Bringing Big Data into the HR sector, Clustree announced a €600,000 seed round from Alven Capital (led by Raffi Kamber), which also includes business angels such as Fred Montagnon & Jean-David Blanc, but also Dataiku founder & CEO Florian Douetteau. Founded by Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan in 2013, Clustree provides tools for large corporations in order for them to identify internal promotion candidates, by looking at previous career paths, performance reviews & other factors. Conversely, it also helps employees of large companies to see their options for growth within their company.
The idea was born of Bénédicte’s own search for for her next career path after leaving her 4-year position as a senior consultant at Intellico. In order to see what her options were, she looked at dozens of professionals on LinkedIn who had a similar background as her, and looked at the positions they held. She must’ve identified a few entrepreneurs in the bunch, because after running this exercise, she decided that, at scale, this could be a great tool for employees & employers.
Instead of going the B2C route ( a difficult market to monetize), Bénédicte began reaching out to large companies, selling a product that, in all honesty, didn’t exist, simultaneously familiarizing herself with Big Data – for example, she shares her office with Dataiku, the big data studio, as she felt she needed to surround herself with people working in the same space.
Up until mid-September, Bénédicte was alone at Clustree, making her a rare solo, non-technical founder. However, investors felt she held her own when questioned about the technical side of things, and as of September she has been joined by a CTO and growing development team – personally, that Florian Douetteau is backing the project was enough to satiate my doubts.
Clustree’s vision is global – the search for talent is getting more competitive, and where better to look than inside your own camp. Traditional competitors in the Talent Management space – TalentSoft, SAP, SuccessFactors – focus on keyword search among employees, looking at self-identified skills and previous experience. Clustree excels in identifying potential outliers – sales people with the right profile to become Operations managements, or PR reps who could manage a new business line – giving them a big edge.
Nonetheless, the problem of cross-profession career paths is extremely exaggerated in France, where Sales people tend to stay sales people, and engineers tend to stay engineers. In addition, increased employment regulation means that identifying cross-profession opportunities can also help large corporations better manage a hiring freeze, while making sure they best use employees. If Clustree can prove itself with French multinationals (Clustree currently is running a pilot with a large multinational, with a pricing around 5€/employee/month), there’s no doubt that there will be opportunities in the US and around the world.