Building the Future of Recruiting from Base Camp

May 25, 2016 at 6:00 AM Jon Bischke

2085673379_4c570f1d5f_o.pngEntelo started with a simple idea that the technology powering how people recruit should be better. The team at Entelo (we call ourselves “Entelopes”) all share a passion for talent and a belief that who companies hire is the most important element in their ongoing journey to success. Nothing is more strategic for a business than talent – especially in this age of knowledge work.

In 2011 we started our company out of a live-work space (fancy way of saying apartment!) in the Mission district in San Francisco. For the first two years, a team of seven of us toiled away with a mission to improve the process of finding the best people to hire. Like many other startups, most of our initial customers were other startups, and to keep moving forward we stayed frugal – we heeded Paul Graham’s advice of being cockroaches.

What we learned early on was that recruiters were sick of the status quo. On one hand they were drowning in information and on the other, they often couldn’t effectively figure out who to target for open roles. Even if they could figure out the right people, connecting with them was almost impossible. In the thousands of hours of conversations we had with people in our industry, an opportunity emerged to build software that would help them become more productive and effective at their jobs.

In 2014, things really started to move in our space. Bright, Identified and Talentbin, all San Francisco-based recruiting technology startups, headquartered within a few blocks of our first official office, were acquired in the same month. Our platform was gaining steam and we felt it was the time to start scaling. We raised our Series A from Battery Ventures and launched Entelo Diversity, a ground-breaking product that helps companies identify and hire individuals from underrepresented groups. We closed 2014 with 20 employees, unwavering belief that we were onto something, and lots of anticipation about what 2015 would bring.

Yet as with every startup, not everything goes according to plan. (Cue the screeching brake sounds…) Early on, we faced all sorts of challenges – first it was getting to product-market fit (“the only thing that matters”), then understanding how to continually optimize our business once we arrived there. As founders and early team members, we all end up going through some form of entrepreneurial Dark Night of the Soul. I don’t know anyone who has succeeded who hasn’t experienced that. If there’s any advice about this part of the journey I can pass along to fellow entrepreneurs, it’s the power of persistence (or what Paul Graham refers to, in this excellent piece, as determination). Simply coming to terms with the fact that you’ll face the unknown, often repeatedly and sometimes continually for months on end, helps make what might seem like an unusual or even intolerable experience a little bit easier.

Along the way, one of the key lessons has been learning how to grow our product’s capabilities to meet the needs of our customers, small, large, and everywhere in between. Recently it’s been especially exciting to sign on many more enterprise customers including Akamai Technologies, TripAdvisor, Electronic Arts, and Dell. (We now have a healthy double-digit number of the Fortune 100.)

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We closed out 2015 raising our $12 million in Series B funding, led by Shasta Ventures, which was covered by Cat Zakrzewski at the Wall Street Journal, and we’re announcing today. We’re proud to work with over 425 of the most forward-thinking companies on the planet ranging from innovative fast-growing companies like Facebook, HubSpot, Lyft and Tesla to some of the most recognizable brands in the world like American Express, Campbell Soup Company, GE and UPS. Most importantly, we’re thrilled to play a role in helping so many great companies and great people come together.

When we closed our funding round, the team gathered together and we ultimately decided the theme of the next stage of our company journey was “Base Camp.” To Entelo, Base Camp is a starting point four years in the making, and the beginning of our expedition to come. While we are proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, we recognize that there’s still a long way to go.

I’m incredibly excited to climb the mountain with the great team we’ve banded together. We have an amazing core of employees and great investment partners. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our initial investor Battery Ventures, and now with the addition of Shasta Ventures, we have even more strength behind the company. I also want to thank the extended network of people who’ve supported Entelo including our customers, partners, advisors and everyone else who has helped us along the way.

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing my job as the CEO (of a recruiting software platform no less!) if I didn’t mention that we are looking to expand the Entelo team. If you share the same belief that we do, that hiring great people is the most important factor in a company’s success, we’d love to talk with you. It’s an exciting time at Entelo and we’d love to learn how to make Entelo the best company you’ve ever worked for.

Today, Entelo is 80 committed individuals strong, working together to make hiring better. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.” Our newest product, Entelo Stack, embraces that principle. In addition to a full array of capabilities focused on automation and recruiting workflow, Stack also helps with a very important but often neglected aspect of hiring – bias. With Stack, recruiters and hiring managers can identify, qualify, and engage candidates based on their experiences, skill sets, and qualifications, independent of their race or gender. It’s a start in making the workplace more diverse – something we’re passionate about at Entelo.

At Entelo, “how we impact the world matters.” More capital is simply an opportunity to have more impact. We’re grateful to our customers and investors who believe in us and allow us to build a better Entelo. We can’t wait to show you what we’re up to next.

For now, it’s back to work. After all, we still have that mountain to climb!

To learn more about what we’re building, reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you.

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