Karat Gets $28M for Software, Team That Assess Job-Seeking Engineers

Karat, a Seattle-based startup that uses a combination of software and a stable of freelance interviewers to help tech companies assess job applicants, announced Wednesday it has raised $28 million in new funding.

Tiger Global Management led the Series B funding round, Karat says. Other participating investors included return backers Norwest Venture Partners and 8VC. Karat says it has raised more than $41 million since launching in 2014.

Karat plans to use some of the proceeds from the financing for product development, and to double its current 50-employee headcount, Mohit Bhende, one of the startup’s co-founders, says in an interview. Most of that hiring is likely to occur in the next 12 months, he says.

The startup uses a network of what Karat calls “interview engineers” to assess candidates. Interview engineers get paid on a freelance basis, not as full-time employees of Karat.

Nearly every interview the startup does is over video conference, and Karat records the interviews so clients can view them afterward. The startup recently began offering candidates who do interviews through Karat the option to re-do an interview if the candidate feels he or she could improve if given a second chance, Bhende says.

Karat’s customers include Indeed, Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU), PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL), and Pinterest (NYSE: PINS)

Bhende and Spector would not say how many interview engineers Karat currently works with, and also declined to reveal the number of interviews they conduct. However, it facilitated three times as many interviews in 2018 as it did the previous year, Bhende says, and the startup is on track to again triple its annual interview total in 2019. Some of Karat’s clients do close to 10,000 interviews per year using the platform, he adds.

Some of Karat’s customers share data with the startup on the performance of employees who earned a job through Karat, says Jeff Spector, its other co-founder.

“For our longstanding partners, we start to integrate with their performance management system,” Spector says. “Through our understanding of both hiring outcomes in the hiring process as well as on-the-job performance, it starts to feed back into our interview [methodology] so that it gets more and more predictive over time.”

Up to this point, Karat has mostly focused on assisting companies that seek to hire software engineers. But Bhende says his startup plans to facilitate interviews with other types of jobs, like sales representatives, in the future.

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