Amine Skalli recruited teams for 10 years, including four as a tech professional recruiter. In his last startup, he relied exclusively on outbound recruiting — in other words, proactively searching for and contacting potential candidates for open positions. But after trying a variety of applicant tracking systems (ATS), he found that they tended to lack key features like automation, workflows, filters and metrics.
“We ended up switching to HubSpot. It was better but still not good enough — the tool didn’t fit 100% of our HR needs,” Skalli told TechCrunch. “So I decided to create the HubSpot for recruiting.”
This “HubSpot for recruiting” idea blossomed into Crew, a Y Combinator-backed startup that’s raised $2.45 million in financing to date. Joined by Ruben Gueunoun, Skalli — who once built an e-commerce unit at a bicycle company — sought to build an ATS that gave recruiters a way to seek talent together as a team, at scale.
France-based Crew launched in 2020 out of the Belgium-headquartered startup studio eFounders before joining Y Combinator’s accelerator program. Rebel, Secret and Kima are among the seed-stage funds that contributed to the company’s initial tranche.
“Hiring is now a team effort and is no longer the sole responsibility of the recruiter. Companies require a collaborative and user-friendly tool to ensure its adoption by all stakeholders, including hiring managers, team members, advisors and investors,” Skalli said. “Crew is the first ATS built like a customer relationship management (CRM) system to address the growing needs of the recruiting industry.”
Crew combines an outreach automation tool and database with automations, “smart” reminders and workflows. A Chrome extension allows recruiters to add talent directly from LinkedIn to a digital rolodex, while a webpage builder lets them host a company career page with custom logos, application forms and more. On the backend, Crew provides a tool for creating hiring pipelines, scorecards, interview notes, advanced filtering and bulk actions, plus a dashboard for collecting and monitoring metrics such as outreach success.
For the past 18 months, Crew has been in closed beta with 100 paying customers, Skalli says — a respectable number for a company that was founded just two years ago. (Skalli declined to share annual recurring revenue.) Outside funding is being put toward growth and go-to-market expansion as well as hiring; Crew plans to double the size of its eight-person team by the end of the year.
Despite competition from platforms like Lever, Greenhouse and Workable, Skalli sees Crew performing well as layoffs in the tech market highlight the benefits of its applicant-tracking technology.
“The increased pool of applicants means employers that are still hiring face a higher volume of resumes to review if they post a job opening,” Skalli said. “A CRM helps a lot to screen these resumes quickly. And on the outbound side, to ensure that you get the best talent in this talent pool, it’s important to be the first to reach out before other companies do. For example, when Google, Meta or Affirm suffered layoffs, these teams are known to be among the best. It’s then necessary to act quickly — a CRM helps a lot with that too.”
Skalli says that in the coming months, Crew will focus on deepening its LinkedIn integration, improving its automation engine, enhancing its metrics and analytics features, and rolling out connectors for productivity platforms such as Zapier, DocuSign, Notion and Gusto. The company also plans to investigate ways to integrate ChatGPT-like technology to help recruiters personalize outreach emails, write job descriptions and transcribe interview calls, among other tasks.