Double Unicorn

Love unicorns? This episode of your favorite podcast has two, baby!

That's right, Gem and Andela have joined the ranks of the $1 billion club. And by the looks of a few others on this week's show, more could be coming with Syndio raising $50 million this week and Cocoon getting a plump Series A. We also ask whether or not chatbots are all the same, or are some just posers in life's big taco stand?

Then we welcome October the right way with Amazon scaring the hell out of us for the low, low cost of $1,000.


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INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (22s):

Oh yeah. That uncontrollable sobbing you heard earlier this week, that was Chad reacting to the inevitable flight back to America. Hi kids you're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. This is your co-host Joel appendectomy" Cheeseman.

Chad (37s):

And this is Chad "football is life" Sowash.

Joel (41s):

So on this week show, Jim is not just a really shitty cartoon from the eighties. Cocoon isn't just a really shitty movie from the eighties and Astro isn't just a dog from the Jetsons. It's apparently back to the future week on Chad and Cheese. Let's do this.

Chad (58s):

So duded, you're supposed to be in Vegas at HR Tech right now. WTF happened?

Joel (1m 6s):

Yeah. So the only flights I've ever missed in my life are because of a connection that that was too long. You recall us running through Atlanta a couple of years ago and almost killing me, but I chose, so there are two flights out of Indy that go direct to Vegas and they're Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines, neither of which are really considered the apex of service and timeliness. So anyway, apparently there's a rule on Spirit where if you check in more than 45 minutes before the flight, you can't get a ticket. You can't like check in and you and I both know the Indy airport.

Joel (1m 48s):

You can get through it in like 10 minutes to your flight, so it's super easy. I've gotten there 15 minutes before, you know, a flight takes off and made a flight. Anyway, I couldn't get a ticket. So I was like, well, this fucking sucks. So I rescheduled as I'm rescheduling, I text my wife and I say, you know, I can't get out of Indy, like bullshit. I've never missed a flight and I'm complaining. So anyway, she had, she had felt what she thought was maybe gas pains that morning. She hadn't gone to the ER, getting checked out because the doctor said so. She ended up having an appendix that needed to be taken out.

Chad (2m 30s):

Ouch, appendectomy.

Joel (2m 32s):

An Appendectomy, yes. So if you don't believe there's a higher power, maybe steering the ship on all this stuff. Like I couldn't go to Vegas, but as I couldn't do that, my wife had an emergency appendectomy. I'm happy to report that she's fine. I thought with maybe modern science, she could maybe be on her feet the next day. Not so much, especially with a four year old, you know, managing that is really hard to do when you're healthy, let alone when you've gone through surgery. So.

Chad (3m 2s):


Joel (3m 2s):

She's still at home recovering, you know, a week that I should have been at the Caesar Sports Book, you know, drinking an old fashioned and more shrimp than I can count was spent back here in Indianapolis, which you happily got to come back to. So you got to come back home and I got to stay home this week.

Chad (3m 23s):

Yeah and neither one of us were very happy about it. So being in Portugal after five and a half weeks in five different locations throughout the Southern coast of Portugal, drinking, great food, amazing fucking beaches and getting the best tan I've had in the last 20 years. I've actually for decades, my brain is finally centered, my priorities are reset and I am fucking happy. I don't know what these things are in the sky here cause we didn't see those in Portugal. I think they call them clouds. But yeah, we didn't have those. This is a yeah. It's a readjustment, let's just say that.

Joel (4m 4s):

We have a little overcast skies here in America. So how much SPF do you have to put on that dome of yours to keep it red free?

Chad (4m 12s):

Luckily, Julie was on me and big applause for her because I am one of those idiot men who like, I don't need that shit. So she had SPF 50, I think it was. And I got the best tan of my life. Didn't peel, none of that shit. It was perfection in five and a half weeks. I seriously, it was a good time.

Joel (4m 34s):

So I feel safe in saying you've been to Costa Rica, you know, you've done a stint in Portugal. I feel safe saying Portugal's kind of the winner of the two places. Would that be correct?

