Hiring startup HigherMe is announcing that it has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. It’s also brought on some big names as customers, including Dunkin Donuts, Panera Bread — and most recently, fast food chain White Castle.
Co-founder and CEO Rob Hunter (a past owner of multiple Marble Slab Creamery locations) has said that when employers hire hourly workers, location, availability and personality are often more important than past experience — but those things aren’t really reflected in a traditional résumé.
So HigherMe launched as a way to help businesses find employees based on what they’re really looking for — the application leads with location and available hours, includes a video cover letter and allows employers to ask any questions they want.
Hunter said that over time, HigherMe has expanded to cover “sourcing, screening and hiring — the whole recruitment process.” For example, it now offers automated interview scheduling with text message notifications.
Hunter also noted that the hiring process is becoming increasingly smartphone-centric, because it’s important to reduce friction, particularly at the beginning of that process.
“It’s this counterintuitive thing,” he said. “You’d think the best applicants would be willing to put up with more friction, and in fact, it’s the exact opposite — the best applicants have lots of different opportunities.”
And while restaurants and retailers are the obvious HigherMe customers, Hunter pointed to school photography company Lifetouch as an example of how the product can be useful in other industries.
Investors in HigherMe’s seed funding include Y Combinator (where the company was incubated), Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, NatureBox founder Gautam Gupta, HootSuite founder Ryan Holmes, Tucker Max (!), TEEC Angel Fund and The Unofficial Syndicate.