Unemployment is worryingly rampant in the US right now — which makes the ongoing “hiring crunch” in Silicon Valley even more absurd. It’s fair to say that nearly every single company that TechCrunch covers is hiring. But they’re not looking for just anyone. They’re looking for programmers. And good programmers are really hard to find.
A startup called Gild says it can help, and it’s raised $2 million in new seed funding from Globespan Capital Partners and Sequoia Capital’s Mark Kvamme to do so. Gild, which currently has 20 full-time employees at its headquarters in San Francisco, says it will use the funds to grow its team and build out its technology.
So, what exactly is that technology? Gild’s chief product is called “Gild Source,” a program that sifts through and analyzes open source code repositories to identify programmers that specialize in different languages. Gild Source associates these developers with other public personally identifying data — such as LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and participation on sites such as Quora and Stack Overflow — and gives each one a score according to their abilities, productivity, and the feedback they receive on their works. Gild then provides its findings in a database to tech companies looking to hire developers for a monthly subscription rate starting at $700 per month. Today, Gild clients include Facebook, Box, Red Hat, and Akamai.
“Everyone has been very focused on simply bringing more profiles and resumes to recruiters, but we think that is the problem, not the solution. If you talk to any developer that’s on LinkedIn, what they’ll tell you is that they sometimes get 10 to 12 messages a day from people trying to hire them,” Gild CEO Sheeroy Desai told me in an interview this week.
This is obviously not effective, he said, though, he stressed that Gild aims to be complementary to existing tools such as LinkedIn and recruiting firms — not competitive with them. “We want to have recruiters recruit again. Today, they’re just spamming,” he said. “We want to give them the right information, the right people, so that they can use their time to actually recruit them.”
Another aim of Gild’s is to fundamentally change the way that potential tech employees are evaluated. “One of the things we don’t give a weighting to is where you went to school or what company you’re working at,” Desai said. “We really are trying to drive meritocracy in the recruiting process. One of the reasons companies claim that they can’t find talent is because they are hanging on to some of those criteria, which we believe has very low correlation to how good someone is.”
This is not Gild’s debut on the startup scene, but this is a new direction for the company. Desai first launched Gild nearly two years ago at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. At that time, Gild was positioned as a “gamified job platform” for developers. The company went on to raise some $2.4 million in seed funding from backers including Globespan, but late last year it decided to change direction.
“Towards the end of last year, we realized there is a remarkable amount of publicly available information available about developers on the Internet,” Desai said. Indeed, if Gild Source can actually put that data to smart use, it could definitely have made something worth its weight in gold (see what I did there?)