iCIMS acquires video recruiting startup Altru for $60M

Enterprise recruiting company iCIMS is announcing that it has acquired Altru.

ICIMS declined to comment on the terms of the deal, but a source with knowledge of the companies told us that the price is a combination of cash and stock, totaling around $60 million.

Founded in 2000, iCIMS offers a “talent cloud” used by more than 4,000 employers to attract, engage and hire new employees, and to help existing employees continue to develop their careers.

Former Marketo chief executive Steve Lucas became CEO in February, and he told me that the recruiting world is overdue for reinvention. After all, every company says they want to hire the most talented people around, so he wondered, “Well, okay, if you want that, why do you create such boring content? Why do you take a job that is exciting and should demand amazing human beings and create this super boring job description?”

Lucas sees video as a key piece of the solution, allowing companies to bring more “authenticity” to what can be a stuffy and bureaucratic process. Just over a month ago, iCIMS announced another acquisition in this area — Paris-based Easyrecrue.

Lucas said that while Easyrecrue has created tools to enrich video interviews, Altru can be most helpful earlier in the recruiting process, when companies are trying to stay connected with the most promising candidates and get them excited about a potential job.

Altru CEO Alykhan Rehmatullah (who founded the startup with CTO Vincent Polidoro — they’re both pictured above) told me that while the company started out with a focus on recording and sharing employee videos for recruitment, its asynchronous videos are becoming used more broadly across companies. He suggested that’s particularly true this year, while teams are working from home and everyone’s looking for ways to communicate that are more expressive than Slack and don’t require putting “another 30-minute Zoom call on your calendar.”

In fact, Lucas said that before talking to me, he’d actually been recording videos on Altru to explain the acquisition to his own team. He praised the platform’s ease of use, joking, “If I can use this thing, anybody can use it.”

Rehmatullah said the entire Altru team will be joining iCIMS, where he’ll become vice president of content strategy. The goal is to continue operating Altru as a standalone product while also finding new ways to integrate it into the iCIMS platform.

Altru previously raised a total of $1.3 million from Birchmere Ventures, Active Capital and Techstars.


Altru raises $1.3M to improve recruiting with employee videos

Marketers are increasingly looking for social media celebrities and influencers who can promote their products with more authenticity (or at least, the appearance of authenticity) than a traditional ad.

So Altru CEO Alykhan Rehmatullah wondered: Why can’t businesses do something similar with recruiting?

And that’s what Altru is trying to accomplish, powering a page on a company’s website that highlights videos from real employees answering questions that potential hires might be asking. The videos are searchable (thanks to Altru’s transcriptions), and they also can be shared on social media.

The startup was part of the recent winter batch at Techstars NYC, and it’s already working with companies like L’Oréal, Dell and Unilever. Today, Altru is announcing that it’s raised $1.3 million in new funding led by Birchmere Ventures.

Rehmatullah contrasted Altru’s approach with Glassdoor, which he said features “more polarized” content (since it’s usually employees with really good or really bad experiences who want to write reviews) and where companies are often forced to “play defense.”

On Altru, on the other hand, employers can take the informal conversations that often take place when someone’s deciding whether to accept a job and turn them into an online recruiting tool. Over time, Rehmatullah said the platform could expand beyond recruiting to areas like on-boarding new employees.

Since these videos are posted to the company website, with the employees’ name and face attached, they may not always feel comfortable being completely honest, particularly about a company’s flaws. But at least it’s a message coming from a regular person, not the corporate-speak of a recruiter or manager.

Rehmatullah acknowledged that there’s usually “an educational process” involved in making employers more comfortable with this kind of content.

“These conversations are already happening outside your organization,” he said. “In the long-term, candidates expect more authenticity, more transparency, more true experiences.”

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