Chad (4m 45s):

Oh yeah. Especially since it is in Europe. And one of the things that we want to do is do a ton more exploration in Europe, not to mention, I mean the cost of living in Portugal is amazing. But the lifestyle just in itself is amazing itself. Not to mention, I mean, they actually have history, right? We're building history right now in the US they have history to be able to walk through those little towns.

Joel (5m 14s):

Bridges built by the Romans.

Chad (5m 15s):

That kind of shit, man. That's pretty awesome.

Joel (5m 19s):

It's so romantic.

Chad (5m 20s):

It's sexy to say the least.

Joel (5m 21s):

And God willing we will be there in November for a conference in Belgium. Although my wife and I joked she's had her gallbladder taken out. She's had her appendix taken out. The only thing left is her tonsils. So we're pretty sure there'll be a tonsillectomy sometime around November. That will keep me from Europe.

Chad (5m 40s):

Jeremy, better be self-sufficient by then. That's all I got to say.

Joel (5m 43s):

And hopefully Canadians can come visit, you know, via car by then. All right, enough about us. Let's get to shout outs shall we?

Chad (5m 49s):

We shall. And I'm going to start out with, I said it last week. I'm going to say it again. Louise Grant actually had a wonderful evening, dinner and drinks in Villa Mora last Sunday, and really looking forward to seeing what she's going to do next year, because she's coming back to the industry. She took some time off. She was at Jobgate for God over a decade, I think and now she's coming back. So it will be good to see her. It was great to see her and more to come.

Joel (6m 17s):

So you can confirm Louise is coming back to the industry, but not exactly sure what she'll be doing.

Chad (6m 24s):

Not exactly. Not exactly.

Joel (6m 24s):

Okay. That's a scoop. We'll take that as a scoop! Scoop, shout out combo on that one. That's good. I'm going to give a shout out to the recruiting team. They were the team that was sort of funding my venture out to HR Tech. They were real sweethearts during the whole appendectomy thing. So for Roberto, Mike, Kara, the whole team, sorry, I couldn't make it out hopefully next year. And they were just real sweethearts. So I wanted to give them a shout out.

Chad (6m 52s):

Yeah. It's kind of hard when, you know, your wife is going, you know, emergency surgery to say, get your ass out here. But yes, I appreciate that. That's awesome.

Joel (7m 0s):

Literally I got a doctor's note. I haven't done that since high school, just to show the HR Tech folks. So if they don't get a refund or a credit on that ticket, that's some bullshit. So HR Tech, if you're listening, make sure that a that's credited to the Recruitology team,

Chad (7m 17s):

Steve, hook them up. A big shout out to Garrett Friedman over at Jobcase kids for the promotion to SVP congrats, Garrett. We hope to see you guys in Boston in 2022, because a it's been a long damn time.

Joel (7m 34s):

I was going to say, I hope there's a salary increase on that because Boston is expensive. Damn shout out to Joe Shaker, speaking of expensive. Joe needs to stop placing bets on Cleveland, Chicago games, that's all I'm going to say, Joe Love you, man. Shout out. There's always next year. Yeah,

Chad (7m 55s):

That one hurt. We're talking nine sacks for poor old Justin Fields.

Joel (7m 60s):

We're talking one total yard passing for Mr. Fields. That was not a good day.

Chad (8m 2s):

Not a good day, not a good day. It's all downhill from here, baby. So big shout out to Michael Smith. That's one of the most original names we've had on the show, a talent acquisition specialist over at Berkshire Gray. You connected with me this morning on LinkedIn, says he loves the podcast. And I thought, you know, this would be a great time to say, Hey guys, girls, anybody who's listening them, connect LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, wherever you do that, give us feedback. Add your reviews on Apple podcasts, engage with Chad and Cheese. We love it. Whether you like us or not. It doesn't matter. We just want to hear it.

