/studio

‘Paradox’ startup company becomes unicorn with ‘Olivia’ investment

Paradox, the startup that developed Olivia – a digital recruiter that communicates with job applicants, completed a $200 million round of funding at a value of $1.5 billion and has become a unicorn, due to the company’s investment in the digital recruiter.
Olivia, Paradox’s core product, is a virtual personal assistant that joins human recruitment teams and helps them automate all recruitment processes. For example, the software checks and screens the suitability of a resume for relevant jobs, carries out automatic interview scheduling, reminds the candidate to fill out forms and provides information that would be accessible to recruitment teams and other candidates. It can also send job offers automatically to possible candidates.
Over the past year, Olivia has conducted 30 million job interviews for hundreds of companies in some 50 countries and has independently scheduled 3.1 million interviews. Paradox began operating in Israel in early 2021 after acquiring the startup Spetz, whose workers integrated with the company.

On a Mission to Build the Next Generation of HR and Recruiting Software through Conversational AI, Paradox Raises $200M Series C

Paradox, the conversational recruiting platform built to give every recruiter, hiring manager, and talent professional an assistant to get work done, announced a $200M Series C investment. The round was led by Stripes, Sapphire, and Thoma Bravo, and included participation from Workday Ventures, Willoughby Capital, Twilio Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Geodesic, Principia Growth, DLA Piper Venture Fund and current investor Brighton Park Capital.

Paradox’s vision is embodied by Olivia — the conversational AI assistant helping companies like Unilever, Nestle, McDonald’s, CVS Health, and General Motors automate tasks like candidate screening, interview scheduling, onboarding, and more through smart, simple, mobile-first experiences. In just five years, Olivia has helped 500+ global clients save millions of hours of manual work — freeing their teams up to spend time with people, not software.

“When we created Paradox, we saw a future where software became invisible — driven by conversations that untether people from their desktop through an assistant who gets work done for them. That vision is now taking hold in some of the biggest companies in the world and we couldn’t be prouder of that accomplishment,” said Paradox founder and CEO, Aaron Matos.

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Gtmhub’s $120 Million Series C Financing

Gtmhub, an objectives and key results (OKR) platform, announced its $120 million Series C financing led by Index Ventures. The company’s OKR management software is designed to help fast-growing companies combine goal management and data integration to support human decision-making. The new capital will be put toward hiring and product expansion.

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Automation Anywhere expands into process discovery with FortressIQ acquisition

Automation Anywhere, which is best known for its robotic process automation (RPA) software, plans to expand the platform. The company announced that it intends to acquire process discovery startup FortressIQ. The companies did not reveal the purchase price. FortressIQ gives Automation Anywhere this missing process discovery component, which enables AI-fueled software to map internal processes in an automated way, replacing high-priced consultants.

“Together, Automation Anywhere and FortressIQ will reshape the future of automation, changing the way our customers automate, adapt, and accelerate as they pursue digital transformation initiatives,” Automation Anywhere CEO and co-founder Mihir Shukla said in a statement.

While there is more than a hint of executive bombast in that statement, the acquisition does expand the company’s capabilities. Consider that FortressIQ raised $46 million since its founding in 2017, according to PitchBook data. We covered the $12 million Series A in 2018 and $30 million Series B last year.

But compare that with Celonis, the market leader, which has attracted $1.4 billion in investment, according to Crunchbase data, including a massive $1 billion Series B on an $11 billion valuation in June. That followed a significant agreement with IBM in April to help sell its services inside large organizations.

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South Korean Payments Firm CHAI Pockets US$45 Million in Series B+ Fundraise

South Korean payments startup CHAI raised US$45 million during a Series B+ funding round that was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Asia (SBVA) and Nyca Partners.

SBVA’s participation in this funding round marks their second Series B investment into CHAI.

The round also received additional participation from investors such as KT Investment, Conductive Ventures, Nordstar Capital, Samsung NEXT and B Capital.

CHAI said that it will use this funding to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia and develop a fully automated end-to-end payment infrastructure for digital merchants throughout Asia.

Founded in 2019, CHAI aims to bridge the payments gap in Asian markets by providing a unified payment orchestration solution for local merchants through a single application programming interface (API).

