Uncommon.co Launches and Raises $18 Million to Bridge the Divide Between LinkedIn and Job Boards

People on LinkedIn aren’t looking for a job and too many candidates on job boards aren’t qualified. Therein lies the heart of start-up Uncommon.co and how it hopes to break through the crowded space of recruitment technology.

“Uncommon’s technology is unleashing a much-needed transformation in the job market.” explained Amir Ashkenazi, founder, president and chairman of Uncommon.co. “The job market has not changed much since the classified ads era — basically a black box for those on both sides of the hiring equation. At Uncommon.co, we’re using best-in-class technology to fix the unfair, broken recruiting system and empower job seekers to find meaningful opportunities suited to their skill sets, while helping employers level the playing field for applicants and find the best talent. It’s a win-win.”

I’m always a little bit skeptical of startups in our space with founders who have sold businesses in other industries, becoming quite wealthy in the case of Uncommon.co, and decide to tackle hiring challenges, but that’s exactly what’s happening in this case.

Leaders Ashkenazi and Teg Grenager, CEO, are both veteran entrepreneurs who previously worked together at Adap.tv, a programmatic video advertising startup that was acquired by AOL for $405 million, the company’s largest acquisition at the time. Ashkenazi also founded Shopping.com, which was acquired by eBay for $634 million. Talk about makin’ it rain.

So why follow that up to get into the recruiting game? “When I was hiring for my previous companies, I was stunned at how finding talent was based on a ‘needle in a haystack’ approach,” said Grenager. “Now, we’re creating what I wish I had then: a simple and effective way to connect with only qualified applicants who are ready to be interviewed, allowing recruiters to spend less time sourcing and more time hiring great talent.”

Taking a shot at industry leader Indeed, Uncommon.co believes employers blindly burn money on an outdated cost-per-click fee for every opening, then spend long hours screening resumes, “only to find a few that are actually qualified and interested in the job position.” LinkedIn, Uncommon.co believes, is full of qualified candidates, but too few that are actually interested in a new job.

Uncommon.co Dashboard

Screenshot: Uncommon.co Dashboard

To solve this problem, Uncommon.co accesses a database of some 50 million resumes and 6 million job postings to connect both qualified and interested candidates right to your front door. It’s a little unclear how the startup has obtained 50 million professional profiles, but an image on its website infers that the data is sources from sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Github, Upwork, and CareerBuilder to name a few.

The company also says it uses AI technology trained on over 50 million career paths and analyzes applicant resumes for hard skills, like expertise in data science or kinesiology, by looking for factors like degrees attained or years in a role; soft skills, like creativity and entrepreneurship, are found by extrapolating skills necessary for success in past jobs. Checkout its explainer video to learn more.

While the model is not necessarily new — Entelo Envoy comes to mind — the pricing model is a bit different. Using what it calls a CPIQ pricing model — Cost-Per-Interested-and-Qualified (cute, huh?) – the company charges employers a fee for driving these interested and qualified candidates, currently $9.95 per. Think of it as the country-and-western pricing model. There’s also a 14-day free trial.

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The company has impressed a handful of clients throughout a beta period. “My recruiting efforts typically consisted of posting positions on various job sites and then sifting through hundreds of applicants, with most of them being unqualified,” said beta customer Galia Schwarz, VP business development at Resonai. “With Uncommon.co, I am able to post my position in one place and know that they will take care of all the sourcing and screening for me. It’s centralized and easy to use.”

The company is also announcing $18 million in Series A funding from Canaan Partners, Spark Capital and Zeev Ventures. “Today’s recruitment system is broken — the process is slow and rife with bias and it’s stagnating growth for companies of all sizes, across industries,” said Santo Politi from Spark Capital. “That’s why I’m excited about what the team at Uncommon.co has created: a guaranteed solution for finding qualified talent on demand. They have created a system that will soon become the status quo and will disrupt the $428 billion global staffing industry.”

Uncommon.co is based in Palo Alto, California. It also has a secondary location in San Francisco. You can visit it at the upcoming Sourcecon Conference in Las Vegas.

Joel Cheesman

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.