This week, the Startup Spotlight shines on eiTalent. I caught up with Marc Mapes, eiTalent’s Director of Product Management, to discuss what they are working on. Our conversation is below.
What is your background?
I spent 20+ years in the printing business, everything from sweeping the floors to sales to managing companies. In 2008, my wife’s company offered us an opportunity to move to London so she could manage their office there. After a year of trying to find work in the printing field, I started my own HR technology company called HireMatch.me, which was an assessment based job matching system. In 2011, we moved our family back to the US. I now work in Austin as the Director of Product Management for Electronic Insight. ei’s core technology will be used for several products, but eiTalent is the first one we’re bringing to market.
Tell us about the team you have built so far.
Electronic Insight is currently a team of 11 folks and we’re hiring more developers to continue building new features to handle our customer load. Our two co-founders have been working on the core technology for a few years, based on about 30 years of research. We have a nice mix of enterprise and startup veterans rounding out the team based in Austin, Texas with a small team in Portland, OR.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We have the benefit of being a well-funded startup with an individual investor. We’re in a fortunate position to have someone who is passionate about what we’re doing and allows us the flexibility to build the team as needed. We’ve found customers like having the peace of mind in knowing we’ll be around a while even though we’re just getting started.
What problem are you trying to solve?
We all know the stats. 80%+ of the people who are fired are done so for lack of fit, not because of skills and experience. We all get that. Unfortunately, we all have a different definition of what fit actually is. Even companies with well defined cultures and core values have a hard time figuring out how to determine whether or not candidates fit and rely mainly on their gut feeling. Often times, the Core Values are not consistently communicated throughout the company so everyone has a slightly different view of their world. ei fixes that by allowing companies to recruit to a consistent set of values and easily identify the existence of those values in candidates, and even current employees if they so chose. We assist recruiters and hiring managers by giving them the meaningful data to support their own insight. We never say hire that person or don’t hire that person, we merely provide data to support the level of culture fit they are looking for.
Describe the business, core products and services?
eiTalent is patented software that runs any existing text (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, interview transcripts, etc) through our text analysis engine and interprets the intent, motivation, personality, potential behaviors and more of the author. On the company side, users can either use our Core Values Creator to define their culture or we can customize our system to their predefined Core Values. They then can process candidate data to determine how they fit. Sort of like an assessment, but without the actual assessment. This means there is no friction on the candidate’s side. We all know candidate don’t like taking assessments.
Candidate data can be easily entered by copy and paste, our Chrome Extension or file upload. Companies can also benchmark current employees to establish a recruitment baseline by job, department or company as a whole. Soon they will also be able to use ei for internal purposes like team building, succession planning, performance management, determining learning and development needs and more. We pride ourselves on customer driven development. We can sit in our offices all day and build stuff we think people need, but some of our best ideas have come out of customer discovery. And we’re just getting started.
Who do you expect your customers and users to be at launch?
We’ve launched the MVP version and have customers already onboard and double digit customers either in trials or evaluating results. These include many companies known worldwide for their culture and we will be announcing them sometime in the near future.
Our customers are those concentrating on finding employees who truly fit their culture and are open to being on the cutting edge of HR Technology. As we’ve found so far, we anticipate a large part of our customer base will continue to be Fortune 500 companies. They tend to have the largest forcing function in their need to quickly find the right candidates from a generally hefty pool of applications for each job opening. They also have a good understanding of the cost of mis-hires, which is greatly reduced when you get the right employees in the first place.
Where do you stand right now with regard to funding?
We’re set for now.
What is the business AND revenue model? What is your strategy for profitability?
We charge as any SaaS based business does these days depending on the features they use and the size of their needs. Our push is mainly for top line revenue growth, customer adoption and value for our investor.
Did anyone tell you this wasn’t going to be successful?
I myself had a hard time believing what I was told ei could do when I started consulting with the company earlier this year. I had a hard time getting my head around the fact that we could get a usable amount of insight just by using text that already exists in traditional candidate documents and profiles. I was wrong and we continue to prove what we can do with every new customer. Believe me, our customers put us through our paces. One trial included requiring approval from their in-house PhD Behavioral Psychologist and big data expert. He approved. They were our first customer to go online and continue to be ecstatic about what we can do currently and what we have planned.
How will you measure success 12 months from now?
A year from now we’d like to see ei being used by a sizable portion of the Fortune 500. Our success will be measured by the insight we provide as an assist to hiring great people who fit a company’s core values. Through that, our customers will be more efficient In their hiring, lower the cost of mis-hires, and attract and retain the people they need to build their business. Our customers success in talent management by using eiTalent will be our ultimate measure of success.