Joel (8m 43s):

Yeah. Another big fan Ryan Filmin of Charlotte loves the show as well. And I have a couple of a corporate shout-outs if you'll humor me here. So one is to LinkedIn, got to get them on. The show is a TechCrunch reported this week that LinkedIn is overhauling its audio and video, which frankly kind of suck and will roll out changes in the coming months. So will there be events, paid events, tickets through LinkedIn? We'll be watching that. Also Slack is reportedly rolling out Stories for company updates. You know, Stories has a long illustrious history on Twitter and LinkedIn, just a shit canned their Stories, Stories option for their service.

Joel (9m 27s):

Shout out to a weed. Washington post reported an estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the legal cannabis industry. No word on the illegal cannabis industry. The numbers, outnumber dentists, paramedics and electrical engineers. So a lot of the service folks are bypassing Applebee's and serving weed. So shout out to the green stuff and also launched a job board for recruiters this week. I had to double check the date on that and make sure it wasn't, you know, 1999, but yeah, good for them, recruiters need another space to look for jobs and they can do that at and last but not least for me, we made a list as we always do top five from Fountain submitted this week, they had us at number one, they didn't, they had us first, but not necessarily number one.

Joel (10m 16s):

I'm going to go ahead and just say, we're the best because we were put first.

Chad (10m 21s):

We're not.

Joel (10m 22s):

I'm also always amused that we're right after Matt Alder, that British guy and our review is always like maniacal, not safe for work, opinionated, sarcastic. And his is always like thoughtful, revealing, intelligent, you know? So it's a real dichotomy, our two podcasts, but somehow we both end up on the "best of" lists all the time.

Chad (10m 45s):

It's the yin and yang of HR, the most dangerous and the most bleeped out. That's us.

Joel (10m 53s):

Kinda, it's kind of a metaphor for the British American, you know, dynamic, I think.

Chad (10m 60s):

Somewhat. Yeah. Carry on the lists. Tyco Von Pawson who's one of the co-founders over at Vonq listed his top three podcasts on LinkedIn and they were number one Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway, that's a big one. That's like top 10. Number two, Masters of Scale with Reed Hoffman. And then number three, the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (11m 28s):

Yeah. Boy, by the way, next time you see him, tell him I loved his hit take on me from the eighties. That was great stuff. Chad, we have free shit that we mentioned that yet?

Chad (11m 37s):

We did not no.

Joel (11m 38s):

If you haven't gotten free shit from us, you got to sign up. You got to go to We got t-shirts by Emissary. We got beer from Adzuna, and we got whiskey from Sovren. We do this every month. We spread the love. We don't show up directly, but we, we in spirit deliver the goods to you for free!

Chad (12m 4s):

Contactless delivery. We are doing this the way that it should be done. We respect you. And we're going to be responsible to be able to get you the good bourbon. That's two bottles of bourbon, by the way, from Sovren and Chad and Cheese and shit. What a case plus of craft beer from, you know, sponsored by Adzuna. I mean, come on guys. Yeah.

Joel (12m 24s):

We're never in your face, but we're always in your heart and we're always killing your liver.

Chad (12m 30s):


Joel (12m 30s):

We got some fantasy football updates. You ready for that? This comes from Paul J yeah. Okay. I bet you are because you're back in the top spot, Chad. Yes. I don't know how that happened, but you were back in number one. Number two, we got Michael "got Gamecocks". Number three, Pete "don't call him douchey" Suchi. Chris, "AL East winner" Russell comes in after him. Bill "Football" Fanning. The beloved, Miss Q. "Breaking Benjamins" Kunze. Christie "don't call me Jackie Moon" Jason "Vorhees" Putnam, and bringing up the caboose baby. You know him, you love him. Now it's me. And in my defense.

Joel (13m 12s):

I can't be expected to win when two of my starters go out without even a point earned and I'm in it to win it, baby. So let's do this.

