Seattle-based recruitment automation startup Humanly has raised $12 million in funding to help develop its AI-powered software, according to a statement from the company.

Its technology is used by companies including Microsoft to screen candidates, schedule interviews, automate initial communication and run reference checks.

Humanly is investing in SMS chatbots that interact with job candidates, part of a wider rollout of new generative AI tools to help companies hire more efficiently.

The chatbot is trained using more than three years of Humanly’s hiring data, helping it respond to specific questions from job candidates. For instance, if it interacts with a job applicant in Colorado, the bot will recognize specific pay transparency laws in that state.

Humanly is also introducing AI analytics features for human-to-human conversations. These tools generate insights and send follow-up emails. The startup wants to solve an issue in the hiring process where only limited data is exchanged between a hiring manager’s bots, screening tools and interview transcripts. According to the company, this can make candidates feel they are being interviewed by three different sources.

The company also says its technology can help to reduce bias by removing a candidate’s name, gender, years of experience and more. Its tools maintain data from a candidate throughout the process.

“Any conversation you’re having with job candidates, via SMS chat bot or human, we want to be there and make those more efficient and more equitable,” said Humanly co-founder and CEO Prem Kumar, who is a former Microsoft employee and who co-founded Humanly in 2018 with Andrew Gardner and Bryan Leptich.

The startup reported it had a net revenue retention rat – revenue from existing customers – of 149% in 2022 and conducted more than one million candidate screening conversations and interviews.

Humanly raised $4.2 million in September 2021 in a Series A funding round led by Drive Capital, with participation from previous investors Zeal Capital Partners, Spark Growth Ventures and Basecamp fund. Total funding is now nearly $18 million. The new funds will be used to grow the company’s engineering and go-to-market teams.

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