Jobaline Raises $2.8M for Expansion, Improved Hourly Job Matching
One of the first hires made through Seattle-area startup Jobaline was a Hispanic construction worker who applied for a job via text message from a feature phone, was called for an interview by a staffing agency 12 hours later, and was dispatched to install tile a few hours after that.
Jobaline co-founder and CEO Luis Salazar says the construction worker—who was the first successful hire reported to the company, though it does not track total hires resulting from its platform—is one of 150,000 people to create a profile and apply for a job over the Kirkland, WA company’s system since it was opened in the Seattle and Miami, FL markets in April.
With an infusion of $2.8 million in fresh capital from Madrona Venture Group and angel investors including Rudy Gadre (part of a $4.3 million Series A round begun late last year), Jobaline aims to double its engineering staff and open in Texas and New York by the end of the year.
Jobaline is designed to address the challenges of employers and job seekers in high-turnover, hourly-wage positions with a platform allowing applications to be completed in English or Spanish using text messages and voice responses to questions.
Salazar says Jobaline today is shaving time off the old hiring model: post a job, wait for applications, invite candidates for an interview, then make a hire. But “this is an intermediate step,” he says.
He sees greater potential ahead in quickly and automatically matching workers with openings.
“The final destination is refining the matching technology to allow real-time matching” of job openings and active job seekers, Salazar tells Xconomy.
Like so many other modern tech startups, the company is facing a “big data” challenge and opportunity, and is hiring a data scientist as part of its expansion to address it.
By completing an application over Jobaline, a job seeker creates a profile with text and audio responses to employment skill- and behavior-related questions. Each profile contains some 25 pieces of data, Salazar says, including voice recordings.
The nine-person company already has about half a million voice clips. As part of its matching efforts, Jobaline is doing things like observing patterns in the tone, pitch, and inflection of people’s voice responses and correlating them with success in different jobs, such as telemarketing or customer service.
“All these data can be extremely useful for matching,” Salazar says.
Jobaline also plans to help individual employers use data to translate the know-how of skilled recruiters—knowledge that leaves a business when the recruiter leaves—into institutional knowledge. “Each employer can have their own secret sauce—their own set of questions, that, over time can correlate those criteria with job performance and attrition,” he says.
When I wrote about Jobaline earlier this year, I suggested they would be a competitor to existing brick-and-mortar staffing agencies. Salazar says that these agencies have in fact proved to be some of Jobaline’s best customers. (Jobaline gets paid when it matches a worker with the criteria set forth by an employer.) Jobaline provides a source of qualified applicants, while the agencies still handle employment eligibility and payroll.
“We really complement them,” he says.