AI startup Eightfold valued at $2.1B in SoftBank-led $220M funding

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Eightfold AI, a startup which uses deep learning and artificial intelligence to help companies find, recruit and retain workers, said on Thursday it has raised $220 million in a new round as it looks to accelerate its growth.

SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the Series E round of the five-year-old startup, which is now valued at $2.1 billion, up from $1 billion in Series E last October, Eightfold AI founder and chief executive Ashutosh Garg told TechCrunch in an interview.

Existing investors General Catalyst, Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the new round, which brings the startup’s all-time raise to over $410 million.

The Mountain View-based startup provides its clients with a talent acquisition platform that helps them identify suitable candidates and import and filter thousands of resumes. One of Eightfold AI’s missions is to help companies reduce biases in their hirings, so it masks candidates’ personal information during evaluation.

“Instead of searching for a job, a candidate can upload their resume and the system will tell what is the most relevant job for that candidate in real-time,” explained Garg. “What this does is, it reduces the drop-off rate. And our clients see more applications — and field more diverse applications.”

The startup, which has amassed clients in over 100 countries and offers its platform in over a dozen languages, also enables employers to deploy the Eightfold platform internally and help employees discover promotions and new role opportunities within their organizations. “This has helped businesses almost double their internal mobility,” said Garg, who previously worked at IBM Research, where he filed patents on understanding behaviors of people, and Google, where he worked on the company’s user personalization efforts.

Recruiting remains a big global problem and an untapped opportunity. Garg said solving this requires expertise with sifting through plethora of data points and right talent. Eightfold itself analyzes data it sources from a range of places including employers’ sales, customer management and human resources as well as public sources such as patent sites and publications.

“Transforming HR and global talent further unlocks trillions of dollars’ worth of human potential. SoftBank shares our bold vision, and we are excited to welcome them as our partner,” he said.

In the state of Indiana, Eightfold maintains partnership for people applying for unemployment insurance to build up their resumes and find job opportunities instantly. The startup also has a program for veterans in the U.S. to find opportunities relevant to their skills, said Garg.

“Powered by AI and machine learning, Eightfold’s platform provides global enterprises with a single solution for managing the entire talent lifecycle, including hiring, retaining, and growing a diverse global workforce,” said Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers and who previously worked for nearly six years at LinkedIn. “We are pleased to partner with Ashutosh and the Eightfold team to support their ambition of transforming how enterprises manage talent and how people build their careers.”

Eightfold will deploy the fresh capital to accelerate its expansion efforts and invest in hiring more data scientists and engineers, Garg said.

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