Chad (13m 19s):

All about it. Not to mention, let's throw this out there real quick. Quincy's last two, I think, out of three thus far. And they were like the slimmest of margins, but yet I think she's like top three in points scored. So you're not really the one getting fucked. She is. But I have to say that Pete Suchi, who was in the league last week, I kicked his ass this week and Roy fucking Kent, one of my favorite names for a football team, didn't do so well. And we all have those. We all have those days.

Joel (13m 55s):

I made a good pick with Stafford as my QB. That's looking like a potential MVP decision. And I couldn't even, I couldn't even overcome a four touchdown day for Matt Stafford. That's how challenged my team was this week. But I'm coming back this week. I'm taking on Chris Russell. He's primed for a loss, and I'm going to take his ass down. Although the Aaron Rogers pick is looking better than it did week one it's looking better now.

Chad (14m 21s):

Okay. Last but not least. We want to make sure that everybody checks out the Julia Levy podcasts that we put out this week. She is true talent. No bullshit. I love it. We talk about the recruiting tech. We talk about different recruiting processes and she lays it out there. You know what they're doing? Well, what they're not doing well. And it's a great conversation.

Joel (14m 49s):

So let's get to some birthdays before we get to the news.

Chad (14m 53s):


Joel (14m 54s):

Stella Cheeseman. My favorite daughter celebrates a birthday yesterday, actually. So a happy birthday to her she's the big 12, big 12. She's officially the tween! A tweener, I guess. I don't know exactly Casey Dockendorf. Who's my sister-in-law. So it's real. It's been a real family affair this month. If you need employment law advice in Canada hit me up all I'll connect you with Casey. She's a bad ass, or at least as bad-ass as a Canadian can be celebrates a birthday. Robert St. John's a fan of the show, which is one of the cooler names that we've had on the show. Lucas. Roscoe was that, oh,

Chad (15m 27s):

The barbecue guy.

Joel (15m 29s):

Yeah, those are good. We got some good names on the fan base. We got Ling Wu, Alison Holbrooke old timer in the industry and who doesn't love Lieven from the European show.

Chad (15m 46s):

Van Nieuwenhuyze

Joel (15m 42s):

My man Lieven celebrates a birthday and industry vet Kevin Grossman, all celebrate birthdays. Happy birthday to all those folks. And without any further ado,

Chad (16m 0s):


Joel (16m 0s):

Unicorn alert, Chad.

Chad (16m 1s):

Oh, that's gotta be what it feels like to actually get all that fucking cash. Right?

Joel (16m 12s):

We'll never know Chad.

Chad (16m 15s):

Fingers crossed.

Joel (16m 18s):

Andela born in Africa and headquartered in New York City. Andela, which helps companies build distributed engineered teams, raised $200 million in a Series E financing this week at a $1.5 billion valuation. The company founded in 2014 says that we'll use the new funds to develop products for simplifying global hiring and diversify beyond software developers, a soft bank investment. Andela operates in 80 countries across six continents and have placed more than 1000 engineers servicing over 200 companies. They employ about 300 folks, all of which are remote and have raised a grand total of $381 million so far.

Joel (16m 59s):

Chad, it's a big world and Andela wants a piece. What are your thoughts?

Chad (17m 5s):

Let's just say Andela is rad baby. We've got remote work is the fuel that made this rocket ship lift off. No question. Quick high level kind of like model overview. Talent is vetted, trained and matched with hiring company. So the training part is where most staffing solutions fall down because they just don't fucking do it. Not to mention Andela is focused on underrepresented countries in tech, like Africa. So Andela has over a hundred thousand individuals in their learning, matching and placement platform. So that's kind of like the basic overview. We talked about Andela back in early 2019, and I was a big fan of the platform and the model back before COVID and the need to move to remote is obviously a necessity for many organizations, needless to say, I love it even more right now because you know, obviously building a remote economy is where we're moving.

