Smart Hiring Platform Skillific Taps Crowdfunding

Tallinn-headquartered Skillific launched this week an equity crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise growth capital selling up to 10 percent of the startup to the public.

Skillific has built a web-crawling search engine to collect data on skills of potential candidates for open positions and sells its service to companies.

Founder Rainer Aunpu spent more than a year building the team with complimentary skills. He ran Estonian conglomerate Mainor Group for five years and constantly came across the hiring problem. “During that time I started to think that labour market is not really functioning as an open market should function,” he said in a interview. “The employers go through hell and pay enormous additional charges to find people. And it’s tricky also for the employees.”

For more than two years he was researching the market and trying to find partners to co-operate on finding a solution, but did not get too far.

“Eventually I understood that it is something I have to do myself.”

Crucial event for birth of Skillific was Garage48 hackathon in October 2014. The team did not won, but the startup was born out of this exercise.

In the summer of 2015 Skillific rolled out its first beta version in Estonia, targeting IT and healthcare professionals. So far some 5,500 profiles have been created manually, and the startup aims to increase that quickly to 200,000 with own algorithm compiling data from the web alongside combining sources and platforms.

“There is a vast amount of public sources of data which can be used for profiling,” Aunpu said, pointing to GitHub as an example of open-source data platform for IT professionals

How Skillific positions itself as the enabler of much better talent discovery and matchmaking quality Photo: Skillific

The competition for advanced hiring platforms is quite limited with the most obvious comparison to LinkedIn. However, Aunpu is not too worried over having much larger rival to tackle.

“This is a vast market and LinkedIn is pretty much the only peer to compare oneself with,” he said.

Making the comparison even more direct, LinkedIn bought Skillific’s closest peer, also cross-platform tool Connectifier earlier this month. Connectifier had raised $6 million before the acquisition.

Next step on Skillific roadmap is Britain. After testing the service in Estonia and validating it – finding the first proof points to show traction for possible investors – the plan is to expand quickly to the UK market.

Two days into the campaign on Fundwise platform Skillific has raised 29 percent of its minimum target of 35,462 euros.