From my days as a product manager at Bazaarvoice to my time working at smaller startups, I’ve seen first-hand how hard it can be to both identify and hire top talent, especially in competitive markets or for positions that require harder-to-find skillsets. And when companies bring on less-than-stellar talent, it can be crippling. Hiring mistakes can cost companies tens of thousands of dollars, and dramatically dampen growth.
Seven years ago, my friend Christian and I set out to fix this problem by building ROIKOI, which allows recruiting teams to effectively leverage their employees’ networks with powerful talent mapping software.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce our acquisition by Terminal as the next step on our journey to help companies find the best talent for their teams.
Rewind seven years.
One day I was having coffee with a friend and local recruiter in Austin. His network is huge, and he always had great insight when it came to hiring. I found myself thinking: ”How can people harness all the connections of all the great people they know every time they need to make a hire?”
I started Googling to find a service that showed not just whom people know (LinkedIn, of course), but who they (actually) think are great. Nada. How was it that we had better signal from Yelp on where to get the best tacos than we did on how to find the best people?
I gave my notice and started ROIKOI. It was based on one simple principle, great people know great people. If we could figure out a scalable, accurate, and intuitive way to map each person’s top connections to a company’s needs – we knew we could overhaul recruiting.
When we looked at the existing software landscape, it became clear that the challenge with employee referral platforms is that they ultimately rely on employees telling recruiters who might be a great fit for a role. But unfortunately most employees don’t have the recruiting know-how to understand which of their connections might be a fit for open roles, even with the best of AI assists. Plus, it’s asking a lot for employees to take time out of their busy days to make referrals for recruiters.
The industry was ripe for change. Select companies have invested in driving passive referrals for years, but the majority are still employing the same manual techniques they were using a decade ago. The recruiting world needed an easier, efficient way to unlock the power of trusted networks.
It was time to get to work.
Christian and I leaned on our engineering and product backgrounds while drawing on our own previous employee/employer experiences to build the software – in a nutshell, it pulls in open jobs, maps top network connections, and uses AI to match great candidates to open reqs. The system then takes into account the right times to reach out and content to use to maximize reply rates. And all this is fine-tuned continuously with machine learning.
After a guerilla launch at SXSW, and some initial tests with Austin-based tech start-ups, our momentum took off in earnest. We landed a Fortune 100 client. Then a Fortune 10 company. Eventually we validated a market for ROIKOI and showcased how effective it could be in helping companies hire and grow.
Next, we needed to amplify our reach.
After meeting Terminal CEO Clay Kellogg, I knew immediately that it would be the right next step for us. Companies look to Terminal to quickly hire elite engineers that fit their specific needs, and our software would add rocket-fuel to this process by swiftly matching startups with the ideal engineers to help them achieve breakout velocity.
The acquisition combines Terminal’s global reach, recruiting expertise and expansive engineering base with ROIKOI’s Talent Graph to identify and automatically engage with top candidates. I’m excited to share that Terminal partners will have access to this platform over the course of this quarter.
And, we’ll continue to be along for the ride. Christian and I are thrilled to join the Terminal team, as director of innovation and head of product and engineering, respectively. We get to realize our vision for ROIKOI in the biggest way possible, work with a great group of people, and continue evolving the Terminal offering with a host of awesome new tech-enabled products for partners, members, and candidates.
We can’t wait to see where our journey takes us and help companies grow along the way!