Australia-founded recruitment marketplace Paraform has raised $2 million in pre-seed funding as the startup looks to take on traditional recruitment agencies amid a wave of tech-industry redundancies globally.
Paraform, co-founded by John Kim and Jeffrey Li in 2022, has secured the investment from a host of Silicon Valley names including venture capital firm Primer Sazze Partners, which led the round.
The pre-seed round was also supported by the co-founders of US live streaming group Twitch, the leadership at Scale AI and venture capital firm Founders, Inc.
Paraform offers a marketplace solution for companies and recruiters that plans to shake up the way they source and secure talent by offering a ‘win-win solution for the supply and demand side of hiring’.
Paraform says that tech companies from ‘Brisbane to Silicon Valley can post bounties for open roles, and anyone – professional recruiter or otherwise – can collect it by successfully referring a candidate’.
The company says its platform gives companies access to a wider pool of talent through untapped networks and cost-competitive recruiters while also giving recruiters an opportunity to freelance.
“My goal is to make recruiting as easy as possible,” says Kim, the Paraform CEO.
“Given professional recruiters have a choice, I believe they’ll choose us over in-house or agency models.
“It's the classic question of being an employee versus running your own business. We are empowering recruiters to be independent, be their own entity, have the flexibility and freedom to work whenever they want and earn more per-hire than they make.”
Kim and Li founded Paraform at a time when widespread redundancies hit the tech industry in the US, leaving recruiters high and dry. Paraform was designed to offer recruiters an avenue to cash in on their professional networks to secure quality talent for companies.
The now US-based Kim already had experience in the space, previously establishing RulerNetwork with Wayne Zhou while they were studying at the University of Sydney.
RulerNetwork, a career consulting company that specialised in making graduates employable, was acquired in 2021 by edtech company Crimson Education before Kim headed for Silicon Valley with his idea for Paraform.
Paraform says it has scored early success with companies such as cloud services group Zeet, mortgage services company better.com and digital token management platform Magna in the US and with trading platform Mycelium in Australia.
“Paraform is a platform that looks to solve a problem for a symbiotic relationship: recruiters and companies,” says Primer Sazze Partners’ principal Kasey Roh.
“Its co-founders understand the market from both perspectives and have created a marketplace that serves the needs of the greater hiring market.”
Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin is also along for the Paraform ride as he sees scope for growth for the business in the wake of the shake-up in the tech industry's jobs market.
“When you look at the greater impact of these tech layoffs, an entire industry of people are at a loss,” says Lin.
“John and Jeff stumbled upon a need and developed a solution to help provide jobs and shake up a traditional industry. We believe in the power of the Paraform marketplace and the network it’s creating and are proud to back the company and its positive impact on recruiters and companies alike.”
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