Investing in HireBound: Making HR more human with the help of AI

HireBound is a conversational AI copilot that automates workflows for recruiters and develops proprietary resume intelligence.

Antler in India

July 3, 2024
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In the ever-evolving landscape of human resources, one pain point has remained stubbornly constant: the recruitment process. Despite technological advancements in virtually every sector, hiring still often relies on manual processes, cold calls, and endless email chains. Enter HireBound, a startup that's set to transform this landscape with its AI-powered recruitment solution.

Founded by Sharad Vij and Kumar Vikramaditya, HireBound is a conversational recruitment platform. Its AI persona ‘June’, is a 24x7 recruiter that automates and streamlines the hiring process.

But what sets HireBound apart in a market already saturated with HR tech solutions? Let's dive into their story and discover why Antler chose to back this promising venture.

How Experience And An Experiment Inspired The HireBound Idea  

Sharad's journey in HR tech began over a decade ago at Naukri, India's largest job portal. This experience laid the foundation for his obsession with solving recruitment challenges. After stints at Mettl (acquired by Mercer) and eight years at LinkedIn, Sharad's path crossed with Vikram's in late 2020. Vikram, then leading technology at YC-backed Zuma, was grappling with the challenges of hiring engineers in India during the post-COVID tech boom.

This meeting sparked a collaboration that would eventually lead to HireBound. Their initial project was a simple Google Sheets automation tool for recruiters helping them automate the candidate outreach. This side project was a huge success and generated about $150,000 in revenue in the first year alone. This further validated their hypothesis: there was immense value in automating recruitment processes.

Encouraged by this traction, Sharad and Vikram decided to take the plunge into full-time entrepreneurship. They spoke to 150+ recruiters across SMB, Mid Market, and Large Enterprises as part of their user research and started building HireBound in November’23. As they were preparing to launch in Jan’24, they learned about the Antler Residency. Recognizing the potential value of the program's support and mentorship, they applied and were accepted.

The Antler Factor In Helping HireBound Breakout  

The Antler Residency played a crucial role in shaping HireBound's journey. Sharad reflects on the experience: "We are a lot more focused now. I think we have a lot more clarity on what needs to be done, and how it needs to be done. And I think, we're a lot wiser when it comes to thinking about go-to-market, prioritization, and finding the market to build our wedge."

The Residency challenged the founders to refine their value proposition and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. It provided a platform for the team to stress-test their ideas, receive constructive criticism, and refine their vision.

Why We Believe HireBound Will Redefine The HR Workflow  

HireBound isn't just another tool in the recruiter's arsenal – it aspires to be the entire arsenal. The platform aims to be the default operating system powering conversations between recruiters and candidates. Their AI-driven platform handles everything from initial outreach to screening, scheduling, and even conducting preliminary interviews.

For candidates, it means a stellar experience with quick response times and on-demand interviews. For recruiters and hiring managers, it means a curated pool of pre-screened candidates with actionable insights, significantly reducing time-to-hire and cost-per-hire.

Our conviction to back HireBound was also driven by several other key factors:

  1. Sharad's decade of experience in HR tech, coupled with Vikram's expertise in conversational AI, creates a formidable founding team.
  2. The global recruitment automation market, valued at $57 billion and growing at a 10.2% CAGR, presents a massive addressable market. Moreover, the rise of gig and contractual work creates a need for more frequent, efficient hiring processes – exactly what HireBound provides.
  3. HireBound's all-in-one platform stands out in a market of fragmented solutions. By consolidating various recruitment tools into a single AI-driven platform, HireBound offers a unique value proposition.
  4. With multiple partners onboarded and applications processed from several thousand candidates, HireBound has shown promising early results.
Nitin, Partner at Antler in India, adds: "At Antler, we're always on the lookout for founders who are not just solving problems, but reimagining entire industries. Sharad and Vikram embody this spirit with HireBound. Their deep industry expertise, combined with their innovative approach to AI-driven recruitment, positions them uniquely in the market. What truly impressed us was their ability to identify a persistent pain point in recruitment and craft a solution that benefits both employers and job seekers. We're thrilled to support them as they work to revolutionize how the world hires."

How HireBound Plans To Scale And Disrupt

In just six months since its launch, HireBound has made significant strides. They've launched an MVP, onboarded hundreds of recruiters across multiple companies, and processed tens of thousands of applications. Their platform has recently crossed over 1,00,000 + candidate interactions powered using AI. 

Looking ahead, HireBound aims to become the default tech stack for every recruiter globally. Their roadmap includes expanding beyond initial hiring to become a comprehensive HCM platform, covering onboarding, engagement, payroll, and more.

As the world of work continues to evolve, HireBound stands at the forefront of recruitment innovation. With its AI-driven approach and vision for the future of hiring, HireBound is not just participating in the revolution of recruitment – it's leading it. Antler is excited to be part of this journey, supporting HireBound as they reshape the future of recruitment.

‍Globally, over 8,000 founders believe the Residency to be the best platform to launch a startup, whether it be stress-testing venture scalability, validating an idea faster, or completing the founding team. We are looking for solo founders and early teams committed to building game-changing venture scalable startups. 

Join Antler to validate your idea, build your team, and access capital to launch and scale your company. Applications are open for early teams throughout the year for rolling intake and for the cohort starting August 2024 for individuals. The last date to apply is 31 July 2024.

Antler in India

Antler invests in India's most extraordinary individuals from Day Zero to Greatness. Join Antler to validate your idea, build your team and access capital to launch and scale your company.

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