August 30, 2021

Flight Plan #004— Our Investment in Vervoe

Our investment notes for Vervoe a hiring and screening tool that removes bias and let's you hire the best people for the role, the first time

Written by

Lachlan Duffy

Everyone has heard those words when applying for a job “after careful consideration…”, but what actually goes into the application process? Recruitment is the first vital step in making sure you make the best hire for your culture and role. That is why we were so excited that our first TEN13 investment can help move this needle, with Vervoe.

Vervoe is a Melbourne based company whose vision is to build a multi-billion dollar company that uniquely evaluates anyone’s capability in any field, at speed, at scale and based on data.

We knew from experience working in big companies, small companies (and everything in between) that candidates are too often judged based on inherent biases such as what school they went to, GPA, degree choice, age, stage, gender, skin colour and nationality; all reasons other than ‘can they actually do the job and do it well?’

Omer and David, the co-founders of Vervoe, believed that the future of recruitment was in skills-based assessments, where candidates are scored and benchmarked using data and artificial intelligence (AI). They believed this would result in hiring better quality candidates, reduce the likelihood of hiring the wrong candidates (costly), and result in a 10x reduction in the time and resources it to takes to complete the hiring process. We were keen to investigate these strong claims.

We were introduced to Vervoe through our US VC network and our friends at SEEK, who we’d co-invested with in GO1. When we got to know the founders, their experience and understood what they were working on, we knew we had to take a much deeper look.

So, what does Vervoe do, exactly? Vervoe has built out an enterprise software solution that provides an ‘off-the-shelf’ skills-based assessment platform for enterprise customers to test as a first-line of review for job candidates.

Applicants are tested ‘blindly’; no qualitative factors such as where they have worked, what school they went to or their referees are used to produce their score.

Their responses are then assessed automatically (including open-ended responses, video and audio) and then rank-stacked for the hirer to review. This saves hours in résumé screening time, wasted phone and video interviews and ultimately the cost of hiring the wrong person.

Vervoe has developed a database of over 80k questions that have been created by HR experts for each role type and skill, this question pool will continue to expand and be refined by users over time and ultimately help to build a data moat. Candidate tests are auto-generated based on job title and related skills for each role.

Whilst we could see trends emerging around bias cognition, diversity targets and openness to new tools driving the future of work, cold hard traction helped answer that question. Companies like AusPost and global ones like Walmart were deeply engaged with the platform and increasingly using it to recruit more of their workers. Successfully navigating complex and lengthy enterprise sales cycles is a challenge. Scrappy startups that manage to emerge with signed high-value contracts are ones that deserve our respect.

At our core, we love to back founders that are technical, deeply product-centric and who are singularly focused on realising their company’s vision. We found these qualities present in Omer and David in spades. Having spent time with Omer Molad — CEO (Ex-NAB Corporate Finance, Israeli Defence Force) and David Weinberg — Product (ex-Silicon Valley — Juniper Networks & Telstra) — we were sold that the co-founding duo had the right intensity, ambition and background to build a venture scale business.

To date, they’ve proven us right, as they’ve been able to navigate the COVID-19 crisis and sell into new verticals like Health Insurance and Aged Care. While no one could have foreseen the impacts of COVID-19, the best founders find a way forward. Omer and David are finding a way, and we’re pleased to be on the journey with them.

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