Recruiting used to be a very human-centered and intensive task, reviewing thousands of candidate’s resumes for each option position. This time consuming task has been replaced by the focused artificial intelligence platform bowmo. The company’s evolutionary SaaS platform analyzes resumes and gives you actionable and sorted information that organizes your recruiting efforts beyond an online resume.
AlleyWatch chatted with founders Eddie Aizman and Vlad Mamut about the company and its first round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Vlad M: Eddie and I were the initial investors in the company. We sacrificed, modified our lifestyles and put some investment where our mouths are to start development. We became more notable and operational in 2016 when the Kupferman family invested a (currently undisclosed) amount which funded our growth to a team of over 30 “bowmo – ites” as we like to be called. The Kupfermans are a notable group of investors with over 30 years of experience; they have had significant success with with applicant tracking software like PeopleClick (now PeopleFluent) that presented well north of $100 million dollars and MedClick.
Both provide software which services the Human Capital discipline and HR technology space.
Tell us about your product or service.
Vlad M: Our first product serves the needs of the staffing and recruiting industry. It is artificial intelligence that is streamlined and efficient. It has a great deal of data science leveraged on the backend while enabling the recruiter to have quicker searches, find and connect to the best matched candidates. Because the candidates have been “bowmoed”, the recruiter can do what they do best having made connection to the right people in the right amount of time.
What inspired you to start the company?
Eddie A: Vlad and I had already known each other for quite a while when I was at SANS, a large recruitment firm in the New York City. It was the best thing we could do after me being the Recruiter for over 19 years and him, my Technology client.
We had built a healthy relationship over the years, respect each other, dedicated ourselves to best in class delivery in our professions and both have knowledge of how difficult a time recruiters and hiring managers both have finding the right candidate. The process is tedious and it can cause you to miss out on the best candidates. We both have a special affinity for the tech space and the type of talent there given my talent sourcing in the category and Vlad’s technology expertise.
The candidates are there with more presenting themselves every day, but the sea of resumes and data is vast and disorganized. That impacts the time to fill numbers, increases costs and fatigue for the agencies, recruiters, clients / hiring managers and the business units they run.
How is it different?
Vlad M: The bowmo software is steeped in data science. We use a search algorithm that is the basis and benchmark for powerful search engines like Google and it’s fast.
This software is being created not only by people who understand the significance of usability study but there is an empathy mp in the engineering because our Chief Technologist was once a recruiter himself.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Eddie: In North America alone we are looking at a $140 billion dollar recruiting market open for new efficiencies, speedy interface with existing systems and opportunities for add ons and partnerships. It’s definitely not small.
What’s your business model?
Vlad: We offer bowmo SaaS as a subscription based service. Corporate recruiters and recruiting agencies commit to a yearly contract and we invest our Technology and Product team to integrate and go along with them every step of the way.
Why use an app to address this problem?
Vlad: bowmo is mobile agnostic; so the software exists in multiple formats. The app available on iOS and Android devices because that is the way of working today. We are responsive to the way that people work. Agencies tend to have people working from a desk and so of course accessing the software that way is a no brainer, but the fact that we want to use this software to help break the chains of any recruiter glued to mounds of resumes at her or his desk was also a factor.
Eddie: The recruiters we know and that are in our business want to be able to execute quickly and have the mobility to meet with candidates, clients and business partners. A mobile application supports the shift in the ratio of too much time spent searching for resumes; especially knowing that many are already their system. Having an app solution as a feature of this software impacts quality of life and speed of candidate data reaching the recruiter in real time. The mobile app is an extension of putting what is necessary and relevant candidate info into the hands of the recruiter.
Android devices is another feature that correlates with the modern time and the way that people work. Recruiters are no different.
What was the funding process like?
The initial investment was not a great challenge because it began with us and then we were fortunate to gain not only a enthusiastic investor, but also in that person, a leader who has had success in software manufacturing and related sourcing practices. Overall, the funding process was organic, growing the team on the premise of growth as a family is how we approached building the company: so we made sure everyone close to us knew what we were building and why. We asked for insights and introductions because we believe a network of people working together is the best thing we could do with the type of people we had working on the prototype. We put in tremendous hours, invested some of our own capital and when we wanted to expand in early 2016 we started reaching out and talking with private investors and VC firms. We talked not just to people who we could engage for capital funds but to people who we could rely on to invest their expertise in HR and technology as well. We worked diligently and by August 2016 we were funded and resigned from our previous corporate roles to fold in to bowmo.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Eddie: I think it is just learning to move with the pace of the investor while moving at the rapid fire pace that new technology calls for while not looking to just have raising capital be the core focus. Our Business Development team bringing in new clients and sales revenue is a capital generation exercise. I keep my team focused and accountable there while Vlad is more deliberate about driving product innovation finding investors that are looking for us as much as we want to
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Vlad: bowmo is real necessity in the advancement of the human capital industry’s recruiting function. There is not a CHRO, Chief Procurement Officer, or even a CTO who does not want efficiency from the Big Data they store and have paid for. Once they know what the cost savings and impact on recruiter deliveries they are willing to pay for it when they see that it delivers such efficiency to their business.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Eddie: We are building business, selling in new clients and enhancing the offerings of bowmo. Market penetration of early adopters while developing our next generation of services as well as refining the algorithm and researching new territories is part of our focus. We are growing our employee base of data scientist and category experts so expanding office size is a definite.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Vlad: Believe in your idea, sleep less, think more and talk to investors with experience. Don’t be anxious and think every investor is for your company. Research and connect with the right ones. The chemistry has to be right so focus most on developing value add relationships, refining and bringing a stellar product to the market. Finally, I would say know the challenges of investors and be able to answer their concerns when they materialize.
Eddie: Stay excited about what you are building. Optimism drives results and keeps people interested. Put your skin in the game. Leverage your professional network and assets to help close the capital goals. Know that knowledge is also capital.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Vlad: Right now we continue to build and grow definitively on the technology side.
The functionality of bowmo’s SaaS is being upgraded and enhanced to move with the pace of AI. We are engaging industry partners and participating in ways that allow others in HRTech and Big Data management to know that bowmo, Inc. has arrived.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Eddie: I tend to go out for coffee with business partners and decision-makers during work hours and in driving the sales engine, more often than not and I let the client or partner choose where we meet up in New York City.