A Nurturing Acquisition
We've saved the best for last!
Danielle Weinblatt joins Chad & Cheese to talk about ConveyIQ's acquisition by Entelo. What missing pieces will ConveyIQ add? What will change and what sill stay the same.
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Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HRs most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts, complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Bottle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.
Joel: Aw yeah, we're talking acquisitions today, baby.
Chad: That's right.
Joel: They're popping off like hotcakes, man. Everybody was buying everybody. Welcome to the Chad and Cheese Show, everybody. I am your cohost Joel Cheesman.
Chad: And I'm Chad Sowash.
Joel: Today we are graced with the pleasure to introduce and interview Danielle Weinblatt. Danielle, how are you doing?
Joel: You may know Danielle from her days it Take the Interview, ConveyIQ, but now because of an acquisition, she is President and Chief Product Officer at entelo. Danielle, for those who don't know you, give us a quick elevator pitch on you and a little bit about the new company.
Danielle: Sure, I'd be happy to. So for those of you that don't know me, I have been building recruitment technology now for almost a decade, which is kind of crazy. I founded a company called Take the Interview, which was one of the first enterprise digital interviewing players in the market. I did that actually while I was still getting my MBA. So created that company literally out of my dorm room from business school.
Danielle: That was fun and that ended up being really successful. I still have people who miss TTI and miss that branding. So it's always great to meet someone who used that product. After several years we recognized with high volume recruitment that there were other problems that we wanted to solve for our clients. I expanded the platform and created a new solution called ConveyIQ. We ended up taking the Take the Interview product and making it one module of ConveyIQ.
Danielle: That product... it's been a real dream for a lot of organizations that had problems following up with the thousands, sometimes tens or hundreds of thousands of candidates that they would have to follow up with in the hiring process. The system ended up being really the first talent communication platform, post apply, to give candidates proactive updates about their status, coordinate interviews, prepare them, and then basically take
them through the entire hiring life cycle.
Danielle: Then fast forward until now... it was several months ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine, John Bischke. I was familiar with the entelo product because I had known him for many years, but last year I spoke at his recruitment automation summit. I knew that he was really passionate about figuring out the automation points from end-to-end, from source to hire.
Danielle: So entelo, if you're not aware of their platform, they spent a lot of time trying to create automation on the front end for sourcers. And then with ConveyIQ, we've tried to eliminate the headaches with all of the manual touch points, post apply. We talked about what our products could look like together. That original partnership turned into a deeper one. I'm excited to announce that the company that I created many years ago was acquired by entelo in August.
Joel: I want to know how many drinks were consumed in that first meeting where you guys thought about, "Hey, we could be good together."
Danielle: It was actually over lunch. John was being very conservative, but over the years we had a friendship where we would have a drink or two and we would have musings about the industry, but it was a fairly sober decision, which I prefer.
Joel: This journey started roughly six years ago? Was that when Take the Interview was first launched? 2013 if I'm remembering correctly?
Danielle: Yeah, that's right. So we launched the first product in 2013 but I had been building out different concepts of what Take the Interview could become for about a year prior to our first release.
Chad: That's one hell of a pivot, right? Going from Take the Interview to a Marketo RMP type of platform, that's a lot to take on. What made you look at Take the Interview and say, "Okay, there's this huge gap, which we could prospectively, hopefully, bridge." But that's a big gap. What made you take that choice to try to become an RMP and go away from, really to an extent, what you were with Take the Interview?
Danielle: I think every company needs to think about an evolution. Take the Interview was a great product but it was a point solution. It really only worked for organizations that had high volume roles. What we saw is that if a company was deprioritizing their recruitment for campus or for sales or for community or call centers, frequently they would ask us if there were other solutions that they could leverage that our company offered because they liked our partnership.
Danielle: We just really didn't have anything beyond the digital interviewing screening and the two-way video interviewing, which in itself was becoming a commodity. I don't know if you recall, digital interviewing saw a lot of entrants after our emergence, after our initial product launch. There were several players in the market who we all know and they were excellent, but there were a lot of entrants.
Danielle: I just believe that you need to consistently be ahead of where the market is going and what people need or else you will be a company that becomes a dinosaur. You will wither away. You'll go into the abyss so you have to think about expansion and more pain points that you can solve for the clients that you know and care about.
Chad: Right. So when you're taking a look at this, if from our standpoint we can pretty much take a look at sales and marketing and that industry itself and start to model off of certain products or what we're seeing that could be perfect for recruiting, for an example. Because we're a few years behind, generally, from a standpoint of technology, sales, and marketing. Did you take a look at the Marketos are the exact targets? Did you look to model off of one of those types of organizations or did this just come out of nowhere?
