Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 235. Today we’ll be talking to Amit from AngelList about the use case or business case for why his customers choose AngelList.

AngelList is the world’s #1 startup community specializing in remote and local technical talent and opportunities.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William

Show length: 24 minutes


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Amit Matani
CEO AngelList Follow Follow

Music: 00:02 Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen, when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup: 00:24 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Amit on from Remote by AngelList. So AngelList is like… everyone knows AngelList, but this is actually the talent part of the company that we’re going to be focused on. And I’m excited because I’ve always been curious about this part of the business of AngelList. So, I can’t wait to get into it and learn a little bit about the business case or the use case that folks use for Remote by AngelList. Amit, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself, but also AngelList?

Amit Matani: 00:59 Yeah. Thanks, William. Thanks so much for having me. So, my name’s Amit. I’m the CEO of AngelList Talent. We actually spun out of AngelList maybe about four years ago. I joined AngelList as the full company about nine years ago, but I’ve been working on the talent side of the product for the last eight years.

And what we do is we’re basically the biggest place in the world, the biggest job marketplace for startup hiring. So, tens of thousands of companies hiring on our platform with millions of candidates looking for jobs. And we offer basically a set of end-to-end tools to help startups hire as well as access to a really big talent pool for them to find the right match.

William Tincup: 01:35 I love this. And with that, founders can find co-founders as well.

Amit Matani: 01:41 Absolutely. Yes, yes.

William Tincup: 01:41 Right? When you say you spun out, you spun out as a separate company?

Amit Matani: 01:47 That’s right. So, we’re a fully separate company. So, you have AngelList Venture and you have AngelList Talent. And we’re completely separate companies where we live on angel.co, we focus on the talent marketplaces that we build, and then AngelList Venture focuses on the investments and everything else.

William Tincup: 02:02 Oh, that’s cool. I didn’t know that, And when did y’all separate?

Amit Matani: 02:07 About four years ago, And we finally finished a lot of that stuff over the last year or so. Spun down the parent company, and now there’s just a bunch of sister companies, essentially.

William Tincup: 02:17 That’s awesome. I wasn’t aware, but now I am, and that’s great. So, Remote, which is the talent part, the talent function, let’s start with the use case for why startups, what do they need from a product perspective, and how do they make the case for it?

Amit Matani: 02:41 Yeah. So, I want to talk about Remote by our AngelList Talent, the product that we’re announcing today. And it’s really a set of tools to help companies hire remotely in the U.S. and internationally. And there’s a bunch of them. You can use them on their own, the different set of tools kind of à la carte, or can use them as an integrated system.

And the use case I really want to talk about is using them as an integrated system, and the target market for that use case I really want to talk about is early stage startups. And so, these are companies anywhere from the two founders in a room to all the way up to like 50 employees. What’s unique about them is they have a hiring need and they can’t necessarily fulfill that with the talent acquisition system that they have in place. We also have bigger companies using the products, of course, but this is one that I’d love to talk about today.

So, when we’ve heard from founders and hiring managers at these types of companies, they really, really want to hire high quality engineers quickly. Right? They need them tomorrow or yesterday, really. But they don’t want to spend a ton of time doing it, either, because they got to build their companies. Right? And the biggest problem they’re facing right now is they’re just facing a lot of competition. Right?

So, if you’re a small company, you’re just getting started. Maybe you raise your seed, your series A. You’re competing against the big tech companies of the world who are offering like these massive salaries and stuff. And on top of that, you can’t compete. But also, if you’re in that seven by seven radius in San Francisco and you’re trying to compete against big tech, it’s just really hard. You have a small talent pool to be in, essentially.

So, I think, and we think at AngelList’s Talent, remote hiring is the solution to that problem, especially for startups. So, not just hiring engineers in the U.S., but also expanding your talent pool to the world, we think you can basically 100X the amount of people that you can go after. And we think that allows startups to move a lot faster, make their hires a lot faster, and extend their runways a lot longer.

But one of the things that we’ve seen when we talk to these companies is they just don’t know how to do it. People fit in a few buckets. One bucket is like, hey, I didn’t even know this was an option for me. Wow, this is amazing. Another bucket is like, I know it’s an option. I’m scared of it. Like not scared, but like, I don’t know where to start. I don’t want to do deal with legal or tax implications. I don’t want to figure out how to find and vet candidates. I don’t want to figure out what the culture differences are. It’s just too much. Let me just stick to what I’m currently doing.

