Listen Here

| |

Conversation
Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Prem Kumar, CEO of Humanly, a recruiting tech platform that has raised $5.5 million in funding. Prem’s journey through HR tech has spanned over a decade, including a significant tenure at Microsoft and a stint at Tiny Pulse, before co-founding Humanly. His experience and observations around the inefficiencies and biases in the recruiting process inspired the creation of Humanly, aiming to revolutionize the way companies engage with candidates, especially for high-volume roles.

  • Prem’s Background in HR Tech: Prem shared his rich history in HR technology, emphasizing his entrepreneurial spirit even during his time at Microsoft, leading to his venture into startup life and eventually founding Humanly.
  • Inspiration Behind Humanly: The inconsistency and bias in the interview process Prem observed firsthand fueled his motivation to start Humanly. He aimed to create a platform that ensures efficient and equitable conversations between hiring teams and candidates.
  • Melanie Perkins and David Cancel as Inspirations: Prem admires Melanie Perkins of Canva and David Cancel of Drift for their paths in building and scaling innovative tech solutions.
  • Impactful Books: “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz, and a personal biography written by his father, have significantly influenced Prem’s entrepreneurial journey.
  • Challenges of Leaving a Secure Job: Prem discussed the daunting but ultimately rewarding decision to leave Microsoft, driven by a desire to explore the startup world and make a substantial impact in the HR tech space.
  • Humanly’s Mission and Approach: Focused on high-volume recruiting, Humanly aims to improve candidate engagement through automation and artificial intelligence, addressing the pain points of both hiring teams and candidates.
  • Adoption and Traction: Humanly has seen promising adoption, especially among mid-market and enterprise companies, focusing on roles that traditionally see a high volume of applicants.
  • Go-To-Market Strategy: Humanly leverages a direct sales approach, targeting mid-sized to large companies, with plans to expand more into the enterprise space and explore partnerships with ATS providers.
  • Vision for the Future: Prem aspires for Humanly to lead in conversational AI for recruiting, focusing on making candidate interactions more structured, less biased, and more efficient at scale.

Actionable
Takeaways

Focus on Solving Specific Pain Points:

Prem's experience emphasizes the importance of identifying and addressing specific challenges within a market segment. For HR tech founders, understanding the nuances of high-volume recruiting processes and the pain points of both hiring teams and candidates can guide the development of targeted solutions that genuinely improve efficiency and fairness.

Utilizing Data for Continuous Improvement:

Data plays a crucial role in refining and validating your product. Humanly's approach to collecting candidate feedback and engagement metrics demonstrates how data can be used to continuously enhance user experience and product effectiveness. Founders should prioritize building a data-driven culture that leverages analytics to inform product development and market strategies.

Building with Ecosystem Compatibility in Mind:

Prem's strategy of aligning Humanly with existing ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) and leveraging established infrastructure like Azure showcases the value of ensuring your product integrates smoothly with the broader ecosystem. This reduces friction for adoption and enhances the value proposition for potential enterprise customers.

Adapting Go-to-Market Strategies to Your Audience:

Understanding the buying behavior and preferences of your target market is crucial for developing an effective go-to-market strategy. For HR and recruiting tech, where the market is experiencing a shift towards PLG (Product-Led Growth) alongside traditional top-down sales, finding the right balance and tailoring your approach can significantly impact your success.

Emphasizing Culture and Alignment Within Your Team:

As your startup grows, maintaining a strong culture and ensuring team alignment become increasingly challenging but essential. Fostering a shared understanding of your mission, vision, and values from the outset can help sustain momentum and unity as you scale.

Recommended Founder
Interviews

Sammy Singh

CEO and Co-Founder of WurkNow

Sammy Singh, CEO and Co-Founder of WurkNow: $15 Million Raised to Power the Future of Staffing

Kevin Busque

CEO and Founder of Guideline

Kevin Busque, CEO and Founder of Guideline: $339 Million Raised to Help More Small Businesses Offer Retirement Plans

Warren Lebovics

Co-Founder of Pequity

Warren Lebovics, Co-Founder of Pequity: $19 Million Raised to Build the Future of Employee Compensation

Ben Sesser

CEO & Founder of BrightHire

Ben Sesser, CEO & Founder of BrightHire: $36 Million Raised to Build the Interview Intelligence Category

Omer Glass

Co-Founder and CEO of GrowthSpace

Omer Glass, Co-Founder and CEO of GrowthSpace: $44 Million Raised to Build the Future of Employee Development

Barbra Gago

CEO and Founder of Pando

Barbra Gago, CEO and Founder of Pando: $7 Million Raised to Build the Future of Career Advancement

Jason Radisson

CEO and Founder of Movo

Jason Radisson, CEO and Founder of Movo: Over $9 Million Raised to Build the Future of HR Automation

Josh Merrill

CEO of Confirm

Josh Merrill, CEO of Confirm: Over $11 Million Raised to End the Performance Review Nightmare

Brett Martin

President and Co-Founder of Kumospace

Brett Martin, President and Co-Founder of Kumospace: $25 Million Raised to Power the Future of Virtual Offices

Sid Upadhyay

Co-founder & CEO of WizeHire

Sid Upadhyay, Co-founder & CEO at WizeHire: Over $30 Million Raised to Help SMBs Hire Great Talent

Hanna Asmussen

CEO and Co-Founder of Localyze

Hanna Asmussen, CEO and Co-Founder of Localyze: Over $48 Million Raised to Build the Leading Global Mobility Platform for Companies and Employees

Virgile Raingeard

CEO of Figures

Virgile Raingeard, CEO of Figures: €8.5 Million Raised to Build the Future of Compensation Intelligence

Kian Katanforoosh

CEO & Founder of Workera

Kian Katanforoosh, CEO of Workera: $21 Million Raised to Build the Skills Intelligence Category

Andres Blank

Co-founder & CEO of Fetcher

Andres Blank, CEO of Fetcher: $40 Million+ Raised to Build the Future of Recruiting Automation

Chandler Malone

Founder of Bootup

Chandler Malone, Founder of Bootup: $2 Million Raised to Solve the Tech Talent Crisis

Agapitos Diakogiannis

Co-founder & CEO of Seafair

Agapitos Diakogiannis, CEO of Seafair: $6.5 Million Raised to Build the Future of Maritime Recruitment

Achuthanand Ravi

Founder & CEO of Kula

Achuthanand Ravi, CEO of Kula: $14 Million Raised to Build the Future of Recruiting

Anthony Mironov

CEO and Co-Founder of Wingspan

Anthony Mironov, CEO and Co-Founder of Wingspan: $30 Million Raised to Power the Contractor Experience of the Future

Sam Naficy

CEO of Prodoscore

Sam Naficy, CEO of Prodoscore: $4 Million Raised to Build the Future of Employee Productivity Measurement

Wes Winham Winler

Founder/CEO of Woven

Wes Winham Winler, CEO of Woven: $11 Million Raised to Transform How Companies Recruit and Hire Developers

Joseph Fung

CEO of Uvaro

Joseph Fung, CEO of Uvaro: $15 Million Raised to Build the Career Success Platform Category

Nicholas Rudder

Co-Founder & CEO of Sphere

Nicholas Rudder, Co-Founder & CEO of Sphere: $5 Million Raised to Build the Future of Corporate Learning

Tony Jamous

CEO of Oyster

Tony Jamous, CEO of Oyster: $220+ Million Raised to Build the Global Employment Platform (GEP) Category

Stephen Johnston

CEO and Founder of GoodJob

Stephen Johnston, CEO and Founder of GoodJob: $9 Million Raised to Power the Future of Human Capital Management

Ville Herva

CEO of BOLT.works

Ville Herva, CEO of BOLT.works: $7 Million Raised to Build the Future of Staffing

Nishika de Rosairo

CEO and Founder of HumanQ

Nishika de Rosairo, CEO and Founder of HumanQ: $3.5 Million Raised to Build the Future of Human Development

