Eightfold AI: What’s Next?

Yesterday, Eightfold AI announced a $220M Series E funding doubling its valuation to over $2B. This Series E funding round is led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and includes investors from previous rounds, including General Catalyst, Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Total funding raised to date by Eightfold AI is more than $410M, with more than $350M coming in the last several months.

A provider that most people didn’t know existed a few years ago is now the one we can’t stop talking about in the market. All eyes are on Eightfold to see where it is going and who it will compete with next year.

Eightfold is a talent intelligence platform that offers a comprehensive suite of talent acquisition, talent management, and talent analytics solutions. As companies look at skilling and upskilling their workforce, Eightfold provides deep insights across all talent includes employees, contingent workers, and candidates. It has expanded from an AI matching solution to an end-to-end talent platform in a short period. As a result, any conversation around HR technology today involves Eightfold in some way.

I have a few early thoughts on the recent announcement and Eightfold’s growing presence:

What does this mean for the market?

A New Look at Integrated Talent Management: Integrated Talent Management or ITM makes me cringe a little. As an analyst, I spent nearly a decade covering ITM and the benefits it brings to companies. While the idea makes sense, the reality is that most providers could not make this happen. Most providers fell short with numerous acquisitions (that were never integrated) and attempt to offer recruitment, performance management, succession planning, compensation, and learning. Eightfold’s approach is different. It is looking at using an AI-driven platform to help companies recruit, engage, and retain talent in a way that solves for what they need rather than check a box. In addition, having one provider for both pre-hire and post-hire solutions will look different under Eightfold.

TA Tech is Growing: It is a good time to be in TA Technology. This sentiment is the theme of this year. We found that 1 in 4 companies are increasing their investment in technology, and 34% of enterprise companies are using some AI matching capabilities. As companies increase their investment in technology, they will build out tech stacks that can improve efficiency, reduce bias, and enable better decision-making. And, they want to invest in one provider to do most of the work, which makes Eightfold an appealing option.

Talent Intelligence Is a Growing Category: Eightfold is helping to bring awareness to a newer area of HR technology- talent intelligence platforms. This latest round will create more visibility around what these solutions can do and how companies use them today. Eightfold’s position here will also help many of its competitors gain traction in the market.

What this means for the future of Eightfold?

Expanding Partnerships: This latest round of investment will help fuel research and development as well as partnerships with third-party providers. The ecosystem is complex, and many ATS providers have built out marketplaces to support clients. Eightfold is likely to move in a similar direction.

Moving into Contingent Workforce: One of Eightfold’s differentiators supports all talent, including contingent workers. As 1 in 2 companies look to replace their VMS and explore better options, doubling down on contingent workforce capabilities may prove to be a smart decision for Eightfold.

Replacing the ATS: I don’t think most companies aspire to be ATS providers, but with the valuation and investment, Eightfold will likely move in this direction to become the end-to-end recruitment platform and compete (and replace) many ATS providers. I don’t see this happening this year, but I think the ATS providers know this is possible in 2022. Eightfold already appears in many of the competitive CRM deals today.

It is unclear what Eightfold’s plans are for this latest round, but we can expect more research and development and possibly an acquisition or two. A $2B valuation puts tremendous pressure on this provider to acquire new customers and fulfill its product roadmap. Time will tell. I will post an update on any new developments in the next few weeks.