Danielle: No, we did. We definitely took a look at HubSpot, which is an amazing client of ours. We took a look at Outreach and Marketo and so there are definitely a best-in-class solutions out there that we examine. But here's the thing, there are still dynamics of recruitment that are very different than sales and marketing that you need to consider.
Danielle: To understand a candidate's relationship with an organization and be able to personalize that at scale, I believe is more important than sometimes the personalization that you're sending to a prospect because this is someone's potential livelihood. This is sending a message to someone at the right time so that you can encourage them to make a huge shift in their life. Particularly if you think about passive recruitment, sending communication to someone and convincing them to leave their current situation to come work at your organization. That requires a lot more sensitivity and a lot more detail when you're thinking about communication and and marketing comms.
Danielle: We had to approach it by being inspired by marketing automation, but remembering that recruitment is a totally different ballgame in some respects.
Joel: The platform wars are in full effect in recruitment. We're seeing iCIMS making a lot of acquisitions. They just bought Jibe, TextRecruit before that. We're Jobvite, Canvas, all kinds of acquisitions. Obviously, LinkedIn's relationship with Microsoft.
Joel: You guys seem to be sort of putting your hands together in terms of hoping to create an end-to-end solution from the sourcing and recruiting piece to the... I'm assuming the onboarding and everything else.
Joel: How do you guys, am I right and, if so, how do you guys plan to compete with some of these big players with deep pockets or are you hoping to be a platform for maybe a particular niche or a certain size of company or maybe geographically a platform that they can use?
Danielle: I think we're still very complementary with the vision that I have for the combined solution. We still integrate with all of the major enterprise applicant tracking systems we're partner of iCIMS, we're a partner of Workday's, of "Taleo's". We can really work as an end-to-end automation platform or communication platform from source-to-hire.
Danielle: And so what does that mean?
Danielle: All of the gaps that you may see in your existing ATS that aren't working for you right now, we can basically plug that hole. So your ATS, for example, just like if you're using Salesforce, if we're going to go back to that analogy, your CRM system isn't going to tell you which prospects are the right prospects for you. It's not going to go out there and source for a job description for you.
Danielle: Whereas, some of the algorithms that entelo has built based on their database, they're able to identify candidates to recommend. Why wouldn't we apply that science to the candidates that are already sitting in your ATS or candidates that recently applied or candidates that are already in your organization that may be overlooked because there's no person focusing on internal mobility.
Danielle: When you think about how we can interact, at least on the front end of the process, we can basically understand the roles you're recruiting for and your organization to help you then surface or identify the right candidates that then could be automatically engaged, and then screened, and then scheduled, and then communicated with to the point of hire.
Danielle: Your ATS still serves a tremendous purpose. You can still house the candidates in the ATS. You can still have a lot of your integrations, like your background checks and your assessments if you still want to use those integrated with your existing system, but this is a smart layer that would go on top of your ATS or your CRM to basically do a lot of the work that your recruiters are doing manually and take it now from your first touchpoint to the first day. That, to me, is really beautiful.
Announcer: We'll get back to the interview in a minute, but first we have a question for Andy Katz, COO of Nexxt.
Joel: What kinds of companies should be leveraging programmatic?
Andy Katz: Every Fortune 1000 company out to anybody with extreme volume of jobs. You're recruiting for 20 positions a year. You don't need programmatic. You can go to a recruitment marketing agency or a job board and do a direct email with your company only you're not in with another 20 companies in a job alert or you're not just on a career site or a job board.
Andy Katz: You can do banner advertising by premium placements. Where programmatic again is one piece of the puzzle, it's not going to ever be the end all, be all. And I do believe all the programmatic platforms out there have ancillary services to support that, knowing that you can't just survive on a one-trick pony.
Joel: Any plans to start an ATS or maybe looking to get bought by an ATS?
Danielle: No plans to start an ATS. No plans right now to be bought by anybody. The ink really hasn't even dried on our acquisition. I think we just want to build a great product. We have 600 clients now globally, so that's a lot. In terms of my new role, it's a lot of companies to talk to, to make sure they're getting value from our product. I'm really excited about building this vision. I'm sure there's going to be excitement in the marketplace.
Joel: Quickly, logistically, who's moving to California? Who's staying in New York? How does the whole workforce thing shake out with the acquisition?
Danielle: The entire New York office remains, so now that becomes entelo East, and the entire San Francisco office remains as entelo West. We have been traveling back and forth weekly. Different members of our teams have been visiting each other's offices. My plan, because we have such a large West coast client base, my plan is to split my time. Basically every two weeks, every three weeks, be in San Francisco. I think it's super important, at least for the next 12 months, to fully integrate our cultures. I'm lucky. I get to stay in Manhattan. You can't beat that.