And our goal with AngelList Talent was to solve all those things with an integrated system. And so, it breaks down into three big pieces, so finding the candidates, taking them through your process, and then ultimately hiring them. And so, AngelList Talent, we have millions of candidates around the world that have come to our platform to look for what’s next, be that contract job, a new founding a company, or even just getting a job. And so, we operate around the world already. And so, candidates are coming on trying to figure out what’s next.

And so, what we do is once they get on, we learn a lot about them. So, we learn about their skills. We learn about their past job history. We even do things like video assessments. We learn about their preferences. This is a really big piece, like what do they want in their next job? Some of the stuff that you learn in that first call, like why don’t we just capture early. Time zone stuff around Remote as well as like willingness to work U.S. hours, other metadata, even like have they worked at a U.S. startup before?

So, with all of that information, we can actually package these candidates up. They can apply to jobs, but we can package them up in a sourcing tool for you where you could have really great filters to find the best fit for you based on… I want to find somebody that’s works in U.S. time zone, that has worked in a U.S. company remotely before, and has four years experience. You can do that with our system.

On top of that, we layer on a layer of vetting, because we want to help you figure out, okay, look, this candidate actually went to one of the top schools in Brazil, let’s say, or worked at one of the best companies in Costa Rica. You might not know that as a talent professional, but we want to give you that information. So, really help that candidate stand out.

And so, and then on top of that, you find this candidate. We’ve done the vetting for you. You decide to reach out. You make a match. And then what we provide is a really… it’s a free applicant tracking system. It’s really simple. It’s like a kanban approach. And our idea here is like these companies might not be ready for the Lever of the Greenhouses of the world, but we want to give them a simple system so they don’t drop the ball on candidates. And in talent acquisition, we see this all the time. Somebody’s really excited, they reach out, they forget about somebody. And we want to make sure that you’re running a good process and so you can make that hire.

And then finally, the biggest piece, the thing that we’re actually… we just launched today, actually, is integration with payroll providers, international payroll providers. So, remote.com deal Panther. And what these integrations allow you to do is it allows you to actually hire any candidate that you find internationally directly on the product floor. And our partners will handle the legal implications, attack tax implications of actually hiring somebody so you can just bring them onto your team. And so, it’s a really simple system to find, track, and then ultimately hire international and local remote talent.

William Tincup: 07:45 So, I was going to ask you the question of like, what do they categorize you? First of all, I’ll start by saying I absolutely hate software categories, especially in our space. I hate them because the lines are just blurred. It’s sourcing, it’s screening, it’s assessment, it’s CRM, it’s ATS, it’s all those things. But as I listen to you, it really is for startups in particular. And again, anybody can use it. But for startups, it’s a full talent acquisition platform.

Amit Matani: 08:19 That’s exactly right. Right? I mean, at the end of the day, look, we live and die by the quality of our talent pool, the size of our talent pool. Right? So, you’re going to come on. You’re coming on to find really high quality talent. That’s what you’re coming to us for. And so, they’re using sourcing products to do that. And then we build a set of workflow tools around it. Because as you know, just finding somebody is just one part of the battle. Right? There’s so much that you have to do to get them to the finish line. And we just really want to make that super, super easy.

And especially if you’re a small company, and it’s like, I don’t want you to have to string together four or five different tools. And we give most of these tools actually away for free. It’s really the talent acquisition piece that… actually, we give a lot of that away for free, too. But that’s where we charge access to the talent pool.

William Tincup: 09:05 Right. Right, right. Right. So, with access to the talent pool, you also know what works with that particular group all the way down to the individual.

Amit Matani: 09:15 Yeah.

William Tincup: 09:15 So, if they’re opening up a position, a CTO position let’s just say, something like that, you know what works with that group so you can give them advice. And what I love about it is they don’t have to… You and I have been in talent acquisition for a long time, so we know all these lingo and terms and technology. They might not know any of that stuff. Like a founder might not know anything. They’re like, oh, we just posted on Craigslist. Like, oh, okay, well that’s one way.

But that’s what they know. They don’t go to these conferences or whatever. So, they need something out of the box that can help them. And especially with hiring being so hard right now, but it’s hard all the time. That’s the funny part about that discussion. Hiring is actually difficult all the time. It’s just right now it’s being highlighted.

