Recruiting Investors

May 6, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Startup RiseSmart of Dallas recently landed a small infusion of new capital from angel investors. The $1.5 million lays the groundwork for a probably pursuit of institutional investment sometime later this year. It’s also additional evidence that, despite economic clouds dimming the horizon, the recruiting sector continues to attract investors.

Among the private investors is Craig Stamm, best known as the former chief financial officer for CareerBuilder (profile). Said to be joining Stamm are fellow investors Mark Hamdan, founder and chief executive officer of HRsmart, and executive Louis Ramery of Sears Holdings Corp.

RiseSmart helps executives by providing personal “job concierges” that match their credentials to lists of vacancies. That’s why RiseSmart markets itself as a “human-powered” search engine. The service is designed to take the drudgery out of searching through the passel of executive job boards, which as any experienced job hunter knows will indiscrimately return thousands of available opportunities. Thus far, RiseSmart has been extremely hush-hush about the news, perhaps not wanting to tip off competing job sites like ExecuNet (profile) or TheLadders (profile).

The company employs about 25 people in India to comb through the extensive Internet job postings and help executives target positions they really want. Executives pay a fee of about $44 to peace of mind. This is a company to watch, if only because of the origin of its founder, Sanjay Sathe. He used to be part of the top brass at Sabre Holdings before being jettisoned overboard. Sathe reportedly was inspired to launch RiseSmart after enduring endless scrolls of irrelevant jobs openings.

Slipping under the radar is Mzinga’s acquisition of fellow social networking site Prospero in March. Both companies offer SaaS models designed to let consumers (and corporate customers) run polls and other interactive features. Therein lays an undeniably powerful recruiting tool: directly appealing to would-be/potential employees, while building a recruiting brand at the same time.

Mzinga clients include AOL, ESPN, Johnson & Johnson, Chevron, and a slew of other household names. Helping fund the takeover of Prospero: $32.5 million secured from private investors. Armed with the new cash, we expect Mzinga to roll out new offerings. And it’s not unreasonable to assume Mzinga will be on the prowl for other takeover targets, especially in the ever-growing social networking game.

Speaking of CareerBuilder: the Washington, D.C.-based site is among five businesses being sued for patent infringement by software developer GraphOn Corp., based in of Santa Cruz, California. GraphOn alleges its “unique method of maintaining and automated and network-accessible database” has been copied and used by the “popular and widely used Web sites” of CareerBuilder, Yahoo,,, and Classified Ventures, which is a joint venture of five major newspaper publishers.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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