SmartRecruiters: The Next TA Tech Unicorn

In 2008, Jerome Ternynck announced the launch of a new ATS, SmartRecruiters. He shared his vision for the next era of talent acquisition technology and best-of-breed ATS providers. And, people were interested (including me). Jerome's last company, Mr. Ted, was a leading ATS acquired by Stepstone, and Jerome was a well-loved expert with a strong reputation in TA tech.
SmartRecruiters: The Next TA Tech Unicorn

In 2008, Jerome Ternynck announced the launch of a new ATS, SmartRecruiters. He shared his vision for the next era of talent acquisition technology and best-of-breed ATS providers. And, people were interested (including me). Jerome’s last company, Mr. Ted, was a leading ATS acquired by Stepstone, and Jerome was a well-loved expert with a strong reputation in TA tech.

Thirteen years later, Jerome has remained committed to this vision. SmartRecruiters pivoted from an SMB provider to a global enterprise provider (no small task- ask any of its competitors) with over 4,000 customers and 33 languages. And, yesterday, SmartRecruiters announced $110M in Series E with a $1.5B valuation.

What a journey.

We profiled SmartRecruiters in our latest Talent Acquisition Index report and included this analysis:

SmartRecruiters is a product company with strong services and deep domain expertise across all areas of talent acquisition. It has remained steadfast in its vision and commitment to improve talent acquisition and define hiring success for companies even during times of uncertainty and change. It has experienced significant growth over the past year with over 200 new customers, 100 new employees, and 150      new product features launched. SmartRecruiters is a provider that competes comfortably in the enterprise and global enterprise markets today. APAC is becoming a growing market for SmartRecruiters.

Several differentiators for SmartRecruiters includes candidate communication, AI matching, and advertising. Its SmartMessage solution includes WhatsApp integration and a unified inbox, while SmartPal (through the Jobpal acquisition) includes conversational AI and integration with WhatsApp and WeChat. SmartRecruiters offers programmatic advertising through SmartJobs to help streamline advertising and reduce costs. It has gone deeper in internal mobility this year to include a better employee experience and redeployment capabilities.

SmartRecruiters is one of the few best-of-breed providers to hire a Chief Diversity Officer this year. It has made diversity a commitment in its leadership team, product capabilities and roadmap, and services. Its Diversity Hiring Toolkit includes a diversity and inclusion maturity model, success pillars, and diversity hiring assessment. SmartRecruiters is focused on customer partnership. It has responded and met 1800 user requests this year. It follows what its customers want and focuses on developing solutions for a more modern talent acquisition function. It is a company that is not afraid to take risks, but it still maintains a strong commitment to customer success and product development.

SmartRecruiters is an impressive company by any measure. Here are a few thoughts on this recent announcement.

  • Product: SmartRecruiters has been expanding its product suite over the past two years, including programmatic capabilities, conversational AI (through Jobpal acquisition), and matching. One area that SmartRecruiters is lacking is onboarding. This recent round will likely focus on filling some gaps that may include onboarding and sourcing. I expect we will see an acquisition or two as well.
  • Internal Mobility: SmartRecruiters has invested in internal mobility through product capabilities, research/content, and industry recognition through its awards. My guess is that SmartRecruiters will continue to strengthen its internal mobility capabilities focusing on employee experience.
  • Partnerships: This announcement presents new opportunities for partnerships and SmartRecruiters’ marketplace. I think we can expect to see more partnerships, integration, and a new approach to its ecosystem of providers.

Congrats to SmartRecruiters and Jerome. More to come as the investment in all things TA tech continues.

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency.

Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).

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