Dutch HR tech startup Equalture has raised €2.75M funding to help companies make unbiased, science-backed hiring decisions. With this funding, Equalture plans to further grow its international customer base. Also it expands its test library of game-based neuro-assessments, helping companies to evaluate their teams’ and candidates’ (soft) skills and behaviours in an unbiased, scientific way. The funding round was led by Dutch investment company of serial entrepreneur Pieter Schoen, Shoe Investments, joined by Dutch VC firm 4impact.
CVs aren’t predictive of hiring success
Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder of Equalture, says: ‘’In this era of rapid technological innovations that we are living, it is unacceptable that hiring decisions are still based upon subjective first impressions that we allow our own biases to create. In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first resume, and up to this day, 540 years later, we still rely on CVs when judging candidates. The most ironic and sad part of this story is that we all know that CVs aren’t predictive of hiring success and heavily increase biases, but still we all stick to this screening method. Just because old habits are difficult to break through.
Proven business case
Diverse teams are a proven business case. According to research conducted by BCG, diverse teams generate 19% more revenue. Equalture wants to help companies achieve this, by providing all candidates with an equal opportunity to get hired, beyond what’s written on their CV. The startup has built a library of scientifically-validated gamified assessments that allow companies to get to know the cognitive skills, cultural preferences and behaviours of both their candidates and their current team. Candidates are asked to complete these gamified assessments, which take around 15 minutes to complete, at the start of the hiring process, which ensures a first impression based on science instead of gut. Equalture firmly believes that this will be the key to shaping a world of unbiased hiring, in which (neuro)diverse teams are a standard, rather than an exception.
Equalture was launched in 2018 by co-founders and twin sisters Charlotte Melkert and Fleur Melkert, who have successfully run a recruitment agency before starting Equalture. The inspiration to start Equalture came from years of frustration the twin sisters experienced while running their agency: Candidates being wrongfully and unfairly judged by potential employers based on their resume and appearance, rather than their personality, passions and talents. Today, Equalture counts 31 team members that together represent 19 different nationalities, and consists of 52% women. A great recognition was the Dutch Diversity & Inclusion Award that the startup won in November 2022. In 2018 Equalture was one of the winners of the Recruitment Tech Startup Pitch from Dutch sister site Recruitmenttech.nl.
Pieter Schoen, owner of Shoe Investment and serial entrepreneur, can’t wait to start this adventure and reacts: “From the first moment I was charmed by the twins Charlotte and Fleur, and the CTO, Jaap. The enthusiasm and perseverance of the entrepreneurs radiates, and at Equalture I also see the most important investor-rule being confirmed: ‘Eerst de vrouw, dan het gebouw’, a Dutch statement which implies good management is the most important thing in order to build a successful startup. I admire how the girls managed to grow Equalture so quickly and professionally in times of COVID-19, and I am fully confident this is just the beginning.”
Pieter also indicates that he has lots of affinity with Equalture’s product: “In 1999 I had my own company in the HR-tech market. We developed a HR-software in the form of a game, and companies could rent a room in the game. Players who scored high in, for example Heineken’s room, were immediately invited for a job interview. I found many similarities with Equalture, and I am familiar with the product and the HR-sector. In addition, I see myself in the entrepreneurship of Charlotte and Fleur and that enthuses me enormously With such strong management, a top product and the affinity I have in the HR-business, I do not rule out the possibility that Equalture will become a unicorn in the HR-tech market.”
United Nations Sustainability Goals
Ali Najafbagy, Managing Partner at 4impact says: ‘’Our partnership with Equalture started with our first investment in February 2020. Since then, the company has achieved strong growth and we are proud of the impactful work that the team delivers on a daily basis. With our follow-up investment, we support Equalture’s unique tech solution and focus on United Nations Sustainable Goals nr 5 (Gender Equality) and nr 9 (Reduced inequalities).’’