Plum raises $4.2 million USD, shifts focus beyond recruitment

Plum, the Waterloo-based startup that uses AI to help organizations hire and retain talent, has raised a $4.2 million ($5.57 million CAD) seed round.

This raise comes as Plum has shifted focus within the last year from talent acquisition to now offering tools to help companies understand and make predictions about their entire workforce. Plum is also focused on offering those services exclusively for large enterprise customers, rather small-and-medium-businesses (SMBs).

“What’s unique about Plum is that this funding is allowing us to truly become a talent management, full lifecycle of the employee, [platform].”

“What’s unique about Plum is that this funding is allowing us to truly become a talent management, full lifecycle of the employee, [platform] using our highly predictive data,” Caitlin MacGregor, Plum co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit. “[We can] now use that data across the entire organization for every talent decision. And this money is helping us scale beyond just the recruitment, and really, fully automate use cases that we’ve been piloting with SAP for the last year.”

The round was led by Real Ventures with participation from BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Fund, and SAP’s venture fund SAP.iO. The seed funding brings Plum’s total funding to date to $6.1 million USD ($8 million CAD), with the previous financing coming from Plum’s angel investor round.

Plum works closely with SAP and integrates with SAP SuccessFactors, the company’s cloud-based human resource management system. MacGregor explained that the shift in focus was directly related to that partnership, and becoming a SAP.io portfolio company. She noted that SAP encouraged Plum to use its predictive AI to help address the needs of current, as well as incoming, employees.

“Most assessments, typically when used inside the company, are [for] directors and above or the bottom 20 percent, high volume entry-level roles,” MacGregor said. “That means the middle 70 percent of the organization has been almost completely untouched by psychometric data. What we’re seeing with the changing nature of work is that middle … that predictive data allows for internal mobility and professional development, and identifying emerging leaders.”

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Plum was founded as a software-as-a-service company in 2012, providing companies with the data needed to quantify the potential of incoming employees. Since then the company’s services have expanded to include hiring, talent mobility, learning and development, and identifying emerging leaders.

Plum’s technology automates the expertise of I/O (industrial/organizational) psychology, helping companies understand the best practices to “unlock the potential of every applicant and employee” in their organization.

“Over the next decade, people will need to be assigned and trained for new jobs on a scale that has never been seen,” said Janet Bannister, partner at Real Ventures, who will be joining Plum’s board of directors.

“McKinsey claims that 400 to 800 million jobs will disappear due to automation in the next 15 years. At the same time, 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not exist today,” Bannister added. “Plum is the only provider of scientifically-validated, predictive data that can scale to get every person in the right job for the future of work, which is why we believe that Plum is posed to not only be a huge company, but also make a significant, positive impact on millions of lives.”

Currently sitting at 21 employees Plum plans to use the funding to double the size of the company. MacGregor noted that as a startup looking to serve enterprise customers, Plum has been “punching above our weight” and plans to grow its team in order to be able to continue handling its large customers.

Image courtesy CNW Group/Plum

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.