Chad (18m 8s):

Remember when we spoke with Hacker Ranks CEO and he commented on the developers shortage, by saying there is no shortage of developers because in the global talent economy and in this model, if you're short, it's your fault. I'm big on the upside of this, just from a concept than a model standpoint. And I'm glad to see such huge growth because the last time we talked about these guys, they had about a thousand individuals who were in their training program, et cetera, et cetera. Now they have over a hundred thousand.

Joel (18m 36s):

First of all, I'm really happy to see RAD taking off and I want to take credit for all that. But anyway, yeah, look places like India, Africa, Brazil are going to fill a lot of needs in the developed world into opportunities, which you spoke about from, at HackerRank. And the pandemic has made remote teams more palatable for a lot of companies, companies that wouldn't touch, you know, folks in Africa or developed countries now are open to that. Right? The challenge is working with developers on places like Upwork. It takes a lot of hand holding and patience, and that's not necessarily just from a time zone perspective or even a language perspective.

Joel (19m 17s):

And it looks like Andela takes a lot of care around making sure developers know English pretty fluently and making sure that some of those obstacles are as alleviated as possible. And I also love that Andela really promotes its white glove service expectations. So it sounds like, okay, we're going to help you get a global workforce that works remotely. And we're going to walk you through that process. You're not just going to be on your own, which I think is what Upwork and Fiverr kind of let you sort of sink and swim on your own. I think so that really fills a need from that perspective. A great quote from the CEO in terms of the release quote, "now that the world has come to embrace remote work, Andela has become the obvious choice for companies because we can find better talent, faster."

Joel (20m 3s):

Companies that build bridges, like that are gonna are really exciting to me. I don't, I wasn't super blown away by some of the numbers, you know, 200 companies, a thousand engineers for, to be a unicorn and have sort of modest numbers like that, means that there's a real bet here on the potential of this company. I expect them to be on hyper-growth, so to speak over the next 5-10 years and be really, really impactful because the borders of the world are breaking down and the world is rad baby. And these guys fill the, R spot with remote work and it's exciting to watch bringing, people out of poverty too, by the way, which is nice.

Chad (20m 43s):

It's definitely exciting. And when we talked about them before, they're actually talking about how they're paying a much higher wage than what you're seeing in those countries. So again, being able to really drive, you know, economic power for a country or countries that need it, right. Not to mention, you know, from the actual website itself is a quote, brilliance is evenly distributed, but opportunity isn't. We exist to unlock the human potential at scale. I think overall, I know what you're talking about with the numbers, but we have seen some pretty dramatic growth from at least the talent standpoint for them not to mention they're in a niche, this is more technical than it is anything else.

Chad (21m 28s):

But to be able to watch the scale happen and then also the concept itself, because once again, you know, Vivek from HackerRank saying, look, we don't have a talent shortage, we have a shortage of companies who want to embrace the opportunity and the talent and where they live. That's really what the issue is. Now that COVID has happened. That is kind of been an obstacle that has either been moved or it's much smaller than what it was before. The thing is that the US in itself, I think, is falling behind because the big brands are not building these types of pipelines themselves.

Chad (22m 8s):

So they say that there's a talent gap, but if there is a talent gap, that's because you allowed it to happen, employer, you allowed it to happen. You're not building these talent pipelines yourself. You're not training these individuals. Companies like Andela see that happening and they're going to also offer a very diverse workforce in the same platform.

Joel (22m 30s):

Yeah. And like, as water, you know, water goes through the, you know, where least resistance is. And, you know, politically we have issues with, I mean, China is going to be an issue for the next 20, 10- 20 years, at least. So I suspect a lot of investment into countries where there's either democracy or there's an openness to working with us. And the second dynamic is the closed borders. We're making it harder for people to come to America and companies are gonna suffer from that, so they're going to go where the talent is, and that's in places like India and Africa and pockets of South America. So this is a trend that's going to only heat up over the next few years and as the Chinese question hangs out there, more and more companies are going to embrace these markets and companies like this are gonna are going to flourish.

Chad (23m 22s):


Joel (23m 23s):

Well, we've got another surprise!

Chad (23m 26s):

It's a double!