Through CHAI Port, merchants can activate and offer over 30 payment options such as credit cards, digital wallets, bank transfers and cross-border payments to their customers in under an hour.

CHAI currently processes more than US$6 billion on behalf of over 2,2 00 merchants and had launched CHAI Port in Vietnam and Thailand

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Olivia From Paradox Now Available on SAP Store

Paradox announced that its Olivia solution is now an SAP endorsed app, available for online purchase on SAP StoreSAP Endorsed Apps are a category of solutions from SAP’s partner ecosystem that help customers become best-run, intelligent enterprises and are meant to deliver value with desired outcomes.

“Our partnership with SAP has always been about working together to help clients solve their biggest recruiting challenges,” said Aaron Matos, Founder and CEO, Paradox. “Through our SAP partnership, we’ve been able to amplify our reach across a global client base. Achieving SAP endorsed app status is a testament to our longstanding partnership with SAP to provide clients with a fast, streamlined, mobile-first experience for candidates, hiring managers, and talent acquisition teams.”

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EPA Invests in Rheaply to Enhance Material Recycling

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently selected 30 small businesses to receive part of a $3 million investment to help develop new technologies to address environmental and public health concerns. Among the recipients was Chicago-based startup Rheaply.

Rheaply is based on the concept of circular economies, where waste or excesses resources are repurposed, significantly reducing waste. An example of a circular economy is a furniture designer repurposing wood scraps into other products instead of chucking the waste into the garbage and it ending up in a landfill.

Launched in 2016, Rheaply offers a SaaS platform that not only functions as an asset manager but also allows companies to publicly post assets they no longer need. With the platform, businesses can sell, share and rent unwanted assets with other businesses. A feature on the software also allows companies to request specific assets.

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Adloid Raises $4 Mn For Its Metaverse And AR Builder Platform

Metaverse and augmented reality (AR) builder platform Adloid has raised $4 Mn from Chiratae Ventures (Formerly IDG Ventures, India), and Lenskart Vision Fund as part of its Pre-Series A funding round to fuel its growth and product evolution.

The round also saw the participation of EaseMyTrip cofounder Prashant Pitti, Seeders, and 100x Entrepreneur.

The startup has also announced its rebranding to Metadome, a metaverse that will provide the no-code infrastructure to millions of creators and brands to build immersive experiences for the virtual world.

“The company will be expanding its product and tech teams and inviting the creator community to build a metaverse which can host 1 Bn experiences a day by 2023,” it said. The startup also plans to strengthen its customer success and delivery in North America and other geographies to support its enterprise offerings.

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NavVis Adds Fresh Funding To Fulfill Its Mission To Digitize Commercial Buildings And Assets

NavVis is a global leader in end-to-end solutions for reality capture and digital twins. The company is on a mission to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world by enabling immediate access to building information, anytime, anywhere. The NavVis product offering includes the world’s most advanced reality capture solution, which allows for rapid digitization of buildings and assets, and cloud-based digital twin software for the manufacturing and construction sector.

NavVis announced that they have received 25€m of fresh equity funding that complements the recent 20€m debt funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), raising the total investment to 85€m. The round was led by Cipio Partners, with additional capital from previous investors, BayBGMIG, Target Partners, Digital+ Partners, and Kozo Keikaku Engineering, making NavVis one of the best-funded deep tech startups in Europe.

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Breinify Accelerates Momentum in Second Half of 2021 for funding

Breinify, the leading lightweight personalization platform, is pleased to announce continued momentum following a $11 million round of seed funding in April 2021. The company has seen strong continued growth, meeting key milestones set for 2021 including tripling its headcount and 4.3x revenue, adding four new customers, and experiencing zero product downtime, among other drivers of operational success.

“It’s incredible to see how Breinify has grown,” says Diane Keng, co-founder and CEO of Breinify. “We’ve done an amazing job setting the foundations for scaling as we raised $11M in unheard of speeds. Our ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach really resonates with our customers and we’re beyond ecstatic to see how we’ve jump started their personalization journeys.”

