These days in the tech sector, labor is tight. Market conditions give prospective employees the edge in the job market, pitting companies against one another in competition for talent. It’s not just a problem for whiz-bang Bay Area startups; it’s a nationwide phenomenon, and investors are looking to capitalize on a constrained labor market by investing in recruiting companies.
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Originally founded in 2011 as a social networking site for Chicago’s startup scene, Built In has since transitioned into a local tech media and recruiting platform with national reach.
Today, Built In announced it raised $22 million in a Series C round led by Washington, D.C.-based Updata Partners. Prior investors, including MATH Venture Partners (which led the company’s Series A and Series B rounds) participated in the later-stage deal.
As part of the terms of the transaction, Updata Partners GP Carter Griffin joins Built In’s board of directors. In a statement, Griffin said that Built In’s future is “incredibly exciting,” citing several macro trends: “In addition to low unemployment and the continued growth of the tech sector, more companies than ever are undergoing digital transformations to stay competitive.”
Recruiting is a rapidly changing industry. LinkedIn and similar tools offer a wealth of data for highly-targeted outreach to potential hires. This being said, platforms like Built In offer companies a venue to develop and share their narrative, to explain why their company might be a good place to work.
That narrative component is key to hiring a new generation of talent, according to Built In’s cofounder and CEO Maria Katris. “The digitally native generation in today’s workforce seeks collaborative, purpose-driven workplaces that value their talents. We help them connect with their local tech communities, grow professionally and discover opportunities at companies they believe in,” Katris said in a statement announcing the round.
According to Crunchbase data, this round brings Built In’s total funding to just under $30 million. Built In’s Series C is among the biggest rounds ever raised by a Chicago-based venture with a woman in the CEO seat, significant progress in a city whose startup leadership skews heavily male.
In the past year, Built In has tripled the number of customers it’s worked with. Crunchbase News covered the company’s Series B round back in June 2018; at that time, Katris told us that her company had over 500 customers. In today’s announcement, the company said that “Built In helps more than 1,800 customers […] connect with over 1 million technology professionals each month.”
To keep up with the demand, Built In plans to double headcount in its Chicago headquarters, at which roughly 100 people come to work each day. Over the next twelve months, the company expects to expand its national footprint as well. Built In currently has sites tracking local tech scenes in Chicago (its founding market), Austin, Boston, NYC, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Colorado.
The company has also allocated capital to expanding its recruitment product offering. In a post published to BuiltInChicago today, announcing the round, the company said it plans to build out a matching system “that will help people discover technology companies whose values align with their own.” Job searchers will be able to select for factors like family friendliness and diversity-first hiring practices.
Additionally, Built In plans to roll out a professional development initiative “to help tech workers learn from their peers and leaders within their fields, whether that’s engineering, data science, design or product management,” the company said.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias