Headstart secures £5.42 million Pre-Series A investment led by FoundersX

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Headstart, the leading diversity recruiting solution, closes $7m investment & expands work with Accenture in the US.

18 November 2019: Headstart, the HR tech company using data science to remove bias when hiring, has announced a $7million seed investment round, led by FoundersX, the Silicon Valley VC specialising in AI. Headstart’s fresh approach to large enterprises fighting the ‘war for talent’ uses sophisticated software to find the right candidate for the right job – regardless of background, gender or ethnicity. Today’s investment will help the company to develop its platform further, grow the team and move into international markets.

Headstart’s ability to reduce bias by 20%, reduce time-to-hire by nearly 70% and identify early talent has caught the attention of large organisations such as Accenture. In particular, Accenture’s use of Headstart in UK & Ireland has resulted in a greater demographic mix in education, gender, and ethnic diversity within its 26,000-person candidate pool, while also realising $2.1M in cost savings. Accenture has also seen a five per cent (5%) increase in female hires and a two and half per cent (2.5%) increase in black and ethnic minority hires. The success of its UK work means Headstart’s contract has now been expanded globally.

Gareth Jones, CEO at Headstart said,

“This is a massive achievement for us. When we came to market 2 years ago we were probably the only technology company talking about fairness and diversity. Fairness has been our core purpose from day one, it’s in our DNA, and we are so grateful to our investors and clients who saw how important our message was. For me this represents an investment in diversity, not just our company. This latest round will allow us to grow our capability in our core markets, levelling the playing field and breaking the cycle of exclusion that still chronically prevalent in the world of work. It is also a huge vote of confidence in the team who have worked so hard over the past 2 years to bring our purpose to life.”

Traditional recruitment practices focus on just getting the process done as businesses hire more and more people. Therefore, legacy HR technology looks too much at process efficiency and ignores the hidden bias in its systems. Headstart is raising the bar with its sophisticated software that matches the right person for the right job at a fraction of the cost and time. It combines the two aspects of recruitment – candidate assessment and management – and uses pioneering data science and powerful automation tools to help companies hire and remove the excuses for lack of diversity within an organisation.

Dr. Helen Liang, Founder & Managing Partner of FoundersX Ventures said

“Congrats to Nick, Gareth and Headstart AI team for closing $7M pre-A round! Great to see their smart recruiting algorithm validated by Fortune 500 clients with strong growth momentum. I firmly believe diversity is the result of hiring for the best. Headstart AI made that possible.”

Nicholas Shekerdemian, Headstart’s Founder and Executive Chairman said,

“It’s amazing how far we’ve come, and how far the market has progressed in parallel. When we started, the message that people should be treated as people, rather than pieces of paper resonated well, but legacy systems and outdated processes made that an impossibility. Hard work and innovation from the team, along with our progressive and forward thinking clients, is now making that a reality. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to bring this to life, and I am excited for a future where every job application is reviewed fairly, without bias. Thank you to all of our investors and advisors. The time is now!”

Founders X is joined by Founders Factory (who also provided bespoke team support), Y Combinator, and Plug and Play Ventures, as Headstart’s investors in this round.

About Headstart https://www.headstart.io/

Headstart is diversity recruiting software that levels the playing field for all candidates by removing bias from the recruiting process. Headstart’s recruitment software enables organisations to hire the best candidate for the job – from a diverse pool of talent – at a fraction of the cost and time of traditional HR practices. Headstart are currently working with enterprise organisations including Accenture, Lazard and Smith’s.

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Manoj Ranaweera

Manoj has founded, failed and successfully exited from a number of technology product companies as well as support organisations since 2004. Among them, Northern Tech Awards and edocr.com were acquired by GP Bullhound and Accusoft, Inc respectively. Today, Manoj is building a trusted support network for technology companies. He is working with founding teams to help them accelerate including raising investment and M&A.

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