HackerRank, a platform for recruiters to test coders and coders to hone skills, raises $60M at ~$500M valuation

The job market for coders remains very tight on both sides of the table: There remains a major skills and talent shortage when it comes to finding people for specialized, technical jobs; but on the other side, developers still have to jump through many hoops in hopes of connecting with the most selective jobs (and even then there is no guarantee of success).

Today, a platform called HackerRank that’s built to help both of those groups get over the line with their goals — it provides recruiters with tools to assess coding skills as part of an assessment and interview process; and developers to practice their coding and interview skills — is announcing $60 million in funding, underscoring market demand for its tools.

Susquehanna Growth Equity is leading the round, with JMI, Khosla Ventures and strategic backers Randstad Innovation Fund and Recruit Holdings also participating. It has now raised $115 million. The company is not disclosing its exact valuation but Vivek Ravisankar, the CEO who co-founded the company with Hari Karunanidhi, said in an interview that it was around $500 million.

The round, a Series D, comes on a strong period of growth for the startup. Tapping into a surge of remote hiring and employment that themselves were ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, HackerRank now counts 2,800 customers — including 25% of some of the biggest companies in the world (from the Fortune 100) — and 18 million developers.

HackerRank now is based in Mountain View, but the idea was first conceived by the pair when they were still living in India and saw a lot of the shortcomings of hiring processes when it came to sourcing people who were applying for jobs remotely and needed better assessments of their skills in those situations where they could not go through the standard, in-person hiring process (they first thought about this in 2009, very much before remote working became the norm).

“We saw that resumes had a very mixed correlation to skills, and that was what triggered this,” Ravisankar said. It eventually became the first startup out of India to join Y Combinator, and it was actually also a Battlefield contender in 2012. Its rise very much tapped into the growth of India as an important tech hub and source of technical talent. Even today, some 50% of the developers on the platform hail from India, with 30% in the Americas and the other 20% in EMEA.

When HackerRank was first founded, the idea of remote assessment was not directly connected to sourcing, hiring and eventually managing people remotely, but the last two years have made 100% remote into a much more common use case for the company. Ravisankar said that there are now significantly more contractors sourced over the platform, with the default being for people to work from home.

It’s also massively widened the pool of potential developers to tap, which makes scalable, cloud-based platforms like HackerRank’s more relevant, too.

“Companies are viewing the overall talent pool at a much wider radius than before,” he said. “With university recruiting, they used to visit 10-15 campuses. Now they can ‘visit’ 500 because all of the visiting is done online.”

There are a number of companies that have emerged in the last several years to capitalise on the growth of remote recruitment and working, including Turing, Oyster, Papaya Global, Remote and many more. What’s notable is that HackerRank has a strong ethos around training and education. But Ravisankar is clear to describe his startup as “a hardcore recruiting platform,” not an edtech play.

But it’s also doing so with the developer’s priorities in mind. This include improving their skills as much as finding a job. The company provides a lot of tools to developers to train but they by default do not share those results with others unless a developer wants them to.

Obviously, its business customers might prefer to see all of that data. “It’s a hard balance,” admits Ravisankar, “but the reason we have been able to build a developer community is because we hold on to that ethos. We are not selling your data, you share when you want to share, finding the balance between upping your developer game but also maintaining a [strong and honest] a sourcing channel.”

“The technical hiring market is at a pivotal moment as companies around the world struggle to scale recruitment efforts in one of the most competitive labor markets we have ever seen,” said Martin Angert, MD at Susquehanna Growth Equity, in a statement. “Paired with the explosive growth of remote work, HackerRank has solidified itself as the gold standard for skills-based hiring in the developer community.”