Like many of the best ideas, the inspiration for Thailand-based recruitment software specialist Manatal was the founders’ own experience. Jeremy Fichet, one of those founders, and now the company’s CEO, spent 10 years scaling up and runing e-commerce businesses but always found the process of managing talent recruitment frustrating and time-consuming. Now Manatal, the business he launched to solve that problem, is today announcing the closure of a $5.1m seed funding round.
“It typically costs small and medium-sized enterprises eight times more than a larger company to make a hire,” Fichet says. “That puts these firms, which are the backbone of our economies, at a tremendous competitive disadvantage.”
The problem for businesses is that the recruitment process is messy. Firms must find a way to appeal to the broadest possible range of candidates in order to catch the best people; then there is the whole process of whittling down those candidates to find the best fits for the job; even the task of onboarding can be bureaucratic and time-consuming.
Larger businesses have the resources to justify spending significant sums on human resources management software, which can tackle some of these pain points. But such technology – even it were to be affordable – is overkill for smaller firms. And in the meantime, the recruitment imperative becomes ever more difficult as labour markets tighten and skills shortages intensify.
Enter Manatal. Its end-to-end recruitment and onboarding platform is squarely aimed at those small and medium sized enterprises struggling in these ways.
The idea is to provide support at each stage of the recruitment funnel. The platform ensures greater reach, for example, by placing candidate searches on as many online job boards as possible. It supports selection with a proprietary technology that scores candidates against the criteria set out for the job. It helps companies manage candidate flow by providing a means to track candidates as they move through the process. And it then provides additional support once candidates are appointed, providing a means with which to conduct onboarding more efficiently.
“So many companies are trying to manage all this with outdated spreadsheets, sprawling email chains and bits of paper,” says Fichet. “We’ve been through that ourselves and we thought we could help.”
To use the software, businesses pay a monthly fee, starting at just $15 for a single user. Fichet believes this is the way to grow the business – each new user has the potential to become an advocate for the product, encouraging colleagues to join up, and spreading the word in their networks beyond the organisation.
Manatal has invested almost nothing in sales, Fichet points out, but is already working with several thousand employers in 130 countries worldwide. “We’re especially proud of one statistic in particular,” he adds. “We’re on the verge of breaking through 100,000 employees hired using our platform.”
It is potentially a product of its time, given the war for talent now raging in so many markets worldwide. Better recruitment processes may be critical in winning that war; research from the consultant McKinsey suggests companies can realise a 40 percent increase in the quality of hires and a 12 percent decrease in first year attrition after they become more thoughtful and data-driven about hiring.
These are ideas clearly not lost on Manatal’s investors. The funding round announced today is led by Sequoia India’s Surge programme, along with a number of angel investors.
“We intend to reinvest the money raised in our engineering teams,” Fichet explains. He sees the potential for substantial enhancements to the platform, with a particular focus on how artificial intelligence tools and increased data science capabilities could drive smarter recruitment. The company is also committed to launching the platform in other languages, having primarily targeted English-speaking businesses until now.
That makes sense. Like other SaaS businesses, the pitch of Manatal is a global one – and its platform is market agnostic. The truth is that small and medium-sized enterprises everywhere face the same recruitment challenges.