Ben Zweig

CEO of Revelio Labs

Ben Zweig, CEO of Revelio Labs: $19 Million Raised to Build the Future of Workforce Intelligence

Laura McGee

Founder and CEO of Diversio

Laura McGee, CEO of Diversio: $6 Million Raised to Help Organizations Measure and Improve DEI

Will Sealy

CEO and Co-Founder of Summer

Will Sealy, CEO and Co-Founder of Summer: Over $18 Million Raised to Help Organizations Provide Student Loan Benefits

Daniel Liebeskind

CEO and Co-Founder of Topia

Daniel Liebeskind, CEO and Co-Founder of Topia: $6 Million Raised to Help Organizations Build Their Own Metaverse

Raghu Gollamudi

CEO and Co-Founder of Included

Raghu Gollamudi, CEO and Co-Founder of Included: $5.4 Million Raised to Build the Future of HR Analytics

Ian White

Founder of ChartHop

Ian White, Founder, CEO and CTO of ChartHop: $74 Million Raised to Build the Future of PeopleOps

Mike Adams

Co-Founder & CEO of Grain

Mike Adams, Co-Founder & CEO of Grain: $22 Million Raised to Power the Future of Meetings

Matt Watson

CEO and Founder of Origin

Matt Watson, CEO and Founder of Origin: Over $70 Million Raised to Make Financial Wellness the Next Big Employee Perk

Matt Pierce

CEO of Immediate

Matt Pierce, CEO of Immediate: $15 Million Raised to Eliminate the Costly Price of Financial Stress in the Workforce

Jaclyn Chen

CEO of Benepass

Jaclyn Chen, CEO of Benepass: $14 Million Raised to Build the Future of Employee Benefits Management

Sebastian Schüller

Co-founder of HiPeople

Sebastian Schüller, Co-founder of HiPeople: $7 Million Raised to Develop Data-Driven Augmentation for Hiring Teams

Peter Briffett

CEO and Co-Founder of Wagestream

Peter Briffett, CEO and Co-Founder of Wagestream: $370 Million Raised to Provide Financial Wellbeing for Every Frontline Employee

Fraser Patterson

CEO and Founder of Skillit

Fraser Patterson, CEO and Founder of Skillit: $13 Million Raised to Tackle the Skilled Labor Crisis in Construction

Daniel Birkholm

Founder & CEO of TalentHub

Daniel Birkholm, TalentHub: $6 Million Raised to Transform How Organizations Measure and Improve Their Hiring Experience

Marcelo Lebre

President of Remote

Marcelo Lebre, Co-founder & COO of Remote: Nearly $500 Million Raised to Power the Distributed Workforce of the Future

Rob Whalen

CEO of PTO Exchange

Rob Whalen, CEO of PTO Exchange: $5M Raised to Empower Companies to Rethink Paid Time Off

Hanns Aderhold

Founder and CEO of Cobrainer

Hanns Aderhold, Founder and CEO of Cobrainer: $21 Million Raised to Build the Future of Skills Data Platforms

Jason Lavender

CEO of Electives

Jason Lavender, CEO of Electives: $10M Raised to Redefine Corporate Training

Andy Berman

CEO and Founder of Vowel

Andy Berman, CEO and Founder of Vowel: $13 Million Raised to Power the Future of Meetings

Amit Bhatia

CEO & Co-Founder of Data People

Amit Bhatia, Co-Founder and CEO of Data People: $21 Million Raised to Build the Future of Recruiting Intelligence

Tom Griffiths

CEO and Co-founder of Hone

Tom Griffiths, CEO of Hone: $50 Million Raised to Build the Future of Corporate Training

Jared Pope

CEO and Co-Founder of Work Shield

Jared Pope, CEO and Co-Founder of Work Shield: $12 Million Raised to Eliminate Workplace Misconduct

Kelsey Bishop

Founder and CEO of Candor

Kelsey Bishop, Founder and CEO of Candor: $5 Million Raised to Build the Future of Professional Relationship-Building