Startup Spotlight: Quiz and Stack-Rank Candidates in Your Talent Pool With Trommelo

Feb 10, 2015
This article is part of a series called Startup Spotlight.

tromelloThis week, the Startup Spotlight shines on  Robert Cate of Trommelo. Should your startup be profiled? Send me a message

What is your background?

I graduated from UC Riverside 5 years ago with a BS in Business Economics. During college I discovered a program that placed collegiate athletes into management roles, I landed a management position through this program. After college I worked for 6 months, I then decided to start my own company, PaidGrade. At the time, I wanted to use technology to create a real-time game platform for college kids. I had an idea that students could leverage what they learn to make money on the side, it was a hybrid of poker and jeapordy for students. Although it was legal (skills vs chance) it was during the poker market collapse, which killed any transactions online. I had to pivot my business to recruiting, enter Trommelo.

Tell us about the team you have built so far.

I have a small team of 6 really awesome people. Joey Goodreault, Ashley Omphroy, Reinhard Cate, and Alex Mohring all work in business development and partnerships. They find companies interested in our partnered events and our online application. Mohammad Samman is our lead engineer, he manages all of the technology components of Trommelo. Mo makes sure the system is stable, scalable, and implements new features and projects with me.

I can be found in many different roles but, ultimately my main job is to find the best people for our team.

What financial support did you have to launch the business?

I raised a total of 105k plus over 30k of my own money to get Trommelo where it is today.

What problem are you trying to solve?

There are a few problems we are looking to solve including:

Finding great candidates – Our application cuts down to what people know, under pressure. Instead of scanning keywords or looking at stacks of resumes, discover what candidates know and don’t. After candidates have been stack-ranked against each other, start reaching out and find the best culture fit. We look to help small mom and pops hiring on craigslist to large international organizations using an ATS system.

Lead Generation – For companies not actively hiring, we have functionality that can create repeating assessments. For example: An assessment or challenge widget can be placed into the companies home page, candidates can showcase their skills for the position. Companies can build a large lead generation list for great candidates or choose to interview one that was very impressive.

Interactive Job Fairs – With Trommelo companies can create a dynamic, fun, and interactive way to engage with the modern work force. Instead of the traditional resume exchange, our application let’s them showcase their skills.

Describe the business, core products and services?

Trommelo is an assessment tool that mass screens candidates, head-to-head in real-time. After a recruiter adds questions to their assessment they can then launch an instance very easily (we assist with question creation if needed). Candidates are authenticated through Linkedin and then stack-ranked for recruiters to review once an assessment is finished. Recruiters can then send top candidates an invitation to interview or a requisition link through our system or Linkedin.

In addition to our online assessment tool we partner with large events that attract top talent, to create an interactive job fair experience. We are partnered with SXSW in Austin, Texas. During the tech conference we will be on stage for two-days using our application for candidates to showcase their skills at the event. For the entire conference candidates will be able to take assessments online. The combination of using our assessment with the SXSW venue creates a very powerful job fair for both parties. Recruiters can use our technology to generate leads and engage candidates directly. Candidates have the opportunity to showcase their skills with companies, instead of dropping off a resume and leaving.

Who do you expect your customers and users to be at launch?

Sourcers, recruiters, and hiring professionals that want a more efficient way to discover the best candidates in the candidate pool. Also, companies looking to gauge the amount of training needed for new hires. Our method is geared towards more entry and mid-level roles that are usually technical. Our application is very versatile and with the right questions can save a ton of time for many positions.

Where do you stand right now with regard to funding?

We are looking to continue with the funding we have. As we grow and more resources are needed, we will absolutely explore taking on further investment.

What is the business AND revenue model? What is your strategy for profitability?

We currently have an annual subscription for companies to launch unlimited instances and screen unlimited candidates for $49/month. We can already work with any ATS system by sending requisitions to top candidates but, we are talking to some large ATS systems for full integrations. Once we have enough data we will launch our database product which will refer candidates based on performance on past assessments. We will also continue to partner with events like SXSW for our in-person product.

Did anyone tell you this wasn’t going to be successful?

Nobody flat out told me it wasn’t going to be successful. There were some skeptics that thought assessments couldn’t predict great candidates. One of the first assessments with the application was for a bartending role. We asked cocktail, wine, and beer questions. The application stack-ranked all the 90 candidates from Craigslist and the restaurant ended up hiring the top 6. I was really happy with the successful hires, I was more excited with the types of candidates the application attracted and their enthusiasm. Candidates that are willing to compete in an assessment are very confident in their skills and are cool under fire.

How will you measure success 12 months from now?

If we have 100+ customers by next year and several ATS integrations it will be great success.

This article is part of a series called Startup Spotlight.
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