Take the Interview Takes Manhattan in Strategic and Practical Maneuver

2/21/12Follow @jpruth

In a strategic play to be closer to existing investors, potential backers, and her own personal support system, Danielle Weinblatt, the CEO of Take the Interview, has moved her startup from Cambridge, MA, to New York City and is on the hunt for more funding.

Take the Interview has developed a platform for recruiters to screen candidates with video interviews. Human resources management is a very competitive market, but Weinblatt says her company differentiates itself from others by helping recruiters be more efficient and get a more thorough grasp of who they hire. Along with Weinblatt’s latest fundraising efforts, Take the Interview is out to compete for New York’s top tech talent to help the company grow.

For Weinblatt, a New York native, the move from Dogpatch Labs Cambridge to Projective Space, a co-working space above a deli in SoHo, was a homecoming as well as a business decision. “It was more practical. A lot of the meetings I was conducting were in New York,” she says. “Most of our investor base is from New York.” She says she also wanted to be part of the rising tech community in the city. Weinblatt says she wants to raise new funding in part to have more resources to attract talent in the city.

Take the Interview previously raised about $1 million from angel investors, Weinblatt says, which includes a $775,000 seed round last September. That round closed a few weeks after her company graduated from the Dreamit Ventures startup accelerator program last summer.

Weinblatt, a former investment banking analyst, says being in New York puts her back among the Dreamit Venture community. She will be an advisor to the Dreamit Israel program, which will bring startups from Israel to New York for three months this year.

Though Weinblatt just started her latest fundraising efforts, she has already begun interviewing candidates for a chief technology officer position. She says she plans to add up to six new hires in sales and marketing, as well as the development team. “At this stage we budgeted most of our dollars to development,” Weinblatt says. Take the Interview currently has a staff of five full-timers.

With talent being quickly snatched up these days in New York, Weinblatt says she wants to offer market rate salaries to her hires. “We really want to be competitive in the startup market even through we are early stage,” she says. “Talented people need to get paid market rates.”

She has already scored one interesting prospect by recruiting Ty Abernethy as vice president of operations. Abernethy previously ran ZuZuHire, a competing human resource video interview startup in Atlanta. He sold ZuZuHire last summer to a British job board, but its ultimate fate seems uncertain. The website for ZuZuHire is closed, though according to an October post on its Facebook page this is temporary while ZuZuHire adjusts its strategy. Weinblatt met Abernethy at the end of 2011 after he moved to New York, and early this year she persuaded him to join the Take the Interview team.

Even as Take the Interview bulks up to compete, Weinblatt believes there is room for other players in the video interviewing market, which includes 500 Startups graduate OVIA (Online Video Interview Application). “The market is large enough for a few key players who do things really well,” she says.

Though Take the Interview is still early-stage, its platform is being used by a variety of outlets. Weinblatt says General Assembly uses Take the Interview to screen some of the startups and instructors it brings in. Other customers include Boston University, Harvard Business School, Compushare, Clickable, and FirstMark Capital. The retailer Toys “R” Us will give the platform a try in a pilot program for recruiting new hires on a college campus. Startup America Partnership will also use the platform for its internship hiring, a process which is expected to start by the beginning of March.

Weinblatt says video represents the future of human resources by helping recruiters better understand who will be the right fit for the team. “We’re a disruptive company,” she says. “We’re telling people that what they’re doing in terms of traditional methods of screening and recruiting candidates is inefficient.”

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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