Joel: I was going to ask you which city like better? I guess that answers my question.
Danielle: Like I said before, I'm a true New Yorker. If I have too many drinks I will say coffee, but it's great. John and the team have been super amazing, super respectful of our office and our team here and I definitely know I made the right decision by working with them.
Chad: Excellent. So 600 clients, most of them I'm on the West coast. Are those mainly, the bulk of them, ConveyIQ or are they entelo clients or are those kind of like a mashing together now of the new company?
Danielle: Yeah, it's a mashing together of the new company. I don't think it's a surprised... entelo is obviously larger than ConveyIQ. They brought a lot to the table, but we also had a very formidable client base. Our clients are located all over the world. It's just that where entelo started and I know you're familiar with the legacy product or what they started out doing, which is obviously going to be changing and evolving, but a lot of it was for tech talent.
Danielle: When you think about the company it's that we're gravitating towards entelo's products in the very early days. Those were some of the high growth organizations on the West coast that needed great developers, great data scientists, great product managers, so still a large part of our client base. I don't know the exact percentage, but it's high. They're located on the West coast, but we have a lot of great clients on the East coast and all over the world.
Danielle: I'm excited. I'm excited to be a part of this.
Chad: How long is it going to take for ConveyIQ to become entelo? 'Cause it sounds like that's where you guys are going now as it is. Your title's an entelo title. You have the East and the West, entelo HQs, per se. When is
ConveyIQ going to become a product name under the entelo brand?
Danielle: We're going to do things differently. It's not going to work like that. When I mentioned an end-to-end solution for recruitment automation, it's going to be one product. There's not going to be a ConveyIQ separate system. There's not going to be an entelo separate system.
Danielle: A perfect example is a marriage, right? It's two people who have been individuals for a really long time, but in order to come together as a unit, they both need to make compromises. They both need to figure out what each other's strengths and weaknesses are. And then often they have children so they create new human beings from that unit or from that combination.
Danielle: This is very similar. We're not just going to be two individuals or two software systems just put together in one. It's going to be a lot of reevaluation of each other's software and reevaluation of where is entelo strong, where is ConveyIQ strong, and where are we weak. Then figuring out how to really make a beautiful platform together. Expect us, by next year, to have given birth to something that is better than the sum of the parts.
Joel: It takes a village, Chad, it takes a village.
Chad: So it's not going to be under one br... that was a long answer
for, "Is this going to be one brand or is it going to come under a new brand that's not entelo, it's not ConveyIQ."
Joel: It's going to be Brady Bunch. Basically.
Danielle: It's going to be under entelo.
Chad: [crosstalk 00:18:47] Okay, there we go.
Danielle: But it's going to be a new product, so there you-
Chad: Yeah. Well, I totally understand that. You've got two platforms that are coming together, but under the entelo name, which is, again, from an offering standpoint... entelo has the sourcing automation piece and obviously ConveyIQ, which is... I love this marriage because of... I really saw entelo as a great technology, but it was incredibly incomplete. I think, and I believe, and what it sounds like, is putting ConveyIQ with entelo makes it a much more rounded, holistic type of system so that you're not just going after and providing candidates, you're also giving the availability to engage and nurture those candidates. Is that what is pretty much the longterm vision?
Danielle: That's exactly right, but a lot of the automation features and the intelligence are going to be improved as well. I don't want to miss out on that component because of the ability to engage these candidates and know whether they actually end up at that organization or not. You basically have reinforcement learning and you're able to then improve your ability to source and screen as well.
Joel: Sounds like Chad approves of the acquisition. Looking at some of the news in recent days with a hiQ's lawsuit against LinkedIn and winning battles in terms of being able to scrape or take profile data and put that into a sourcing machine. Do you have any thoughts on that case or how that might impact entelo in the product going forward?
Danielle: That's a great question. It's definitely big news. It's definitely something that we have been discussing. I will be clear, though, that entelo has not scraped LinkedIn data. They don't develop their profiles that way. They don't... cute. They don't develop their profiles that way. It's something we're talking about internally and what the implications are. I don't have it right now on the roadmap to be changing what we're currently doing for the search product, but we just have to take it day by day.
Chad: But you got to admit that that opens up more data and that's really... entelo is a data company and they're pulling candidate data, right? If you take a look at GDPR and you have these candidates who allow that to happen... what's wrong with pulling that data to be able to make more of a complete story for an individual that you're trying to target?
Danielle: I think those are the pros of this ruling. I think you're hitting on... a person who builds software and who wants to be able to create better algorithms that enable you to find the right candidates and engage them, clearly there are benefits to getting more data. It's like any other algorithm that makes better, more informed recommendations if you're thinking about Netflix or Spotify or anything along those lines.
