JFDI.Asia Alumnus Tribehired.com, a social recruitment website, today announced that it had closed a S$696K (US$560K) seed funding round led by TNF Ventures (TNF) through the Technology Incubation Scheme under the National Research Foundation (NRF) within the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office. The round was supported by Singapore-based angel investors Ben Ball and Ben Chew.
The investment will be used to grow the team at Tribehired, to expand both the number of job candidates on the system and the range of businesses using the service.
Devan Singaram, Founder of Tribehired, first pitched the project at JFDI.Asia’s Demo Day in May 2012. Speaking today, he said: “This investment is crucial to the next stage of Tribehired’s development and not just because it brings us cash to fund our growth. In TNF we have access to a team of veteran entrepreneurs who have proved they know how to manage fast growth. Meanwhile Ben Chew brings specialist domain insight around recruitment. It’s great to have that kind of support behind us as we scale up rapidly.”
Tribehired has the potential to grow fast because it incentivises ordinary people to recommend job opportunities at companies where their friends would fit. A window into social networks gives employers a better choice of talent, simultaneously reducing hiring costs and time-to-hire. Tribehired’s automatic recommendations are supplemented by individual candidate interviews to assure a match.
Tribehired is currently in intensive beta testing with several thousand users in Malaysia providing feedback around real job opportunities. Early adopters are typically ‘Generation Y’ graduates but they are spread across a range of different industries and job functions. The notion of social network friends recommending each other for jobs is still new and testing has already revealed fascinating insights into customer needs and behaviours. A full international launch will follow shortly as the team reflects its learning in the service online.
Shirley Wong, Managing Partner at TNF Ventures, said: “Recruitment is an evergreen industry but it is also ripe for disruption. We saw that Tribehired’s team has the passion and drive to bring about that disruption. There are others in this space but Tribehired’s team convinced us that they really understand the psychology of social networks and job seekers better than anyone else.”
Clients using Tribehired already include Zalora, Lazada, Flocations and Brandtology. The service currently covers Singapore and Malaysia and focuses on innovative businesses that offer job seekers opportunities in businesses with a flat hierarchy and positive social impact.
Previous to today’s announcement, Tribehired received pre-seed funding from Cradle Fund, a government agency under the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia. Tribehired was also a participant in the JFDI-Innov8 2012 accelerator program operated by JFDI.Asia. Tribehired’s announcement finalizes the first seed investment into participating companies and brings the total raised to date to S$3.9 million.
Hugh Mason, Co-founder and CEO at JFDI.Asia, said: “This is a great deal for those directly involved but it also shows the benefits when Malaysia and Singapore collaborate to support innovative start-ups. Tribehired’s talent was first spotted by a Malaysian government fund and, with support from both private and public investors in Singapore, the business has been able to exploit opportunities in both markets to grow much faster than it would have done in either alone. Now, Tribehired is helping to fill jobs and create wealth on both ends of the causeway.”
The National Research Foundation (NRF) is a department within the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office. The Technology Incubation Scheme or TIS comes under the umbrella of the National Framework for Innovation & Enterprise (NFIE), which was introduced in 2008 to advance R&D-based innovation in Singapore with a view to commercialization. Under the TIS, the NRF co-invests with the chosen technology incubators in Singapore-based high-tech start-ups.