Venture

Karat Raises $28M Series B Led By Tiger Global

We’ve said it many times before: hiring is hard. And if you work at a tech company, you know just how time-consuming and exhausting it can be to hire technical talent.

Karat, founded by Mohit Bhende and Jeffrey Spector, is trying to help companies scale their technical hiring processes. By re-routing first round interviews from company engineers to Karat “interview engineers” and providing companies with hiring insights, Karat aims to save companies valuable time and engineering resources.

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And Tiger Global Management is betting that Bhende and Spector, a former XBOX executive and former Chief of Staff to Melinda Gates, are onto something. The firm has led Karat’s $28 million Series B, along with participation from previous investors including Norwest Venture Partners and 8VC. The round brings Karat’s total known funding to $43.6 million, per Crunchbase.

Of course, as Crunchbase News has reported in the past, there are a number of companies aiming to shake up the hiring process, focusing particular attention on the sourcing and engagement of candidates. Namely Hired.io, Ziprecruiter, Triplebyte, and others have come up with solutions they think will save companies time in the recruiting and hiring process. But Bhende and Spector are quick to point out the major differences between recruiting platforms and Karat.

“The thing that we realized that really came out of personal experience… was just the sheer amount of time and lack of consistency around interviewing,” said Bhende, adding that its clients are less in need of sourcing and more in need of a new way of altering hiring practices.

And that brings us to the next difference: for the most part, the company’s customers are large enterprises or what the founders referred to as “unicorns and above.” Karat’s clients range from Mulesoft and Roblox to Intuit and Citrix. These are companies, Spector said, that are aiming to hire between at least 50 and somewhere in the thousands of engineers a year. That means that they’re not necessarily having trouble sourcing, and they’re at a stage where, Spector said, they need to build an internal hiring structure to match their business growth.

“We’re kind of the talent arbiter against all of their hires. And so in that way, our biggest competition is actually business as usual,” Bhende said. Karat’s service is meant to be baked into the hiring processes of these large companies. Company engineers don’t have to take on interviewing responsibility with Karat; instead, interview engineers with technical experience and interview training do that part of the job.

“Interview engineering is kind of a combination of the people, the actual interview engineers on our platform who conduct live interviews for clients, and then the infrastructure, which is all the data and the tech in the process we’ve built,” explained Bhende.

According to the company, “organizations working with Karat see an average 60 percent reduction in time spent on interviewing and increase hiring goal attainment by 20 percent.”

That reduction, the founders said, results from a combination of the data-informed “interview infrastructure” that interview engineers are equipped with along with the hiring insights the company provides its clients. The 24/7 flexibility of video conferencing in the interview process also means that candidates reap the benefits as well—there’s less worry about missing work for interviews.

The founders said that Tiger Global approached them, in true TGM style, having been exposed to Karat insights through board meetings with other portfolio companies and having conducted in-depth market research. With the funding, the company will double down on its R&D efforts. Further, it’s aiming to scale globally, while ensuring that Karat has the bandwidth to support new customers. That means the company will onboard more remote Karat interview engineers across the globe. According to Spector, it’s an attractive role for many engineers.

“We get a lot of people that are very interested in having more flexibility in their life, that are wanting to interact with humans that are passionate about solving a specific problem,” Spector said. “A lot of these are people who have built their interviewing programs at the companies they were at before they got to Karat, and so they’ve thought very deeply about these problems.”

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias