Startups - Recruiting based on IDP

of one

Startups - Recruiting based on IDP

We were able to identify eight different companies that recruit based on potential, rather than CVs. The start-ups are as follows: Woo, Piazza, Belong, Teamable, Scoutible, Strive Talent, gr8 People, and Ascendify. The companies are all focused on helping companies recruit based on potential. For each company, we identified who they are, who are their investors, what is their strategy and how they make money.


We researched and identified 8 startups that help companies recruit based on potential, rather than CVs. There are more start-ups that focus on providing recruitment services, however we focused solely on those that do not use a CV-based approach for hiring. Therefore, we were able to identify eight start-ups which are purely IDP-based. We then looked at which venture capitalists and angel investors are the most interested in investing in this space by identifying the investors for each of the startups we looked at. As this research was focused on companies that recruit new talent based on an individual leadership development plans, rather than a resume, we identified startups that are taking this approach and already doing this, or something very similar.

1. woo

Woo is a company that has been active since 2015 and uses Woo team's HR experience and combines it with artificial intelligence to build a platform that is strictly candidate-first. Woo is a discrete platform which means CVs are excluded, and the profile is build on competencies: "The result of our labor is a discrete platform, so efficient that 1 out of 2 introductions on Woo turns into an interview".

The platform works like this: Tech professionals can apply anonymously on Woo and compose their wishlist. After that, they let the platform show them job opportunities that match their exact skills and requirements. Woo introduces only the companies that the job seekers will like. At the same time, companies are introduced to candidates which have already shown interest in their job. All of this is achieved in a 24-hour window after signing up.

Woo makes money by charging companies a privilege fee for the ability to connect with talent.

The lead investor for Woo is Lord David Alliance. Other investors include: Moshe Lichtman, Fritz Lanman, Hank Vigil, and Acequia Capital (Acecap). They raised $11.4 million so far.

2. piazza

Piazza is a college recruiting platform. It is focused on top technical students globally. The students already use the platform for studying and communicating with their professors for around 3 hours each night. Piazza is a college collaboration platform which currently has over 1 million students engaged and therefore can connect the best tech students with the companies looking for new talent. The platform currently works as a space where students obtain knowledge and by tracking their progress and engaging with them, companies can find the best talent.

Piazza's strategy is as follows: the companies get access to "highly personalized, data-driven talent engagement." The companies are able to target students using data derived from coursework that is exclusive to Piazza. Piazza is primary a college recruiter. Piazza charges companies to gain access to students.

Piazza has two lead investorsKhosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. Other investors include Felicis Ventures, Kapor Capital, SV Angel, and Sequoia Capital. They raised $15.5 million.


Belong aims to help the companies discover and then hire the most relevant talent at the time when it suits them the most. Belong has data-driven solutions which help "hiring teams spot candidates who best fit their requirements and are most inclined to move, and engage with them through personalized interactions".

The main strategy of Belong is based on the fact that today, the best candidates don’t apply to jobs. Instead, candidates discover new opportunities by utilizing their personal and social networks. Candidates are the most keen to respond to companies which they know will value them for more than just their skills. Candidates at this point are evolved to a point where they expect personalized experiences. The platform is built exclusively for candidates, and it allows the companies to find new people across the candidate's journey. It is personalized in a way that it "leverages candidate-specific insights and content to maximize relevance and engagement".

Belong charges both the candidates and the companies for the access to the platform.

Belong has one lead investor, Sequoia Capital. Other investors include Matrix Partners India, Raju Reddy, Phanindra Sama, Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal, Matrix Partners India, and Blume Ventures. They raised $15 million.

4. teamable

Teamable is an "employee referral and diversity hiring platform that transforms social networks into high-performance talent pools".

The company's strategy is based on the fact that the best talent "doesn’t respond to mass messaging or browse job boards," instead candidates listen to people they trust. Therefore, they give the chance for employers to leverage their employees’ contacts and use the intelligence of their platform to standout from the crowd and find and recruit the best talent.

Teamable charges the companies for the access to their tool.

The company raised a total of $5 million, from the lead investor True Ventures. Other investors include Ranch Ventures and SaaStr Fund.

5. scoutible

Scoutible is a "video game-based hiring platform" that uses immersive mobile games to find the best candidates for jobs. Scoutible has patent-pending technology which is able to identify candidates that have the best and unique cognitive and personality traits by engaging them in game play. Games allow for the technology developed by Scoutible to identify opportunities where players’ traits and qualities match those of companies’ proven best employees.

The company says that the candidates are able to play for free, while companies pay for the access to the pool of candidates.

Their main strategy is that the platform is able to predict how a candidate will perform in the future in only 20 minutes.

Scoutible raised a total of $6.5 million. It has two lead investors: Learn Capital and Mark Cuban. Other investors include StartX, Mindset Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, GWC Innovator Fund, and New Enterprise Associates.


Strive Talent is a "candidate-friendly hiring platform that helps companies hire based on competencies rather than credentials". Strive has developed technology which allows for objective assessments. This means that the candidates are able to prove their potential, even if their CV isn't perfect.

The company's strategy is as follows: They ask candidates to take an online quiz and then talk to Strive Talent's experts to prove their competencies, rather than just providing a resume. Strive Talent is responsible for finding appropriate jobs the candidates can interview for.

Strive Talent doesn't specify how they make money, but based on their website it seems they charge both the talent (candidates) and companies.

The company raised $3.8 million. The main investor is Upfront Ventures, with NextView Ventures, Kapor Capital, Graph Ventures, University Ventures, and Webb Investment Network also investing in the company.


gr8 People say about themselves that they are a 100% purpose-driven platform that delivers "the unfair advantage RPO and Corporate companies demand to compete for talent around the world." gr8 People's platform is built in a way that brings all the stages of the hiring process together. This involves finding the right candidates, marketing, hiring and on boarding. The platform is proven to significantly help with productivity of the hiring process and it empowers the free flow of information, which enables for companies to make better talent decisions in a shorter time frame.

The company's strategy is to provide a talent story about each of the candidates, instead of just focusing on CVs.

On gr8 People's website, only companies can request a demo. This points to the direction of a paid service. It is unclear how they source talent.

The company so far raised $10 million from Ascent Venture Partners, Delancey Street Partners, and Randstad Innovation Fund.


Ascendify built an Intelligent People Management platform which aims to reinvent how companies "attract, develop and inspire their talent". The platform is built for big organizations, and it "integrates machine learning and predictive analytics into recruiting and talent development with one seamless platform".

The strategy they employ is that with each hire, the company can perform skill assessment and performance evaluation in order to prepare for new hires. Ascendify's platform allows for companies to use AI and machine learning to find their new hires and plan their hiring process.

The website doesn't specify anything about how much they charge for their services, but Ascenfidy seems to charge companies in order for them to be able to use the platform. It is unclear how they source talent.

The company raised $14 million from Canaan Partners, Cisco, GE Ventures, and Blossom Street Ventures.


The start-ups that are focused on helping companies recruit based on potential are: Woo, Piazza, Belong, Teamable, Scoutible, Strive Talent, gr8 People, and Ascendify.