Startup jobs platform Otta landed $20 million seed round led by Tiger

If you live in London, you may have noticed that bright yellow billboard around town recently, calling on companies to be more transparent about pay.

Or if you have LinkedIn, you may have come across this viral message pointing out that only around 5% of job postings include salary information.

Both were released by UK startup Otta, a tech jobs platform that just raised $20 million in Series A funding in a seed round led by Tiger Global alongside LocalGlobe, Founder Collective and 14 angel investors.

“We’re building mechanisms that recognize companies that put candidates first and do the things that really matter to job seekers”

Otta is billed as a “candidate first” job platform, matching its users to relevant roles based on the personal preferences, skill sets and values ​​they enter into its questionnaire.

And one of those issues is the expected minimum wage – which he also uses to match businesses.

“After this waterfall went viral, it showed us a big surge of people who find it problematic,” co-founder and CEO Sam Franklin told Sifted.

“And it was really like a point of proof that it’s something to pursue,” he says.

Since its launch in January 2020, Otta’s platform has grown from 1,000 applications submitted per month to more than 5,000 every day.

And right now, there are 70,000 active job postings on Otta at 3,500 tech companies.

Who are the winners and losers in the tech talent war?

With more than 250,000 tech companies growing their workforce by 20% or more each year, according to Otta, and record levels of venture capital money being poured into startups in 2021, it’s easy to see why now is the time. for the platform to accelerate its growth. .

Meanwhile, for many startups, one of the biggest factors limiting growth is the hiring conversation.

“I talk to investors pretty regularly, and they tell me that all of their portfolio companies are saying in board discussions that they can’t hire enough people they want,” Franklin says.

But it’s not just due to the volume of vacancies from healthy startup funding cycles — the roles are getting harder and harder to fill.

“Some of the big tech giants are doing really well, offering fantastic salaries, so newcomers have to compete,” Franklin says.

“In Europe, the real big fintech winners – Klarna, Revolut, – are sucking up so much capital that they’re allowing talent to gravitate towards them.”

This is reflected in data from Otta: fintech accounts for 42% of jobs currently listed on its platform in the UK and US.

And the most in-demand people for startups in the UK and US? Software engineers, who are currently wanted for 4,650 jobs in the UK, or almost a third (28%) of all jobs in the UK.

Sales hires are the second most sought-after category, accounting for 19% of all roles in the UK, followed by marketing at 11% and product at 8%.

It’s the talent market

All this competition forces employers to behave well in order to stand out.

This means no more hidden salaries, ghosting after interviews, and not providing feedback.

“People have been talking about things like pay transparency for too long, but now we need action,” Franklin says.

“So we’re creating mechanisms that recognize companies that put applicants first and do the things that really matter to job seekers,” he adds.

Co-founders Theo Margolius, Sam Franklin and Xav Kearney

These mechanisms will result in a new “certified” feature, which Otta plans to launch in the coming months, designed to encourage companies to better access top talent.

Think Airbnb’s superhost feature, but for business. Instead of being rated on cleanliness and image accuracy, Otta’s incentive mechanism will rest on three pillars: setting salaries to job specifications; respond to applicants in a timely manner; and give feedback.

“If you build something that says you can only be Otta certified, if you do A, B and C, that’s better for both parties, because it means companies that care, and probably the companies that are the best places to work, are the ones that rise,” Franklin says.

These three pillars are backed up by data accumulated by Otta since its launch two years ago, such as the fact that including a salary in a job posting on the platform increases applications by up to 40-50%. .

“Even jobs with below-market wages are seeing an increase,” Franklin says. “Candidates want to know what they’re getting into before they apply.”

Companies that don’t meet these three criteria will have less visibility — to their detriment in today’s technology talent war.

big in america

It’s a similar story in the United States, where Otta intends to significantly expand its presence with a commercial team on the ground following the latest fundraising.

Across the Atlantic, there are currently 16,600 software engineering roles listed on Otta (31% of all US roles), followed by 9,500 sales roles, 5,200 marketing roles, and 4,200 data roles.

Otta’s US business has already overtaken the UK in growth, amassing more monthly applicants in two months than the UK market in two years.

So why has it taken off so quickly in the United States?

“One of the big points is that it’s a bigger market,” Franklin says, “which I think is strengthening the product market integration in the United States, because really it’s what we’re trying to do is reduce the noise of a job search.”

“It’s even louder in the US because there are even more companies, the market is bigger, and so because we’ve done the job with data tagging effectively, that means candidates really notice it and apply more.”

“It could also be cultural, because Americans are go-getters and probably do a lot of apps, but I think what’s cool is that we’ve built a product that really fits the needs of that market.”

Amy O’Brien is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @Amy_EOBrien

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