Win-Win: How Large Enterprises And Small Startups Can Partner For Success With Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf And Ruti Arazi
So, are you ready for a brain-boosting conversation with the leaders of the tech world? Join us on a thrilling journey with Ruti Arazi and Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf as they reveal how their partnership blossomed from an intriguing innovation session. Prepare to be awed by Isabelle’s startup that’s transforming the HR landscape with ethical AI, enabling faster hiring and prolonged retention of employees. On the other side, Ruti shares her wisdom about collaborating with innovation centers to inject external technologies into large corporations. With the right mentality and mutual respect, any two organizations can partner for success!
We’re not stopping there! Brace yourself for an enlightening discourse on the dynamics of partnerships between startups and mammoth enterprises. Learn from Isabelle and Ruti’s experiences about risk management, fostering innovation, and the criticality of transparency in these alliances. They also dish out valuable nuggets on creating business cases and running pilot projects. Discover how an innovation center can be the perfect bridge between startups and large enterprises. This is more than just a tech-talk; it’s a deep delve into the worlds of startups, corporate collaborations, and the transformational power of innovation. Tune in and get ready to have your perspectives broadened!
Listening Time: 23 minutes
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Win-Win – How Large Enterprises And Small Startups Can Partner For Success With Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf And Ruti Arazi
William TIncup: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to the Recruiting Daily Podcast. Today, we have Rudy and Isabel le on and our topic is win how large enterprises and small startups partner for success. Topic I haven’t covered, but I would like to because I do a lot of work with startups. So this is gonna be a lot of learning for me. So when we do introductions, why don’t we start Ruti? Would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and then Isabelle?
Ruti Arazi : Great to be here. Love [00:01:00] your podcast. I’m from a large corporation and I’m part of an innovation center. And I’m also founder of a community of other innovation centers of other corporations.
William TIncup: Cool. All right. We’re going to talk more about that, Isabelle?
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: And I’m super happy to be here. I’m Isabelle, I’m the co founder and COO of Retrain AI. I’ve been in the interaction of people in tech for many years. My first company was also in the same domain of HR tech bringing contingent workforce together with job opportunities.
It was when I was 24, sold it three years after. And since then I was a wealth manager, basically investing in early stage tech startups. So done that for 12 years. And here again, with Retrain. ai, which is a startup in the HR tech domain that is a talent intelligence platform. That leverages the power of ethical AI, responsible AI, as they say to help HRs [00:02:00] retain longer their employees and hire faster and bring them into the future of work.
So you’re happy to be here.
William TIncup: So you look at Talent Intelligence as as again, the connective tissue between TA and HR.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: TM, TA, L& D. Really bringing those, there’s a lot of data right outside, external to the organization, within the organization. I call it the DRIP problem. DRIP means data rich, information poor.
So you have a lot of data, but you’re not using it. It’s all siloed. It’s not disconnected. So we’re actually taking all that data, billions of data points and bringing them together in that platform. It’s exactly like ChargeGPT is doing, but only on specific labor market data. So understanding that in the lens of skills, we’re able to help HRs specifically talent acquisition to help hire faster, right?
Taking all those CVs and quickly rank them based on unbiased technology, but also look internally to the [00:03:00] organization and also look who is a good fit for that as well and connect them to other job opportunities, not just job, social growth opportunities, learning and mentorship and so forth projects. So taking all these data points and connecting that those silos that you see in organizations and have that intelligence infused in all the HR functionalities.
William TIncup: I have a ton of questions, but we’ll save that for another podcast. Rudy, I did have a question on your innovation center. So the work that you do. Inside your own company, but also the work that you do with other folks that are like you what do you, what are you looking at?
What’s when you get together with your peers, is it tech? Is it process? Is it.
Ruti Arazi : So I have to say there’s not one answer for that. It’s not the same definition of each company corporation. Everybody likes innovation, right? So they have innovation centers but they each have different KPIs.
The most basic thing that [00:04:00] everybody does is connect. External technologies into the corporations for whatever reason for processes for and in our case with our connection to Isabel is for the HR process, et cetera. Other innovation centers have to their CVC. So they invest in startups.
A lot of companies acquire wire technologies, external technologies. And some of the innovations centers also work on internal innovation.
William TIncup: So I would assume that you look at a lot of technology is just part of the job, right? You’re always searching, looking for, how do you, outside of product hunt and angel list or, some of the other kind of usual suspects, crunch space.
Good Paul. Where do you find new tech? So actually,
Ruti Arazi : you know what, yeah, so that was why a friend of mine and I. founded our community of we call it innovation [00:05:00] hunters. It’s basically for that specific reason because these scouting processes are much better when they come with recommendations.
It’s basically a group where people just say, I’m looking for a technology that does X, Y, Z, and everybody wants to share their work. It’s not a competing
William TIncup: process. It’s I like that a lot. Cause it contextualizes things. I found retrain dot AI and here’s what it does.
