As the L.A. tech scene has grown over the last four years, finding the talent to propel that progress has proved to be a greater challenge.

Into that breach has stepped SpringRole Inc., which uses big data and social media – the very tools being developed into businesses by many of its clients – to mine the landscape for quality hires.

SpringRole is the brainchild of Benoit Vatere and Kartik Mandaville, who launched the business in June while working at Santa Monica’s Science Inc., a four-year-old venture tech studio that funds and nurtures an array of companies.

Vatere was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Science, helping companies in its portfolio generate monetization strategies. As the firm’s director of technology, Mandaville was tasked with helping its early stage startups build their technology platforms.

As the pair worked together on a number of projects, they started running into problems when it came time to hire employees in a timely manner.

“Both of us were running into the same issue, which was finding the right people,” said Vatere, SpringRole’s chief executive.

So they followed in the footsteps of local companies such as Santa Monica’s Cornerstone OnDemand and ZipRecruiter in trying to grab a slice of the $15 billion automated human resources market.

The pair came up with a platform that mines social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find qualified candidates for individual jobs posted by its customers.

SpringRole charges companies about $700 a month to list one position on its network at a time. Higher-priced packages of roughly $1,750 and $4,000 a month are available, allowing three to five job listings at a time along with added features designed to increase the number of referrals.

After a client submits a job listing, SpringRole’s platform scours social and professional networks to build a list of people with relevant experience and qualifications. It queries people in the candidate’s network, asking if they’d recommend them for the job. If a candidate lands a recommendation, agrees to apply and scores an interview, the reference gets a fee of between $40 and $50, though it can be higher in a more competitive hiring process.


Vatere said SpringRole, which also posts available jobs on its website, has 200 listed, with Android and iOS developers the most in-demand positions. Its network has identified about 8.5 million potential candidates, though that number is growing rapidly as more jobs are posted. Not all candidates identified by the platform wind up getting recommended, and others are weeded out upon further evaluation by SpringRole.

In the fall, SpringRole also helped Science, which has invested in and houses the business, hire employees for a new office in Bangalore, India, and word of its service quickly spread among other startups in the country. As a result, it has some 60 jobs in India posted on the site.

“Their network is monstrous,” said Science co-founder and Chief Executive Mike Jones, who noted that SpringRole has only been actively selling its core product for about three months. A former chief executive at Myspace, the groundbreaking social network acquired by News Corp. before it was displaced by Facebook, Jones said the SpringRole product would have come in handy when he was running Myspace.

“What I found inside News Corp. was our best hires came from friends of a friend,” he said.

Another SpringRole client is Science portfolio company Delicious Science, a bookmarking site that Science acquired in May. It was one of the first businesses to use SpringRole back in September when it needed to find a chief technology officer.

What made the task more difficult was the company’s complex data stack, which had been updated several times across a 10-year history that spanned three ownership regimes.

The company tried its luck on several job boards, none of which produced candidates with the right combination of skills. So rather than hiring an expensive headhunter, Delicious turned to its neighbors down the hall.

“No one wants to pay $20,000 to a recruiter,” said Mandaville, SpringRole’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “It’s very helpful to have all these startups and companies appreciate the technology that goes into building these kinds of platforms.”

Within a week of employing SpringRole, Delicious tapped Dave Thomas, formerly of Mid-City electronic payment platform Verifi Inc.

“Given he was local it was super easy,” said James Hicks, Delicious’ general manager. “It’s a complex piece of technology and he jumped right in. We’ve been very happy with Dave and, as a result, SpringRole.”

Hicks said that he expects to use the company again.

Another customer, San Francisco’s Lucky Day Discovery Inc., used SpringRole to find a new online marketing director and started interviewing candidates within 24 hours.

“It’s tough to make it quicker than that,” Vatere said.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.