Forget the paperwork and spreadsheets. Startups offering technological solutions and new platforms are invading the human resources (HR) area. In the world, nascent companies have increasingly attracted the eyes of investors. As a proof, global investment in so-called HRTechs jumped 75% between 2017 and 2018, according to a survey by the U.S.-based research firm CB Insights.
In Latin America, HRTechs are also advancing at a rapid pace. Although some segments, such as fintech, e-commerce, marketplaces and agtech (agribusiness startups) attract more attention from venture capital funds, in recent years it is possible to see more global and local investors willing to inject resources into HR startups, says the Association for Private Equity & Venture Capital in Latin America (LAVCA).
has been invested in 2,918 HRTechs since 2019, according to CB Insights
At the request of LABS, the association listed some of HRTechs’ recent major moves in the region. Last year, for example, the French benefits company UP – one of the largest worldwide in its sector – bought a 60% stake in Colombian Glüky Group, an employee motivation platform. In addition, startups from countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Mexico received investments from renowned funds, including Kaszek Ventures, Valor Capital, 500 Startups, Redpoint eventures, QED Investors and others.
In Brazil, the solutions offered by startups range from job placement, recruitment and selection platforms to systems that automate previously bureaucratic processes in HR, such as payroll, work-time control and reimbursements. According to the most recent mapping carried out by the accelerator Liga Ventures, there are 274 HRTechs spread across the country, which facilitate HR activities, including people analytics, benefits, team management, internal communication, engagement and employee training.
The movement does not occur only in Brazil, but in several countries in Latin America. The difference, of course, is the speed of change between countries. Especially because some of the main trends in the job market, such as the importance of new generations, permanent learning, home office and the need for constant feedback are present in several nations.
Conta Azul currently uses three startup platforms to improve processes such as performance evaluation and work-time management. “Today I cannot see a team of people not using technology to improve process organization and increase the visibility of people’s data, which are numerous, and which can be gathered from the moment the employee enters the company”, explains Karin Hartenthal Ramos, HR head of Conta Azul.
Recruitment and selection
Lucas Mendes, a Brazilian engineer, and Lachlan de Crespigny, an Australian business administrator, saw the opportunity to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning in the process of job recruiting and selection. In 2014, Contratado.ME, which later became Revelo, was born.
The online platform links candidates to companies with job openings in areas such as programming, data analytics, design, marketing, finance and management.
“In general, the platform is 75% faster than regular consultancies and job websites”, guarantees Lucas Mendes. According to the entrepreneur, it is possible to fill a vacancy in just 14 days, on average.
Today, Revelo has about 14,000 registered companies, including giants such as Ambev, Itaú Unibanco, XP Inc., B2W and Accenture, in addition to micro, small and medium businesses. With a focus on Brazil for now, the startup is studying an expansion to other countries in Latin America, including Mexico, where the firm already has some clients.
Last year, the startup received an investment of BRL 70 million in a round led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank. It was the largest investment in an HRTech in Latin America to date, and the first B-series in this segment in Brazil. In addition to IFC, the round also had participation from the American funds FJLabs and Valor Capital, in addition to Mexican Dalus Capital, which had already invested in the startup before.
Cammila Yochabell, a Brazilian oil and gas technologist, saw in the HR area an opportunity to start a business. After taking part in a selection process while studying English in New Zealand, and not being able to advance in it because of the distance, she realized how this was a barrier in choosing new professionals. Why not record a resume in video? The selecting company did not agree, but the idea became a business: the startup Jobecam, founded in 2016.
In 2017, the startup participated in the acceleration program offered by Oracle. The following year, it received an angel investment (of an undisclosed amount) from People+Strategy, a business consultancy focused on strategic planning and human development. In 2019, Jobecam raised the second round of investments by technology company BRQ Digital Solutions and investors from Harvard Angels, one of the leading groups of angel investing in the country. “We still have an open round and are negotiating with venture capital funds”, says Cammila Yochabell, CEO of Jobecam.
Among the platform’s particularities is the possibility of blind video interviews. When choosing blindly, the recruiter receives the video interview of the candidates with altered images and voices, and hidden data. The company will only meet the person behind the screen when it approves the candidate for a next step in the process, explains Cammila.
Today, the company serves more than 300 clients, including big names such as Oracle, Raízen, Brookfield Incorporações and Protege (personal and property safety).
Another administrator who also decided to bet on the segment was Mariana Dias. In 2015, she was responsible for HR processes at Ambev’s factories and began to think of ways to improve the recruitment and selection experience. Along with three partners, Mariana set up Gupy, a recruitment and selection platform that uses artificial intelligence to make the process faster and more assertive.
The technology developed by the startup analyzes more than 200 features of the candidate and company profiles to establish the “matching” between them.
After being accelerated by Telefônica-owned Wayra, the startup received two investments – the first of BRL 1.5 million in 2018 and the second, last year, of BRL 11.5 million. In the first round, the deal got the attention of funds Canary (in which Julio Vasconcellos, founder of Peixe Urbano, is an investor) and Yellow Ventures (which counts with Patrick Sigrist, founder of iFood). Last year, Maya Capital and Valure Capital made the second round of investments in the startup.
Without disclosing the total number of clients, Dias says that today hundreds of companies make up its customer portfolio, in ten Latin Americas and European countries, including Mexico, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Slovakia and Italy. Large companies such as Atento, Ambev, Grupo Pão de Açúcar and Renner use the solution. Last year, the company tripled its turnover and plans to maintain the pace of growth in 2020.