Human resources startup Jobecam is about to take a significant new step in its plan to help reduce bias in recruitment with technology. The Brazilian startup founded by entrepreneur Cammila Yochabell is gearing up to enter the US market, aided by a talent exchange program and new investors, including former Brazil Central Bank president Armínio Fraga.

Founded in 2016, Yochabell created a platform she describes as the HR department’s “The Voice” – a reference to the reality TV singing competition, where judges initially don’t see the contestant. The platform enables candidates to submit their information and CVs, but details such as gender and race are omitted – recruiters only know the applicant’s skills.

By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the system ranks candidates more suited to the job. The initial interview takes place with an automatically generated avatar and a fictitious name. In later stages of the recruitment process, companies can choose to see the candidate’s identity or continue the process anonymously.

With a client portfolio including names such as consulting firm Accenture and pharmaceuticals group Novo Nordisk, the company operates in Brazil and some Latin American markets, such as Colombia, Mexico, and Chile. The startup is now in a soft landing process to enter the US market, supported by an international talent exchange and retention program created by venture capital firm IDL Ventures.

“We aim to reduce unconscious biases in [recruitment] decision-making more efficiently, ensuring more diversity, inclusion, and alignment with US recruitment laws. The focus is to help organizations reduce their costs with selection processes, attract talent, and consequently have more diverse hires through our anonymous video interview model”, Yochabell said in an interview with Forbes.

The firm claims to shorten hiring processes by around 80% and boost diversity in recruitment by 70%, having facilitated over 200,000 interviews with candidates from under-represented groups in Brazil alone since its inception. The goal is to increase the number to 1 million in a year.


Investments and future strategy

Approximately 30% of a seed round of 4 million Brazilian reais ($760,000) recently raised by the Brazilian startup will go towards the US expansion process, while the remainder will go towards marketing and improving the product. Former Brazil Central Bank chief Fraga and economist Daniel Gleizer, another former Central Bank director and an existing backer, led the investment and are bullish about the expansion and the startup’s plans.

“Jobecam’s [strategy] converges with my vision for building a more egalitarian country from a socio-economic point of view. To improve our challenging reality, we need to pay more attention to the issues around race, gender, and sexuality. And I believe in Jobecam’s differential to help us progress on that agenda”, Fraga said.

According to Yochabell, the initial aim in the US is to drive the adoption of the tool for university student admissions. The company already has a US client, The University of Chicago, and hopes the business will self-sustain in the short term. However, the startup is already structuring a bridge round of around $2 million in the US and is already in talks with investors.

Companies need to continue to pursue their diversity and inclusion agendas, the founder said, due to the social aspect and the economic impact this can bring. “A few years ago, this agenda was still considered a fad by many companies, but nowadays, most have already understood that they need to adapt to these demands. Otherwise, they will lose money, good employees, and deal with the negative repercussions to their brands.”

Regarding Jobecam’s short-term future, the founder points out that Brazil remains an attractive market but needs to evolve considerably on the D&I front. For example, according to Yochabell, tokenism – the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority groups – is still a theme in many companies. Others believe the anonymous interviewing method will help conceal preconceptions.

“I believe that by entering the US market, we will gain more muscle and will be able to raise corporate awareness in Brazil in a more robust way.”


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