I love that. That’s cool. All right. How did y’all partner? And you don’t have to get down to, all those specifics and single stuff like that, but just a, you found each other somehow.
Ruti Arazi : No, but I have to, I have a great story about retrain. So we reached out. I think it was us that reached out to you guys as a bell.
Yes. Part of our, I think I see our innovation center as like a marketplace. So we have to know that. Technologies that are out there. So we do all sorts of events and stuff to get to know the [00:06:00] ecosystem, but we also have to know the people inside, see inside the companies we work for. And and we have two kinds of customers, employees and technologies.
And one of the things we do to get to know the employees is do innovation sessions. So we choose a vertical, and in this case it was HR, and we decided to bring three technologies to pitch to anybody that was interested, not only people from HR. It was an hour spent where they did a non sales pitch explaining how their technologies work, etc.
And people spent that hour just… Just being inspired and in retrain’s case, it just progressed to to a deeper relationship.
William TIncup: It’s interesting. And I want to get Isabelle’s take on this because if it’s more comfortable when you’re not selling, we’re just saying hey, there’s what we do, you
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: know, [00:07:00] yes.
And also because we’re selling something so innovative and AI now everybody’s talking about it, but two years ago, three years ago when we started, it was still educational sales, right? I was consulting, I was more kind of a. Someone to explain sometimes to people that really are afraid of AI.
So that’s the way we sell into those enterprises. We really educate and now chat GPT was the best marketing campaign I could never afford. So everybody’s talking about it and I am still doing a lot of education, but now there’s a demonstration of the power of AI. My research also, my, I did a master of science at NYU about risk management and my research was about the risks of AI.
And so I come from this and I love to talk about it. I think it’s super important to understand that AI is a tool and you need also to have the right tools and Responsible AI was the [00:08:00] forefront of everything we’ve done. We’ve embedded in our products, those rail guards. To how to safeguard that technology.
So now everybody wants to hear about it, and that’s how we sell.
William TIncup: So let’s dig into some of the things that can happen. , and in your case, did happen. Once, sometimes when larger organizations look at startups, they, they kinda see ’em as a not stable or not as stable, and so it creates a kind of an awkward recovery relationship.
And so I want to figure out the, how did y’all kind of bridge. If it was that they’re a and
Ruti Arazi : I’d like to take this one because we’re playing. It was irregular, but I have to say the relationship between startups and corporations. Is a tough one corporations, like I said, to say that they’re, innovation, but the processes and the incentives of people and, connecting to their data, these are difficult [00:09:00] things.
They have all these obstacles along the way. And the, even the time it takes for processes to happen. Are horrible. And you have to be a very you have to be able to fail in our, in, in our case from our side and the startups, they have a tougher time and with retrain, it was a bit easier because they had the bandwidth to work with large corporations.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: We work with governments and enterprises. We did
William TIncup: come if you can work with government, you can work with
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: government proof. Totally. Totally. But I agree with routine. It is a risk for both sides because we take that leap of faith that, it’s going to convert. We’re going to expand in your organization.
And sometimes organizations have a lot of requirements. They want us to do a lot of things that are not necessarily what we do. And then when we deal with a Fortune 500[00:10:00] so then you’re making sometimes those customizations, which no startup wants to do. So you need always to mitigate those risks.
And from the other perspective, from an organization such as Seagate or other organizations, there’s a lot of risk into sharing. Data into capacity wise, right? It’s actually dedicating time to that startup to work with them. It’s a team that is going to be available to do that together.
Ruti Arazi : So
William TIncup: the startup gets, both parties win, right?
So the large enterprise gets innovation that, again, it’s either a make versus buy. They could probably do this themselves. However. Startups are out there creating kind of cool stuff. So they get innovation. It’s like a, B12 shot. So they get innovation. Startups get customers, users partners, all of that other stuff.
Ruti Arazi : logo on
William TIncup: their website. A logo on their what? Yeah, a logo on their website that helps with everything.
Ruti Arazi : After that, with everything, funding,
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: [00:11:00] credibility, funding, other customers. It’s a
William TIncup: talent talent attraction. Stuff like that, because logos that, you know, or that you respect or whatever.
It’s if they respect them, then obviously they’re doing something right. A question about speed that I usually get, because I advise startups is startups want to move really fast. And some of that’s just because that’s just how they are. And that’s just the bit they want to move fast.
They want to get, they want to be.
Ruti Arazi : Market is,
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: Yeah. Not waiting for
Ruti Arazi : it.
William TIncup: No, it’s not. So in, in large enterprises, at least my experience with large enterprises is things, decisions take longer. Like things that you would do at a startup. Okay. tagline. That’s maybe two meetings and done.
Put it on the website. In a large organization, that’s not a two meetings deal. So like, how did y’all, first of all, was that a thing? Was [00:12:00] speed a thing between the two of you? And if so, how’d you resolve it?
