She was looking to recruit data engineers and software pros for her clients, but before recommending them, wanted an outside expert’s opinion. Wanner realized that the work she was outsourcing was probably a task that thousands of other recruiters and hiring managers were outsourcing as well. That could provide an opportunity for experts in their field to make some money in the gig economy.
“And we especially found a new type of market during COVID — an influx of these low- to mid-level high-volume jobs, manufacturing jobs,” Wanner said. “We found the white space within that area, and realized, it’s go-time.”
In early 2020, Wanner shut down five-year-old CandiDate and a few months later launched Vette. She’s working with two cofounders: Comcast’s former CTO, Sree Kotay, now Vette’s tech chief, and former airline pilot Austin George, now COO. (As Technical.ly wrote when Kotay stepped down from the telecomms giant after 10 years in 2017: We remember Kotay not only for his stylish garb but for this lavish praise of the Philly tech scene and Comcast as a destination for worthy technologists everywhere.) The trio are joined by a handful of full-time employees and Drexel University co-ops, and while most are Philly-based, they’ll likely remain a distributed team.
“The problem was obvious, there are all these gig economy workers with skills in cleaning, or hospice or other places where there is a specific skillset,” Kotay said. “The current state of job boards is essentially a document data system. It’s an inefficient market right now.”
Vette, which is currently in its beta phase and accepting a few paid clients, aims to streamline the candidate search process. Here’s how it works:
- Clients pay for contracted workers who are experienced in the needs of a given role to vet applicants for them.
- Those vetters will host a quick, streamlined interview with any applicant who applies.
- Vetters then make recommendations about those applicants’ ability to do the given job to the company’s hiring manager.
- A hiring manager who received hundreds of applications for an online posting would receive a short list of candidates without needing to review hundreds of cover letters and resumes themselves.
It also allows those with in-demand skillsets to make money in their free time by vetting candidates for these companies. The team is currently onboarding vetters and plans that eventually, its network will grow large enough that vetters will refer other skilled experts they know to the service.
Wanner and her team have begun raising a seed round of fundraising with a goal between $500,000 and $1 million total. They’ve raised $300,000 so far, with participation from lead investor Brendan Iribe, Oculus’ former CEO.
The Vette team began work in May 2020. They spent the startup’s first six months exploring this slice of the HR industry and the last two months honing in on its strategy. Their 2021 goals include building out and making Vette’s platform and strategy scalable and reaching a broader market mid-year. In the back half of 2021, they hope to add some extra capabilities to the platform.
“The pro and the con of our strategy is that it appears to be a ‘white space’ area in HR tech and recruiting. That means less competition, but also that we have to make the market,” Wanner said. “That’s not something that speaks to every investor — it takes a little vision.”
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