Kalibrr, the first Philippine startup accelerated by Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator, has secured an additional PhP 83 million from global investors.
Kalibrr, formerly a skills assessment and training platform, has raised PhP 83 million (US$ 1.9 million) investment from global investors that include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, Siemer Ventures, Learn Capital and Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures.
The latest investment marks Philippine incubator Kickstart’s second round of funding into Kalibrr, which has now moved into a full-service talent management platform.
“Kalibrr’s singular focus on unleashing the potential of the youth and job-seeking population in the Philippines by providing access to high-quality jobs is an effective way to transform and empower individuals and entire communities,” said Mallika Singh, Director, Investments, Omidyar. The network’s share in this round of funding is not disclosed, however.
Minette Navarrete, President, Kickstart Ventures, pointed out Kalibrr’s value in the incubator’s portfolio. “We think it’s a good recognition of what they have accomplished in their first year. It is a commitment to see them grow in the coming years,” added Navarrete.
Now a talent management platform
Kalibrr was originally founded as a skills assessment and training platform that aimed to improve the capabilities of aspiring employees at business process outsourcing (BPO) firms.
The Manila-based firm has since used the data it has gathered from the platform in pivoting into a full-service talent management platform meant to help businesses better utilise their human resources. Paul Rivera, Co-Founder and CEO, Kalibrr, says the platform will revolutionise how jobseekers and employers connect.
“We built our training and recruitment business to better understand the challenges jobseekers face when applying for jobs and the sometimes insurmountable issues recruiters/companies face when trying to discover, screen and recruit this talent,” adds Rivera.
Kalibrr is now focusing on offering its talent management platform that will “help companies streamline the way they discover, screen and recruit talent.”
With cloud-based software and using advanced machine-learning algorithms and online assessments, Kalibrr matches jobseekers with their job openings based on skills and other factors. It also makes easier for companies and recruiters to find candidates with the proper skills needed for the job.
“We want to make the résumé obsolete. The way we do that is we don’t showcase what’s on our résumé, [but] we showcase the skills that they are capable of,” says Rivera.
The co-founder also highlighted the gaps brought about by a purely skills-based matching of potential employees with job openings. “An assessment should be used not only to measure a candidate’s proficiency in skills that are important for a job, but also be used to profile candidates so they are matched to jobs that they can succeed in,” he says.
Rivera stressed that other factors also come into play. He adds,
“Imagine how many people get hired in the Philippines every month and end up leaving their jobs after a couple months because they didn’t like the work or it wasn’t what they expected it to be. The Kalibrr assessment will allow companies to learn these insights about their candidates so they can make the best hiring decisions for their companies.”
A talent management platform would therefore address this gap. “We believe that the assessment shouldn’t be something that stands on its own,” Rivera tells e27. “It needs to be connected to the job application and the candidate management system and we’ve developed the first end-to-end talent management platform that will help not only BPO companies but companies all over the world revolutionise how they recruit.”
A growing BPO industry
Kalibrr’s initial target clientele are BPO companies, which is appropriate in this time of growth — the industry is set to grow to almost one million seats by end 2013, but is also facing a shortage in skilled workers.
Dexter Ligot-Gordon, co-founder and COO, says that the startup already has a considerable network of clients and training providers, which will benefit both job-seekers and employers.
“It would make it easier for BPO’s clients company’s software to find applicants with the right skills for the job. Plus, if the applicant does not have the skill required in the job market, he can be referred to training providers that can hone his skills,” says Rivera.
“Say if 20 apply, two are hired and five are almost there, they can benefit from training. Through Kalibrr, they can be referred to a training provider. We’re starting to manage talent development through our website,” says Ligot-Gordon.
“We’re trying to build an entire ecosystem that connects the jobseeker to the employers and even connect the jobseeker to training intervention, if that’s what they need to qualify for the job,” adds Rivera.
Rivera also highlighted the challenges the company is currently facing while focusing on clients in the BPO industry. He says, “We want to expand after BPOs, but the challenges of BPOs are so large and numerous that we want to focus first on the industry.”
Among Kalibrr’s accomplishment is its being the first and sole Filipino startup to have been accepted to famed Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator in the latter’s Winter 2012 batch, where co-founders were required to stay in Silicon Valley for the 14-week duration of the program.
Rivera tells e27 that this provided the team with access to mentorship and best practices. He says, “They have a wealth of experience mentoring and helping startups –in Y-Combinator’s case they have incubated over 500 startups in the last few years.”
Additionally, being part of the program gave startups access to a network of potential investors. “Y-Combinator often acts as a feeder into many VCs so you are introduced to many of the top investors in the Valley that you otherwise would have to access on your own if it wasn’t for Y-Combinator.”
With Kalibrr getting a fresh round of funding from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network, Siemer Ventures, Learn Capital and Globe Telecom’s Kickstart Ventures, both Rivera and Ligot-Gordon are confident in the company’s ability to transform and grow the hiring industries in the Philippines, as well as to empower individuals and communities involved.
With contributions from J. Angelo Racoma