Recruiting Startup SeekOut Raises $65 Million to Challenge LinkedIn and Workday

By Jemima McEvoy Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Recruitment startup SeekOut has some new pep in its step after raising $65 million in a Series B funding round. This recent fundraising hoard brings the value of the Washington-based business to nearly $500 million and will help the recruiting company in its mission to change the likes of Workday and LinkedIn. Founded and steered by technology experts, this startup’s team is hoping streamlined software and focus on diverse hiring will help set it apart from the competition.

A group of diverse businesspeople.

What Is SeekOut?

The startup was founded in 2017 by top executives and engineers from technology company Microsoft: Anoop Gupta, Aravind Bala, John Tippett, and Vikas Manocha. The founders drew upon their collective experience with search engines, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and natural language processing to build an AI-powered search engine that enables talent acquisition teams to quickly survey talent pools and identify their desired hires.

The AI recruiting company defines its mission as providing customers “a competitive edge in recruiting hard-to-find and diverse talent” and has built-in diversity features on its AI-driven platform to reduce unconscious bias.

A reflection of the business acumen of those on the team, the recruiting startup has already seen its business become profitable, TechCrunch reports, explaining the business was cash-flow positive for each of the past two years. SeekOut, which now has around 500 customers, also told the news site that it is working with six out of 10 of the “most highly valued” companies by market cap in the US.

Money and Investing

Prior to the most recent funding round, the SeekOut had raised a total of $8.2 million to grow its recruiting business since its inception, according to Crunchbase. The startup raised $2.2 million in a Seed Round in 2016 with the involvement of undisclosed investors, and then pulled in another $6 million in a Series A round in May 2019. The latter round was led by Madrona Venture Group, a Washington-based venture capital firm.

The most recent — and largest — round was led by global investment firm Tiger Global Management, but also drew participation from Madrona and another former investor, Mayfield.

Competition

The startup is entering a competitive market, valued at roughly $150 billion as of 2019. It is going up against established behemoths like LinkedIn, which dominates the industry, and was valued at $26.2 billion when it was acquired by Microsoft in 2016. Workday is another major competitor, as the company pulled in $1.13 billion in 2020 alone (up 15.9% annually).

Final Takeaways

Though entering a competitive market, SeekOut stands to benefit from unique AI-driven software, the expertise of its founders, and (as of now) a huge haul of funding. All this will help the company as it steps out into the crowded industry.

About the Author


Headshot for author Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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