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The Latest from the Talent Tech Industry

February 8-13, 2021: Eightfold.ai expands its Talent Intelligence Program with AI-powered Career Hub for individual career development; Stoke Talent launches an Accelerated Payment tool to help companies pay freelancers quicker; Paradox.ai introduces video products for more engaging candidate experience; UpKey raises $2.6 million to expand free online career readiness tools for students; New machine learning theory from U.S. Department of Energy raises questions about the nature of science; Analysts raise forecasts for US gross domestic product (GDP) growth from 4–4.5% to 5–5.5%; Circa launches AI Candidate Matching to help companies build more diverse teams; and WizeHire for small businesses concludes $7.5 million Series A round. Just another week in the home office!

Eightfold Transforms Upskilling and Reskilling with Career Hub

Eightfold AI, the provider of the Talent Intelligence Platform(tm), today announced the expansion of its industry-leading Talent Management solution. Central to this expansion is Career Hub, which pairs sophisticated AI-powered capabilities with a central destination for complete career development. A primary goal of every CHRO is to align business objectives with employee aspirations to unlock their full potential. As remote and hybrid work environments become the norm, HR business leaders require deep insight into the capabilities of their entire workforce. Current investments across different systems need to be transformed into a cohesive experience for employee upskilling and reskilling initiatives. Career Hub is designed to provide agility to both the CHRO and employees by facilitating prescriptive, unbiased talent development and deployment within a single platform. Accomplishing this at global scale requires the application of an artificial intelligence platform, multiple enterprise data sources, robust matching algorithms and a great employee user experience (UX).

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Stoke Talent Enables Companies to Increase Trust for Freelancers

Stoke Talent, a leading freelance management system, is releasing a new Accelerated Payment tool. This new capability enables companies to pay their freelancers, consultants, and contract workers within 24 hours in their preferred currency and payment method. The biggest issue freelancers experience when working with companies is how they are paid – whether that is getting paid late, or not being able to receive payment in their native currency, or preferred payment method. Due to the challenges with payment, many freelancers have moved online platforms to manage their working relationships, which can cost an individual more than 10% of their revenue. The difficulties of being paid have been a constant pain point, which has caused distrust from the freelancer perspective, but now Stoke Talent is solving that issue.

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Paradox Launches Video to Accelerate Hiring

Paradox, the leading conversational AI platform helping talent acquisition teams automate tasks like applicant screening, interview scheduling, and mobile-first candidate communications, announced the launch of new video products to streamline virtual recruiting and create more engaging multimedia experiences in the hiring process. Paradox’s new video features extend across the company’s core products, giving clients the flexibility to use video for a variety of use cases, without needing to buy an additional tool. Some of the ways Paradox’s clients are using video include:
• Sharing employer brand or employee-generated video directly in conversations
• Streamlining and simplifying the initial screening and interviewing process
• Hosting simple video interviews with a standalone solution — or integrated with Zoom, Teams, Skype, Webex, and more.

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Edtech startup Upkey raises $2.6 million

Upkey, a Chicago startup that offers students free online career readiness tools, today announced it has closed $2.6 million in seed funding and signed Purdue University, Southern New Hampshire University and The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian Life) as customers of its platform that helps transform students into confident professionals. S3 Ventures led the seed round funding, joined by Tensility Venture Partners, Bronze Valley, Lofty Ventures and other angel investors, including Steve Schaffer, the founder of Offers.com. The funds will be used to grow and scale Upkey’s operations to serve more students and give companies access to a bigger pipeline of diverse talent. As part of this expansion, Upkey plans to open a second office in Austin, Texas.

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New machine learning theory raises questions about nature of science

A novel computer algorithm, or set of rules, that accurately predicts the orbits of planets in the solar system could be adapted to better predict and control the behavior of the plasma that fuels fusion facilities designed to harvest on Earth the fusion energy that powers the sun and stars. The algorithm, devised by a scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), applies machine learning, the form of artificial intelligence (AI) that learns from experience, to develop the predictions. Qin (pronounced Chin) created a computer program into which he fed data from past observations of the orbits of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and the dwarf planet Ceres. This program, along with an additional program known as a ‘serving algorithm,’ then made accurate predictions of the orbits of other planets in the solar system without using Newton’s laws of motion and gravitation. “Essentially, I bypassed all the fundamental ingredients of physics. I go directly from data to data,” Qin said. “There is no law of physics in the middle.”

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Raising GDP and Stock Market Forecasts

The resilience of the US economy continues to exceed our expectations. With encouraging progress toward ending the pandemic, and massive fiscal stimulus in place—and more likely coming soon, our prior economic growth forecasts may prove overly conservative. In addition, we believe a strong fourth quarter earnings season supports an increase in our earnings forecasts for 2021 and, in turn, our fair value S&P 500 target. We are upgrading our 2021 forecasts for US gross domestic product (GDP) growth from 4–4.5% to 5–5.5%. When we first issued our GDP forecast for 2021 in Outlook 2021: Powering Forward back in December of 2020, we did not expect additional fiscal stimulus to pass until this year (it came in the form of a roughly $900 billion package passed on December 29), nor did we anticipate another $1 trillion or more to come this spring, which is now very likely given the Democrats have control of Congress. Our ETA for another package at this point is late March, with the Democrats pursuing reconciliation requiring just 51 votes in the Senate (including Vice President Kamala Harris and 50 Democratic Senators).

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Circa Announces AI Candidate Matching Product

Circa is launching AI Candidate Matching, to help companies accelerate their success toward building more diverse, innovative, and high-performing teams. The new product delivers a SaaS-based artificial intelligence solution guaranteeing unbiased sourcing and matching of diverse, qualified talent from a curated 160 million+ candidate database. When looking to reduce or mitigate unconscious bias, AI Candidate Matching redacts ethnic, gender, age, LGBTQIA+, veteran status, community, culture, and disability to present candidates based on their skill sets to be evaluated in fair, equal and consistent manners. This includes automatically reviewing job postings and optimizing them to make it as engageable as possible for a diverse community while removing biases within the description.

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WizeHire Closes $7.5M Series A Round

WizeHire, the most user-friendly, effective hiring solution for small businesses, today announced the closing of $7.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Amplo and Mercury. Additional investors include existing backers Ruchit Shah and RigUp co-founder Sandeep Jain. WizeHire intends to use the funds to provide small businesses a faster, easier hiring experience previously only available to large corporations. That includes creating more personalized resources to address clients’ unique hiring needs, hiring more support staff and expanding its partner program to build a network of experts in its key industries of real estate, insurance, mortgage, legal and hospitality. “We’re a small business helping small businesses with a team of people looking out for you,” said Sid Upadhyay, WizeHire’s co-founder and CEO. “Hiring is complex and personal. Our customers see what we do not just as software; they see us as a trusted advisor.”

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