You fill out an Internet questionnaire, authorize it to gather information about you on the Internet, and it compiles a detailed profile about you, including characteristics and aspirations. This may sound like Cambridge Analytica, but it is actually US-Israeli startup Stellares, which is developing a platform based on artificial intelligence (AI) for matching companies to candidates in the labor market according to very specific characteristics.
Stellares was founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Roi Chobadi (CEO) and Andy Katz (chief engineer). This is not the first company founded by Chobadi, who sold LiquidM, the advertising company he founded, to German company Ligatus in 2016. Sources inform "Globes" that Stellares today completed a $3.5 million seed financing round led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and private investors.
"The hiring process is become longer and less efficient. The existing solutions don't work well, which also leads to problems of diversification, because we're relying more and more on our network of connections to find employees. Everyone see this, and the result is that the placement market has become full in the past five or six year," Chobadi says, referring to competition with other companies in the sector. "I think that what is special about us is how deep we go in what a suitable person means."
Stellares's system is based on gathering information from the Internet, the press, the social networks, and other places, and processing it using four natural language processing engines and AI. The first engine is a chronological one that operates a number of crawlers gathering information and mapping the labor market, including workplaces and information about candidates. The second is a chat agent that talks to the candidates who registered for the service, asks them questions about their preferences and aspirations, and build a detailed profile for them based on the information gathered by it and by the first engine.
The third engine is a matching engine the matches employees with workplaces according to skills, but also according to character, preferences, opportunities for promotion and learning new skills at any given time during a career. The last engine is a story telling engine, which examines workplaces according to the criteria relevant to each jobseeker and creates a help wanted bulletin that refers to the preferences of each candidate.
Information is gathered on two different levels: The first is statistical information collected from the entire Internet, including about companies and candidates not registered for the system. A deeper level of gathering is personal information gathered constantly about someone registered for the system, with his or her approval.
The company developed all of these mechanisms in the first 18 months after it was founded with a $600,000 pre-seed investment. Chobadi and Katz, both former members of the 8200 IDF Intelligence Corps unit, have a background in developing AI mechanisms at leading global companies. They attribute their success in developing Stellares's technological capabilities to their experience. Over the past year, the company began working on a relatively limited format, while improving its technological capabilities, in order to achieve the best matches possible. Stellares now has paying customers, all of them high-tech enterprises, most of which are in Silicon Valley. For jobseekers, the company is focusing on what it calls talents, and serves employees in companies such as Google and Facebook, plus a high proportion of Princeton University graduates.
The company will use the money it raised to expand its customer base and to apply the mechanisms it developed on a larger scale. The volume of Stellares's target market, the US technology market, is estimated at $2 billion. Stellares also plans to develop capabilities that will provide a solution for the entire US technology labor market spectrum. In addition to matching candidates with workplaces, it will advise the candidates throughout their career in tasks such as networking, acquiring new skills, etc.
"Traditionally, this industry was designed to serve the companies, and therefore looked at people from the company's perspective: what skills the company needs and what skills the person has, a little like merchandise. What we're trying to do is to look at people as people, not merchandise, both in their characteristics and what they want and what will be good for them," Chobadi explains.
According to Chobadi, the company's business model is designed to reflect this concept. On the one hand, the paying customers are still enterprises, not candidates, because, he says, "I don't believe that it's right or possible to take money from jobseekers. Furthermore, many of them aren't looking for a job but are open to one." On the other hand, Stellares charges enterprises on a subscription model, not for placement.
Founders: CEO Roi Chobadi and chief engineer Andy Katz
Employees: 20: five in the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley and 15 in its development center in Tel Aviv
Financing rounds: A $600,000 pre-seed round from angel investors and a $3.5 million seed round.
Prominent investors: JVP and private investors from Silicon Valley
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 23, 2018
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