I met with Bryan Starbuck, CEO of TalentSpring, at Louisa's, my favorite coffee jaunt on Eastlake. As we were sitting down, I asked him what market he operated in. He told me recruiting. I smiled and kindly told him that Founder's Co-op would not be a good capital source for him. With unemployment going to 10+% in the near term, we definately didn't like the recruiting marketplace as a market to be investing. I told him it was nothing personal and nothing about his company and that I'd be glad to listen to his pitch and see how else I might be able to help him. Well, I'll be the first to admit it -- 30 minutes later, my initial assumptions about TalentSpring were very wrong.
After learning about what Bryan is doing, I think TalentSpring is a very interesting company with lots of potential. Simply put, he helps big and small companies deal with the generation and filtering of resumes to arrive at a pool of 100 resumes that a human should look at and sift through. TalentSpring uses very sophisticated algorithms and processes to filter through thousands of resumes so a human recruiter can start with the best qualified base of potential candidates. The company charges big companies an enterprise fee which is small enough ($500K+) when considering the value of getting high quality candidates into the right positions. Even in an economy with lots of unemployment, his business makes lots of sense.
Kudos to Bryan for ignoring my initial protestations and methodically taking me through his pitch. More Kudos to Bryan for making such an interesting company with such potential. I think Bryan may still have an issue with his cost of sale and perhaps with his valuation in this round....but he definately has the makings for a decent size business!