- Looking at US$1.5mil by year-end, to be used to expand to more cities
- Hubba Hired acquisition will see teams and platforms integrated
MALAYSIAN and Singaporean joint venture startup TribeHired, which has just acquired the Hubba Hired recruitment business from Bangkok-based co-working space and startup network Hubba for an undisclosed sum, is eyeing a possible Series A funding round by the end of the year.
This would happen once the company has expanded into two more cities, TribeHired founder and chief executive officer Devan Singaram told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
The ‘social recruitment marketplace’ will be targeting “around S$2 million (US$1.5 million), to accelerate our growth into more cities, as we would have ironed out any further scaling issues,” he said.
In an official statement issued yesterday (July 25), the company had said it plans to launch its business to six more cities over the next 12 months, but Devan was coy when asked by DNA to identify these cities.
“One more in South-East Asia, that’s all we can say for now,” he quipped.
Asked what factors TribeHired looks at when deciding which city to launch into, Devan said, “First, we look at the trend of talents signing up to our website from other countries. We then look at things like the startup and technology ecosystem, and how mature they are.
“We also evaluate the technical depth of the talent, and meet up with the computer science deans of universities to get a better idea of capabilities of fresh graduates over the next 12 months.
“We do a trial run of six weeks, with someone from our core team travelling to that city – and usually, at this stage, we have a pretty good idea about that city,” he added.
TribeHired – with its tagline ‘where employers compete for you’ – kicked off its business in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in 2012 after it had participated in an accelerator programme operated by JFDI.Asia, and has since expanded to Bangkok and Jakarta.
It got its start with a government grant from Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, a non-profit under Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance, with a pre-seed amount that has not been disclosed.
In March 2013, it closed a seed round worth about S$696,000 (US$557,070 at the time) led by TNF Ventures through the Technology Incubation Scheme, which comes under Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF).
It also “raised a small round earlier this year,” said Devan, declining to disclose the amount.
“Our team has just really been focused on earning revenue each month, and to use that to fund our growth,” he said, adding that the company has been operating in the black for the past six to eight months and now has a headcount of 20 across its four cities.
The Thai push
TribeHired operates a marketplace for tech talents, and it sees this as having tremendous synergy with Hubba Hired, which operates on what it calls a TaaS (Talent Acquisition-as-a-Service) or Recruiter-as-a-Service model.
“At TribeHired, we flip the model in recruitment. Every week, we select the top 50 developers in each city looking for a new job opportunity,” said Devan.
“We then share it on a marketplace where employers can watch their videos and compete to hire them.
“We’ve seen many talents get hired within one week, and that’s our first goal – to make hiring more efficient than the options people have right now.
“It’s completely free to view the talents we have every week, and also to interview them. Once an employer makes an offer, and the talent accepts the offer, our platform invoices the company,” he added, when asked about its revenue-generating model.
For its part, Hubba Hired came off a three-month Hubba accelerator programme, and today is hiring “for several dozen tech companies” such as LINE, the Ascend Group and Grab, with over 700 open positions in progress, according to the company.
“We know from our own experience that hiring is the single biggest challenge for any startup, especially in emerging markets,” Hubba Hired head of recruitment John Thornton said in an official statement.
Hubba itself secured about US$350,000 in seed funding in October 2015, in a round led by Silicon Valley’s 500 Startups, with participation from its South-East Asian-focused fund 500 Tuk Tuk, as well as Ardent Capital and Golden Gate Ventures, according to CrunchBase.
According to Devan, the acquisition – involving cash and equity terms – would see the entire four-man Hubba Hired team combined with the three TribeHired staffers in Bangkok to create TribeHired Thailand, with Thornton as country manager.
“Their current product will be integrated into our platform,” he told DNA.
“Hubba Hired was already profitable as a standalone business, and with the Hubba network, has grown quite fast without us.
“So it’s not just the team, although that’s really important. But it is also the fact it has the network, is profitable, and has an important product that improves our platform.
“On the flipside, HubbaHired saw our growth as a great way to speed up regionally by merging – we’ve been tracking them for a while actually, so I’m excited to see the next chapter,” he added.
Moving forward, what would the relationship be between Hubba and TribeHired Thailand? Will it be completely independent of Hubba and run as a business unit of TribeHired?
“Yes, the merged TribeHired Thailand is a business unit of TribeHired, and is independent of Hubba,” said Devan.
“Although we’ll be very close partners [with Hubba], as the acquisition involves cash and equity terms,” he added.
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