Kate Glazebrook.

Investment Notes: Applied

Date Published:
October 16, 2018

We have led the seed round for hiring platform company, Applied.

I’m thrilled to share that Blackbird has led the seed round for Applied — a hiring platform dedicated to finding the best person for every job.

Blackbird recently hired two portfolio intelligence analysts (PIAs) — Tip Piumsomboon and Mason Yates.

We used the Applied platform for the hiring process and it’s fair to say that the experience was so good that we’ll never go back to the old way of doing things.

As with most hiring processes, applicants for the PIA role were asked to answer a set of questions.

The core workflow of Applied is that each application is anonymised, randomised and independently reviewed in batches by at least three different team members.

As an example, you can see how Niki, Sam, and Rick rated Mason’s response to the first question below:

With at least 3 partners assessing 5 different questions from 70+ applicants, we generated a stack-ranked list of the best candidates. We interviewed the top 3 candidates and were so impressed that we hired 2 of them.

What we love about the Applied product is that it provides analytics on the entire process, including things like…

A text analytics tool to assess your description:

The candidates’ rating of the experience:

The diversity of applicants by referral source:

The distribution of reviewer ratings for each question:

It’s that end to end thoughtfulness in the product that makes us excited for the impact Applied can have on the hiring process.

A Clinical Trial on Hiring

Applied’s platform has a fascinating origin story. After graduating from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government with a Masters in Public Policy, Applied’s CEO, Kate Glazebrook, was one of the founding members of the UK’s famed ‘nudge unit’.

The nudge unit, or as it is formally known, the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), was based on the Nobel prize-winning work of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Thaler and Sunstein’s famous book on the subject posited that you could nudge people to make better decisions by altering their environment such that automatic cognitive processes are triggered to favour a desired outcome.

Governments around the world took notice and started using the nudge unit to do things like reducing medical prescription errors, using a lottery to increase electoral participation rates, and encouraging people to join the organ donor register.

As Kate was furiously hiring to grow the BIT team, she realised the process was broken and decided to design a better one. Of course, given her background, she ran a randomised clinical trial to prove that the hiring process she designed was better than the alternatives.

That better process became Applied.

The Early Signs

Applied are currently at the beginning of their journey. Their passionate early customers include Hilton Hotels, L.E.K. Consulting and Penguin Random House... and of course, Blackbird Ventures.

With Applied we have found a product we love, solving a problem we obsess over, founded by a brilliant and ambitious founder who has made a promising start to building what we hope will be a wonderful business.

Blackbird is joined in the round by an incredibly array of co-investors including Kim Jackson at Skip Capital, Amanda Miller at Impact Generation Partners, Adam Milgrom at Giant Leap, and Carol Schwartz at Trawalla.

If any of you are hiring and would like to trial Applied, please reach out to the Applied team for a demo.