Joel (23m 27s):

It's a double unicorn, Chad that's right. Gem announced a hundred million dollars in series C funding Tuesday at a $1.2 billion valuation. The new capital brings the company's total funding to $148 million founded in 2017 by a pair of Dropbox and Facebook alums. Gem says their dream is to be the quote "salesforce for hiring" the cash will be used for expansion into Western Europe and parts of Asia Pacific. It also wants to grow sales and marketing teams, the company, which can be found and not go gem.aai or something claims 800 customers and employees nearly 200 people.

Joel (24m 8s):

Chad, is this a rare gym worth buying or fool's gold?

Chad (24m 13s):

That's the artist formerly known as Zen Sourcer. Don't forget about that. So Steve Bartel and Nick Bushak, I believe it is the co-founders. They both have really impressive backgrounds with Facebook, Dropbox, MIT, middle school. Yeah, you might've heard of, but they don't have any TA or recruitment chops. So, you know, that's going to be interesting. I think what we're seeing from, you know, these co-founders a, this coming from TechCrunch and actual quote, "you used to be able to measure the value of a company by its factories, raw materials and goods but today that is measured in people.

Chad (24m 53s):

Companies are competing harder than ever for top talent. And our vision is to be the salesforce for hiring" close quote. So that to me bleeds of a front man from a great rock group that knows how to write a song and what VCs actually want to hear. But seriously, he's on point and then dropping "salesforce for hiring," comparing your platform with one that drops about 21 billion in revenue a year, these guys, they are very polished, no question. And they are singing to the VC. The question is, you know, are they actually going to be able to sing this song to an industry that doesn't adopt?

Chad (25m 38s):

It's not really nimble and it's not really incredibly innovative. Right? That's the big question.

Joel (25m 43s):

Remember when Indeed was the Google for jobs?

Chad (25m 46s):


Joel (25m 47s):

And then Google kind of became the Google for jobs. What happens when Salesforce becomes the Salesforce for hiring, then they've maybe got a problem.

Chad (25m 56s):


Joel (25m 57s):

So to me like this is another platform of the future want to be. I think we talked last week about the antiquated notion of the ATS, that maybe it's time to rethink the whole notion of nineties tech still being the standard for job seekers and employers. And more and more, maybe it's not and Gem, I think, wants to be, you know, they want to be sourcing. They want to be the CRM. They want to be the analytics. They want to be a diversity. They want to be all things to probably all people. That's a really hard place to be, particularly when a lot of people and companies with a lot of money are trying to do the same thing. But these pockets of sort of features that everyone's trying to fill in the gaps. You know, we have one, you know, we have conversation about, we still need CRM or we have CRM, but we need the sourcing piece.

Joel (26m 40s):

And we know, so it's like, who's going to bring all this together and be successful. None of us really know, but it's going to be fun to watch the fight. And it's going to be a lot of fun to report on it. But as of this week, Gem has a lot more guns in the barrel if you will, to take that fight to a lot of the companies in this space. You are right about the polished, it's a great name, great brand that they can build around as long as the tech is there and they can build a salesforce and grow globally. Like I like their chances to have a pretty sound position in our marketplace.

Chad (27m 14s):

I think you're correct in saying that they're going to try to be all things to all people. Here's a quote from TechCrunch "companies like LinkedIn provide the talent and Workday manages and tracks someone to hire, but Gem operates as the link between them enabling companies to do that proactive hiring, sending hundreds of emails, hosting events, running branded email campaigns, and ad spending to engage with talent" close quote. So here again, very polished. What they've just done is they've brought in two big companies, LinkedIn, Workday, and said, Hey, you guys don't do this. And if you did, you sure the fuck didn't do it well.

Chad (27m 59s):

So the question is, and I think this is what you're saying, they are polished and they are presenting themselves to VC incredibly well. Now on the other side, having more ammo, they're going to LinkedIn. They're going at the Workdays of the world because they're looking to get acquired. What do you think?

Joel (28m 18s):