Amit Matani: 10:07 I’ve never heard anybody say, “Oh, hiring’s super easy.”

William Tincup: 10:10 “Oh, super easy.”

Amit Matani: 10:10 I’ve just never heard it.

William Tincup: 10:11 “Oh my gosh. I had a glass of water and I hired someone.” It’s like, yeah, that’s not true. So, one of the things that I wanted to ask you is about comp and the importance of… Because you work both sides of the marketplace. You’ve got candidates that you care about. You’ve got obviously people that are hiring, the employers that are trying to hire these folks. Where do you see right now comp as a discussion point for both sides?

Amit Matani: 10:41 Yeah. So, I’m going to jump into this, but I really want to talk about the point that you just brought up about these founders that come in and don’t know much about what to do and how to do it.

William Tincup: 10:50 Right.

Amit Matani: 10:51 One of the things that we actually offer on top of what we do is a lot of support as our CSM team. And so, we’ll actually be with you all along the way talking you through like, “Hey, that strategy that you’re taking doesn’t make sense,” or, “Have you tried this?” In fact, we actually even have sourcers on staff that we can assign to the company so we can actually do some of the work for them.

And so, all you have to do is tell us what you want, we’ll run the system for you. And all you have to do is give us a calender link and great candidates will show up in your calendar, which makes things… If you’re a founder, you got other stuff to do, this is amazing. You don’t have to touch a product, which people really, really like. And we found that to be really awesome. Because we are able to convince founders like, look, they’re not making good decisions when it comes to hiring. It’s like, oh, I’m only recruiting from this school.

William Tincup: 11:35 Right.

Amit Matani: 11:35 And our CSM will be like, “Look, why don’t you talk to this person? They’ve done well on this assessment. They might be outside of your thing, but you should talk to them.” And the best part, the best feeling we have is like when that person comes back and they’re like, “Oh my God, you’re so right. I was being dumb before.” And I think that’s been really great experience for us.

But when it comes to salary, so it’s interesting. I think salary’s more important than ever. So, we ask our candidates all the time. We try to figure out what’s important to them because we want to be able to collect that information from companies and candidates to make better matching. Right? And compensation’s always a big piece. But a lot of people treat it more as a hurdle, especially on the engineering front, as a hurdle to cross.

And yes, then it gets important after that. But once you cross the hurdle, people have other things in mind of, like, for example, is this company filled with people I’ll learn from, or are we doing something that potentially changes the world, and does the engineering team work the way I want to? So, it’s a really, really big piece everywhere still. But I think one of the things that we found is it’s more of a hurdle to be crossed than like, I want the absolute best number.

William Tincup: 12:44 Right. I love that. Okay. So, I’m going to switch to a couple buying questions and the buying side of things. When your team shows Remote to… because founders are also hard to pin down, as you know, and get on the phone call or get on a demo. And so, they’re busy, et cetera. But when you do get them, and you get them and you show them Remote, and your team shows them Remote for the first time, what do they fall in love with?

Amit Matani: 13:14 Yeah.

William Tincup: 13:14 And the other side of this is what is your favorite part?

Amit Matani: 13:17 So, I gave away my favorite part, which is the CSM piece, but I’ll talk a little bit about what it’s like when they get on a call. So, part of the thing is like, look, AngelList Talent has been the place where a lot of startups just know that they have to go to recruit. So, all of our leads are actually completely inbound. So, they come to post jobs for free on our platform. And then they’re going through the thing. They’re starting to do some of the sourcing. And they’re like, look, this is a lot. I want to try something that will be a little bit easier. So, we upsell them into some of our calls, and they start talking to our team.

So, the biggest things they walk away from, they’re like, look, I just don’t have time, and I’m not getting great quality. So, how do you solve this for me? And we take them through the products. The big pieces they open their eyes to is the looking for section and the ideal next opportunity section, which really tells the person like, look, this is what I’m looking for next. It’s really telling them like, look, you can spend a 30 minute call with this candidate. You can go over what they’re looking for.

But we’ve all been on these calls where you get it on the phone with somebody and they totally don’t want what you’re selling at all. And I would’ve rather spent that time with a candidate that really was excited about what we were doing. And so, that section really, really helps. That’s a big piece.

