Recruiting and talent analytics startup Sapia.ai, formerly known as PredictiveHire, has raised $17 million in Series A.

The round was led by Macquarie Capital and W23, the venture capital arm of Woolworths Group. The capital is earmarked for further overseas expansion, including making the platform available in multiple languages.

Sapia’s artificial intelligence powered automation platform is centered around a blind, untimed and asynchronous chat interview that transforms the speed and quality of hiring and removes biases from the hiring process.

Founder and CEO Barb Hyman said Sapia’s mission is “to make workplace equality a reality.”

“Our clients are seeing extraordinary results – and they’re seeing them fast,” she said.

“We give them data and insights that help them track fairness and bias in their decisions along the work journey. I’m delighted that Macquarie and Woolworths are investing in our technology – it’s an incredible endorsement for my team who have been committed to our mission from the start and we can’t wait to open up our technology to new markets.”

The Melbourne-based global company has seen its customer numbers more than double in the past year.

Dan Phillips, co-founder of Macquarie Capital’s VC, said his team was impressed and excited about how Sapia is using AI to give companies a better way to approach and resolve diversity and inclusion.

“We’ve all been talking about the value of diversity for a while now, but many companies are not yet equipped to drive real change. This is mainly because we don’t recognize our human biases,” he said.

“Sapia’s Smart Chat Interviewer has redefined what a fair recruitment process can be. It’s blind, it’s efficient, and it’s backed by valid, peer-reviewed science.”

Woolworths has been using Sapia.ai for 12 months for recruitment and W23 Director Ingrid Maes said the program has helped reshape the Group’s recruitment process and improved the experience of candidates applying for positions.

“Woolworths Group is always looking to recruit and we see tens of thousands of applications being processed in our supermarket business each year. This new technology has a positive impact on bias during the hiring process,” she said.

“Not only does it provide a flexible platform for our hiring teams, we are very pleased with the experience our applicants have in the process that ultimately delivers the hiring and equity outcomes we strive for.”

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