091026 RiseSmart

Topics: HRExaminer, John Sumser, Reviews, by John Sumser


Last week, a small Silicon Valley company proved that there is still vigor left in the HR Marketplace. RiseSmart, a provider of job concierge services, nailed down $4.6 Million in additional funding. That brings their total investment to $8.85Million.

One of the less well understood dynamics of venture financing involves the way that successive rounds of investment unfold. If your original investors don’t continue their investments as you grow, it is always understood as a vote against you. Few entrepreneurs moving through the process the first time grasp the fact that their initial investors become partners for life. RiseSmart CEO Sanjay Sathe understands the principle. Northwest Venture Partners made this a second round of financing and contributed 40% 0f the new funds.

You’re probably scratching your head. Job Concierge Services?

The premise is simple. It’s reasonably inexpensive to outsource the job hunt. RiseSmart offers its clients the ability to have a team of humans navigate the job hunt process for you. Send them a resume and they keep you in a flow of job postings. The service can be configured to have RiseSmart go all the way through the job application process for you.

Job Concierge Services means that they do the scut work for you. Who wouldn’t want that? Sign up with them and wait for the phone calls to roll in. At the low end of the service, you sign up and wait for a perfectly tailored flow of job opportunities to tumble into your email box.

They’ve been exploring the market for a number of years (with surprising success). Over the past 18 months, they have moved their focus onto the outplacement industry. Rather than ‘transition assistance’, RiseSmart provides job openings.

The company is trying on some very interesting positioning. I particularly enjoyed the “How It Works” presentation that compares RiseSmart with Traditional Outplacement. In this approach to outplacement, everything is focused on the single goal of getting a job.

“The solution dispenses with “soft services” like grief counseling and office space to focus on the services that displaced workers need most: help with marketing themselves through a rewrite of their resumes and cover letters; guidance from a transition specialist, including assistance in using online social networks; and — most importantly — actionable job leads from across the Web based on their specific criteria, for a period of up to six months.”

From the press release.

You might be saying, “How is this different from the Ladders?”

The Ladders does indeed provides its clients with a tailored flow of job opportunities. They’re focused on the consumer market and are doing amazing things. The RiseSmart approach is similar but includes human intervention and tweaking in the consumer process.

There’s a real difference in the B2B (or Outsourcing) end of the operation. Transition Concierge, their outplacement product offering, combines resume writing, job hunt coaching, a flow of opportunities, and social networking advice. Their focused goal is to move the x-employee into the new job as quickly and effectively as possible.

They do it for about 50% of the price of other outplacement services.

That is going to have a profoundly disruptive influence on the business models and process flows of the rest of the Outplacement Industry. Sharp price differentiation, a results orientation and technology backbone make RiseSmart a company to watch closely over the next couple of years. This is how disintermediation works.

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