And the other big piece is just the quality of the talent pool. Time and time again, they’re just like, we’re seeing such a great talent pool here. It’s second to none. And people are actually responding to us. That’s the other big piece that they’re super excited about. So, quality candidates, responsiveness, and then ultimately getting that leg ahead on what the candidate’s actually looking for in their next role.

William Tincup: 14:50 So, again, you’re dealing with an audience that this isn’t what they do full time.

Amit Matani: 14:55 Yeah, yeah.

William Tincup: 14:56 And so, the education part is really super important. What are buying questions if founders are listening, and founders are listening to this?

Amit Matani: 15:07 Yeah.

William Tincup: 15:08 So, as they listen to this, what should they be asking when they’re looking at Remote?

Amit Matani: 15:13 Yeah.

William Tincup: 15:13 What are the types of questions? And even in particular, what are questions that you love to hear?

Amit Matani: 15:18 So, we have anywhere from founders… I mean, we have companies like even Amazon that use our product. Right? So, it’s all in between. But for the founders in particular, some of the questions they should be asking, they need to be asking, is like really try to understand the types of roles they’re trying to fill. A lot of founders will come in and they just have a general, like, hey, we just need an engineer. Right?

William Tincup: 15:38 Right.

Amit Matani: 15:39 When you actually drill down, sometimes it’s like, look, I have this crazy preference of… not crazy, but I have a very specialized role that I need to fill with someone 10 years experience that have done PHP and Go and Rust and all this other stuff, which really limits that pool down.

And so, the questions they need to be asking really is like… Be very clear on what you want, then ask us can we actually fulfill that. And in a lot of cases, we really can, better than a lot of places. But I think that’s one of the big questions that I think people should be asking. And then people do. It’s like, what is the size of the talent pool that you have? Because ultimately, to make matches, you have to have the talent on the platform.

William Tincup: 16:16 Right. They wouldn’t ask this, but you and I would probably think about it. It’s the engagement of that audience.

Amit Matani: 16:24 Absolutely.

William Tincup: 16:26 It’s size of engagement. Go ahead.

Amit Matani: 16:27 No, I’m sorry. Sorry to cut you off, but that’s exactly it. So, when I talk to my team, when we talk about how we can differentiate ourselves. Look, LinkedIn has all the candidates. It’s already there. Right? And so, if you staff a bunch of people on this, why would you use our product on top of that?

And we have to win in two places. Number one, we have to have candidates that are an order of magnitude more relevant, so good fits for you, and an order of magnitude more responsive. Right? So, for our side, we want to get 40% of your pitches, we want them to be matches at least, versus a 10% pitch or whatever the pitch to response rate on LinkedIn. So, it’s really making sure you’re getting those responses from candidates.

Because otherwise, yeah, why are you going to throw a bunch of work in a place where no one’s just going to respond? That’s a huge pain, and nobody wants to do that. And so, that’s something that when people ask like, are these people going to respond to me? That’s one of my favorite questions because we really focus on that. And the talent that we have on our platform has opted in to work at world changing companies, technology companies, startups. And so, they’re generally much more responsive to them on our platform than others.

William Tincup: 17:35 I love this. So, the next part of this is case studies without names. I don’t know the brands and the names and stuff like that. But when you’ve envisioned and you’ve worked on Remote and the product for so long, you get to see how people use it. And sometimes that’s exactly the way you thought that they were going to use it, and sometimes they blow you away with a new way that they use the tool. So, take us into a couple of different ways that you love the way that that Remote has just changed lives for candidates and employers. What are some of those stories?

Amit Matani: 18:15 I mean, the amazing stories are hearing from companies that are just having such a hard time hiring locally, and then starting to open up a global pool and just making hires within weeks. Right? And we’ve been doing Remote… so, we’ve offered a set of tools that are new and improved right now. But AngelList Talent has been working on Remote before it was hot.

William Tincup: 18:38 Right.

Amit Matani: 18:39 Because ultimately, startups need an edge. Right? They can’t just do everything that everybody else is doing, and they’re always looking for that edge. So, we were doing Remote stuff maybe four or five years ago. Some of our Remote filters started showing up. And so, we have a massive amount. I think even before the pandemic roughly 40% of our jobs were open to Remote. Now it’s like 60% or 70%. But we have thousands of hires every single month around the world. And a lot of these, a large percent of them, are people across borders finding jobs.