New Notable Customers & Partnerships

In the last few years, retail/CPG brands have made quite a shift to become more digital-centric and data-driven. To successfully move the needle for these industries, these brands have to find ways to implement smart personalization. Unfortunately, unless you are Amazon, Google, or the top one or two brands in your industry, these companies face several challenges to enable even the most basic personalization capabilities. Breinify is democratizing data science by finding ways to make predictive capabilities accessible to non-technical, yet data-driven marketing teams. The company’s AI solution enables enterprise marketers to deliver predictive personalization at scale.

“2021 has shown us that brands are hungrier than ever for predictive personalization,” says Keng. “More of the brands we see in our kitchen pantries or bathroom cabinets embrace the importance of relevant personalization, but struggle to get effective experiences up and running. Through word of mouth, we organically quadrupled our customer base and expanded our partnership with more than 80 percent of our existing customers. The time to access data science powered personalization is now.”

Breinify customers include BevMo!, Duraflame, Sally Beauty, and many more to drive $125M in new revenue, 20x results (between split testing) for page visits, and +105% in CRM growth.

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Sounding Board lands Series B to move coaching beyond services and into SaaS

Sounding Board, which started as a platform to connect leaders to coaches through a marketplace, realized early in the pandemic that mentorship needs a refresh.

“We’ve always delivered coaching in this traditional services format,” said Christine Tao, Sounding Board CEO and co-founder. “Well, we’re not in the office anymore so we actually have to speak differently about how we’re developing our talent and our leaders.” The insight led to the launch of a software platform that let users not only connect with coaches, but also track goals on an ongoing basis.

Now, nearly a year after landing a Series A with this vision, Sounding Board has closed a $30 million Series B led by Jazz Venture Partners and joined by Gaingels as well as angel investors such as theBoardlist’s Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Ancestry.com’s Deb Liu, Udemy’s Yvonne Chen and DocuSign’s Tammy Aguillon. Previous investors in the company include Canaan Partner and Precursor Ventures.

The round also saw JAZZ Venture Partners’ John Spinale join the board, an addition to Sounding Boards’ all-female team (and all-female board). “The joke is that we actually had to add diversity to our board … a man,” Tao laughed.

The fundraise comes off of solid growth for Sounding Board, which touts that it has had sequential growth for the past seven quarters. While Tao wouldn’t share specifics on revenues, the company said revenue was in the “multimillions” in the past and annual bookings have increased more than 350% year over year. Looking at stickiness, Sounding Board claims that net revenue retention is over 200%, meaning that existing customers continue to pay for the platform as time goes on.

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Milk Moovement Bags $1.5M From SDTC

Milk Moovement, which makes supply chain management software for the dairy industry, now controls about 10 percent of United States milk production and has bagged a $1.5 million grant from federal agency Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

CEO Robert Forsythe said in an interview that, in the wake of a United States expansion that saw the company move its sales office to Minnesota, Milk Moovement has inked deals with three of the country’s largest dairy cooperatives — including California Dairies, which includes more than 300 farms.

He said Milk Moovement’s revenue has grown about 350 percent on the back of the American deals, with annual recurring revenue set to hit $2 million by the end of this year.

In addition to a $4 million equity funding round last Spring, the money from SDTC follows a smaller, $100,000 grant from 2020.

“From there, they really looked at, ‘Okay, who’s high-performing and who’s growing really quickly, and who could benefit from further investment?” said Forsythe.

“They were just seeing traction and an ability to really double down on what we pitched for the $100K.”

Milk Moovement’s software is now used in the production of 23 billion pounds of milk annually — about a tenth of the 223 billion pounds produced every year in the United States. The technology is used by about 800 farms and Forsythe expects that number to double by early next year.

But he said $2 million of revenue from 10 percent of the market does not mean Milk Movement’s annual revenue from the U.S. will top out at $20 million. Dairy co-operatives are the company’s beachhead market, but next year, he expects to begin making inroads into the tenfold larger dairy processing industry.

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Jina.ai raises $30M for its for its neural search platform

Berlin-based Jina.ai, an open-source startup that uses neural search to help its users find information in their unstructured data (including videos and images),  announced that it has raised a $30 million Series A funding round led by Canaan Partners. New investor Mango Capital, as well as existing investors GGV Capital, SAP.iO and Yunqi Partners also participated in this round, which brings the company’s total funding to $39 million to date.

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