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Disrupting Cloud-Based Recruiting: SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck (Part 7)

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 5th 2014

Sramana: It sounds like your recruiting marketplace is a key differentiator for you.

Jerome Ternynck: The store is becoming a very interesting community. We have reviews, sharing of reviews, and cross-customer analytics. For example, if you want to find a designer in San Francisco, we can easily tell you where the best places to advertise for designers are based on other customer experiences. We can tell them what impact they can expect from a projected spend.

Sramana: You said you raised a $5.5 million Series A. Have you raised additional funds?

Jerome Ternynck: Yes. In the summer of 2013, we raised a $10 million Series B round led by Rembrandt Venture Partners. This was a preemptive round. I really wanted to get significant traction for the store and our first professional customers before I hit a Series B, but Rembrandt was very convincing so we accepted their term sheet. We are now starting to spend our B round funding on a sales and marketing team.

Sramana: When you were working in the mode where the bulk of the monetization was on the free application with commission revenue from services, and you were talking to investors, did you already have the corporate plan in place?

Jerome Ternynck: We did have the corporate plan on our roadmap. We have not changed our original vision. I think my time in the space helped me understand what the recipe should be. We have made small adjustments, but the strategy remains the same.

Sramana: Is all your team based in San Francisco?

Jerome Ternynck: Our engineering team is in Poland. Sales and marketing team is in San Francisco. We have 70 people in the company. We have 30 in San Francisco. We have recently hired our sales and marketing team to go after the professional market. I started by hiring a COO, Brett Queener, in February who is someone who can help me scale the company. He joined us from Salesforce and was there to scale the company. He ran Product for a few years as well. He is the father of Chatter for collaboration. He was the EVP/GM of the acquisition as well as the EVP/GM of the marketing cloud. He was also one of my early investors. He has observed the organization and been a friend and mentor for some time. We think we can do recruiting with Salesforce as the CRM. This market needs a change and we think we can be the disruptor in the market.

Sramana: When you look at the venture start up world what do you see as the other start ups in this space? Are there others?

Jerome Ternynck: I hear a lot of edge apps. There are people focusing on point solutions. There are video platforms, social response platforms, assessments platforms for various communities. I don’t see those becoming multi-billion dollar plays, but I do think they are very viable businesses that I think will be acquired someday by the traditional applicant tracking systems.

I have seen a few upcoming applicant tracking systems but I don’t think they have the vision that we have. On the candidate side, I really like GlassDoor. They are a good partner of ours. Nobody else, to my knowledge, has had the bold vision to fix recruiting. When you think of recruiting as a market, you will find that it has businesses, people, and suppliers who transact with each other. I don’t want to be a new player in the market, I want to build the platform that is open to all suppliers.

Sramana: Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. It sounds like you are building a great company and I look forward to following your journey.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Disrupting Cloud-Based Recruiting: SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck
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