And I think that the awesome thing that I’ve seen when these types of things happen, it’s just like people were just having such a hard time finding talent locally. And they just increase the size of the pool. And now they were able to move much, much quicker. And they’re always blown away by the level of talent, too. I think people don’t realize how far the tech ecosystem has really grown everywhere. And people are always just really excited about the level of talent they can see. So, that’s one of the things.

And so, the best case studies that I see is we get companies on. They start posting their jobs. They start switching over to Remote and across all of our products. They’ll get applications from international candidates where they hire. They’ll source international candidates where they hire. Using all of our tools and then ultimately making hires off of them, it’s really cool.

And we have companies that are doing 20, 30 hires in the course of a few months on our platform across all these different tools. And I don’t know. It’s always awesome when you like meet a founder and like, yeah, I built my entire team on AngelList. Or you talk to somebody and they’re like, I got my last three jobs on AngelList. In a world where there’s all sorts of different things to work on, getting people jobs, helping people build teams, it’s a good feeling.

William Tincup: 20:17 Oh my God. Yeah. Again, you’re doing good work, and you’ve been doing good work with AngelList who’s been doing great work in the startup community for forever. That’s been a part of the brand.

I want to go back to the tools part and break that out, because I didn’t do a good enough job back then in the conversation of what are the different parts. Because it’s a suite, and we talked about it as a platform. But then you also said, if you just want to use this part of it, you can use that. And I didn’t do good enough job. Take us through the different parts of the suite.

Amit Matani: 20:50 Yeah. So, if you’re an early stage company, you probably don’t have a ton of talent acquisition tools on that you’ve started using. So, you can come to AngelList Talent. We’ll basically allow you to post a job for free. Actually, you can post jobs for free forever. Create a company profile for branding. Get these applicants through our applicant review system and respond to them. Then you can track these candidates through our free ATS called Track. And then the final thing is you can source candidates from our talent pool.

And then finally the thing that we launched is actually you can hire them directly on our system. So, for free in less than five minutes, and we hear this all the time, a founder can go from nothing to a ATS job hosting, branding, and talent pool system in five minutes. Right? You can get that all done really, really quickly for free. And so, we offer that to our early stage companies.

And so, we have 40,000 companies with jobs posted that use some subset of these products. But once the companies get bigger, they don’t need all these tools. They graduate to Greenhouse, they graduate to Lever or whatever. And that’s perfectly fine. We love that. Right? And then you’re staying here for the talent pool.

So, we have really good ATS integrations that basically bring in your jobs. If you source people on our platform, we’ll send them to your ATS. So, for those early stage companies, it’s that high end-to-end toolkit. For the later ones, it’s all about sourcing and just essentially talent acquisition.

William Tincup: 22:17 I love this. So, last thing is the metrics that you look at.

Amit Matani: 22:20 Yeah.

William Tincup: 22:21 Is it the number of jobs posted, the number of candidates in the pool? What employers using the system? What’s the metrics or the data that you’re looking at?

Amit Matani: 22:36 Yeah, so I’m a huge data nerd. I probably spend more time in our database tool than I think our data team does, and maybe they’ll back me up on that. But the most important thing that I like to watch is number of hires, basically. So, hires across the platform, how many people are getting hired, and where are those hires happening? Now it’s a lagging metric. Right? It might take 60 days from a match.

And so, the other metrics that I spend a lot of time looking at is number of candidates and number of companies that are making a match. So, basically the value on our platform is you find somebody, but that person then responds to you. Right? So, how many people are we providing value to every day, where are we providing the value, which marketplace is providing the value, and are those things growing?

I’d love to watch more deeply down the funnel. Right? Like, oh, are phone calls happening? Are offers getting scheduled? But matching is the last thing where we have really perfect data on, and so that’s the biggest thing that I’m watching. So, specifically number of companies, number of candidates that are making a match, because that’s the number of people that are seeing value in our product.

William Tincup: 23:42 I love that. Amit, I love what you’ve built. I love it.

Amit Matani: 23:47 I’m glad to hear it.

William Tincup: 23:47 I love it. And I’m so glad that you carved out time for us, the audience. Thank you so much.

Amit Matani: 23:52 Of course. Thanks for having me.

William Tincup: 23:54 Absolutely. And thanks, everyone, for listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.

Music: 23:59 You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up at recruitingdaily.com.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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