Outplacement ‘Disruptor’ Gets $4.6 Million Investment

PrintRiseSmart, a self-described disruptor of the “the $3 billion-plus corporate outplacement market,” announced this morning that it got a $4.6 million infusion of venture capital.

Norwest Venture Partners, a $3 million participant in an earlier round of financing, put in $1.8 million. The balance of $2.8 million came from new investor Storm Ventures.

Originally based in Dallas and now in Silicon Valley, RiseSmart cleverly developed a technology approach to classic outplacement, focusing on providing job leads, resume editing, and networking suggestions. Its Job Search Concierge uses offshore researchers to scour online sources for job leads matching candidate interests. Instead of searching, candidates spend their time contacting companies and networking.

The Job Search Concierge is a consumer-focused service which individuals in the $100k salary category can subscribe to for $43.95 a month. The service has been likened to The Ladders, with the searching and filtering done by others rather than the job seeker.

As a human-mediated job search service, RiseSmart doesn’t have a lot of competition. JobSerf, coincidentally also founded in Texas, searches and also applies for jobs on behalf of candidates. It charges either $49 or $98 a week, depending on the number of hours candidates want.

RiseSmart, however, packages Job Search Concierge with phone consultation, resume writing, a bio/profile for posting to social and business networking sites, and some career coaching to provide a low cost outplacement service it calls Transition Concierge.

Unlike classic outplacement services that provide a mix of  counseling, coaching, and personal career consultation, RiseSmart’s focus is on getting the outplaced worker a new job as quickly as possible.

Since the start of the recession, its target market has been companies with layoffs and staff reductions. RiseSmart says its client list now includes some of the Fortune 500.

The company got its first seed money of $1.5 million after its launch in 2007 from a group of recruitment industry heavyweights including Craig Stamm, former CFO at CareerBuilder.com and Headhunter.net, Mark Hamdan, founder and CEO of HRsmart, and Louis Ramery, senior vice president of relationship marketing at Sears Holdings Corporation.

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Its first A round in June 2008 brought it $3 million from Norwest Venture Partners (NVP).

NVP’s Venkat Mohan, who joined the RiseSmart board last year, said in a press release announcing the new round of investment, “RiseSmart has grown rapidly … The company has gone the extra mile to provide an excellent customer experience to both corporate clients and transitioning workers — and that has paid off in word of mouth and new business referrals.”

About the Author

John Zappe is contributing editor of ERE.net, and the former editor of the now closed Fordyce Letter. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. 

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

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