Danielle: I think the reality is that we're not exactly sure the way LinkedIn will react and I think until we have a real sense of how this will play out and what LinkedIn's reaction will be, we are taking a more conservative approach before we start diving in to thinking about how we would use more publicly available data.
Danielle: I agree with you. From a product perspective it's great. It's awesome and hopefully it'll make better solutions for our clients. We don't want to do anything without having all of the information available to us and knowing exactly what LinkedIn could do or would do if we were to pursue that route.
Joel: Want to keep with some more news that recently came up, you may have seen that HireVue shuffled their investors recently and this is a 10-plus-year-old company that was doing video interviewing, which is something that you know quite a bit about. What are your thoughts on the future of video?
Joel: Chad and I had a show recently where I thought the shuffling of investors and not having a liquidation or an IPO or cash out event at any point in the last 15 years was a bad omen for video interviewing. What are some of your thoughts on the current state of that business and where it's going in the future?
Danielle: I would agree with you. I think that you can't be... And this goes back to your first question for me around Take the Interview. I love that product. I think it's super helpful but I don't think it's sustainable to just be a video interviewing company. I think you need to expand your value proposition outside of it. I think, perhaps, the way in which they've approached expanding the value prop, I think initially it may not have been the right direction for the company to take.
Danielle: Starting to apply algorithms to do facial recognition and understand voice intonation to predict the viability or the fit of a candidate inside of an organization, obviously, it has a lot of issues surrounding it. There's a lot of biases and there's a lot of things that just create complications, particularly bandwidth.
Danielle: If you can't see someone's picture clearly on their video, how can you compare that analysis to someone whose picture is clear? There were a lot of issues with the route that they took with their R&D, but I think there's a lot of capable and intelligent people at HireVue. No one should underestimate the CEO and their management team because I think that they probably have something up their sleeve that we're not aware of, but perhaps the historical product execution and innovation, where they focus, hasn't lent itself to a bigger exit.
Danielle: Does that make sense?
Joel: Yeah, it does. It does. And I'm going to let you out on this and I want you to get a little bit of redemption here in this interview. I was recently quoted as saying that you two getting together was akin to sort of two dinosaurs cuddling at the end of the earth in hopes of surviving impending doom.
Joel: You obviously disagree with that and we've had rumors on the show and we've had people tell us about executive exodus at entelo. We've heard entelo was on death watch for the last year.
Chad: Life support.
Joel: Yeah, this is your chance to say I'm wrong. This is the state of the businesses and here's where we're going in the future.
Danielle: Here's the thing, you're totally entitled to your opinion and it could be interpreted that way from the outside and sometimes perception is something that you need to manage towards. I've been on the inside, Joel, and I know the power of their technology and I talk to their clients. I've already done 30 client conversations with existing entelo clients and that product really helps a lot of people.
Danielle: Obviously, I built a platform then I know you know is on the verge of this whole automation space and is definitely a new solution that the market is looking for. Everybody's looking for automation. I think when you think about how we can take the business to the next level, I think it is about taking a step back and thinking about a future together, thinking about how we can innovate both platforms to create something that's better together.
Danielle: I do not do anything without massive consideration. I did not make this decision flippantly. I think that their product is great and I think a lot of their clients agree. To ask my team, my employees, my investors to get behind something that could be transformational is really fundamentally what I believe. We'll continue to show that in the marketplace.
Joel: Do you feel better?
Danielle: Oh, I felt good before. I feel fine. I know I made a good decision. I think about it every day. I think you're entitled to have your opinion. I think if everyone in this world was always agreeing with what you're doing, or if everyone was always telling you how amazing you are and how amazing your company is, what would be the reason to try and improve or get better tomorrow?
Danielle: I think what you and what Chad do every single day is sometimes give companies a reason to prove themselves even more. You give us a reason to wake up in the morning and say, "You know what? We are going to continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what we can do." I think it's great and I think we have a great company too.
Joel: Then we are doing our job-
Danielle: Yeah, you are.
Chad: Well, Danielle, personally I believe you are the breath of life that entelo needed, to be quite frank. But that being said... new company, if somebody wanted to find out more about you, they want to find more out about ConveyIQ or entelo, where would they go?
Danielle: You can email me directly and it's my first initial, last name, at entelo.com. You can also add me on all social channels. I'm very open and welcoming of anybody in the industry and certainly if you have any product feedback or suggestions, I welcome those as well. Thank you so much.
Joel: Thanks, Danielle. Don't be a stranger now.
Danielle: I won't. Hope to see you soon. Bye, guys.
Chad & Joel: We out.
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