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: I can talk in generally how it works. I think when we work with enterprises, we know already what to expect.
We have that maturity already to understand that it’s not going to be how we want it in terms of timeline, but we what we’re doing. It’s really have a very clear understanding of the timeline, so defining everything and structuring everything, having a framework of scope deliverables timeline like it’s a project.
So we want to have a very tight project management. So everybody understand the expectation. We’re setting also KPIs for everything has to be super defined, super clear. What’s in it for them? How is this perceived as a success from both sides? And so if we agree on all that, that really is much faster.
I would say that I COVID kind of accelerated a lot of the processes in organizations. It made them realize their need was [00:13:00] accentuated, right? So in COVID, when we started actually, it was… In the midst of COVID. So organizations that are usually very slow and lengthy and complex and bureaucratic found ways even the government that I’m talking about to get budgets to get people to solve that.
And I was amazed to see how it can work with those kind of traditional organizations and HR is a function that is you. Typically traditional to be super innovative, super open, super agile. So we we found it’s for us also to find the ones that have that ability, that have the thinking to looking forward, that the forward looking is thinking and are looking forward to work with to working with startups and be a fast paced organization.
Ruti Arazi : I, I wanna give another angle, sorry. Yeah. I think the role of the Innovation Center is to represent both sides and to walk them hand in hand and to mediate this gap between the time that it [00:14:00] takes , and the, all the obstacles. So that’s our role, like to help startups. We, I, we feel like we represent the startups as much as we represent our own company, because we don’t want, we don’t want to do any harm to those startups that are less mature than retrain.
And but they do need us as a customer,
William TIncup: right? What’s both y’all’s takes on pilots. I get this all the time here in the States is like a large company loves what they see, but they’re not really sure if their people are going to use it. Yeah
Ruti Arazi : it has to start with the pilot, call it a POC, a proof of concept.
And I think the most important thing is defining everything before you begin. What’s the defining, what success, how long these things should take, how much it’ll cost the company afterwards. Everything should be predefined. And then that’s the [00:15:00] only way to start a relationship. I agree.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: A lot of clarity and transparency.
William TIncup: When you think about the business case. First of all, do you need to, do you need to make a business as an innovation leader, do you need to make a business case for why you should, the company should okay. So in doing so, do you think about adoption? Like you, do you think of. How many people are actually going to use it, how much they’ll use it, et cetera.
Do you, is that one of
Ruti Arazi : the, it’s not really my role because one day I work with startups that are in the HR vertical and another time be something in related to factories. So I’m not a professional here. Sometimes startups approach us and we try to connect them to the right person.
But the best way to collaborate with startups is if someone from the company comes to us and says, I have this and this problem, and we have to show them what their ROI is like, this will save you [00:16:00] this much money, this much manpower. Exactly this much time
William TIncup: And Isabel, do you have a hand in kind of building some of that math?
Of course, I
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: actually build it for them because I found that they’re struggling with doing this. And I’m always thinking, I’m telling them, you need to get the CEO’s approval, the CFO’s approval. They don’t care about those metrics that you do. They care about saving. They care about bringing more revenue.
Yeah, their language. Let me show you the calculation of what it’s gonna what is in it for you as an organization in terms of money. And though I do that calculation for them and actually sometimes prepare slides for them to present because again, it is a different language and they’re learning it. I think everybody now HR specifically in my domain.
They’re learning more about. These things again post COVID you had to do that. Definitely I’m helping on that. And I actually also say, Hey, guys, before we start, I know it’s hard. Sometimes they [00:17:00] have ideas, not really very defined ideas of we have a challenge. That’s really understand the challenge.
Break it down into Really small atomic level of challenges so we can solve all these challenges. We can understand exactly the problem and show you how we solve it and the KPIs are defined. So do your homework and understand exactly what’s the problem you want to solve and then we can help much better.
William TIncup: So I wanna get both. Yeah. Great.
Ruti Arazi : Sorry. I have to say that Isabelle is totally right about her case. But she’s, Al Retrain is also a good listener. And the com the startups have to be good listeners to the corporations pain points, right? And vice versa. Nobody knows everything. And sometimes people come from a very I would say knowledgeable place like they, they think they understand the need.
But I think, yeah, I think you need to be a good listener.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: You need to be also humble, because, [00:18:00] and by the way, we’ve learned also, because we did think that we understand. And sometimes, we need to listen much more. So we’ve learned, and now we’re really doing that discovery. That’s the stage of discovery that we’re doing much more now.
And we want to learn more about the needs of the clients, and put it in the product.
William TIncup: What I love about what both of you have talked about is you’re not in a rush. You are in a rush. Isabel, I understand the pressure that you’re under specifically, but you’re, the thing is if you slow down it’s like the old adage go slow to go fast, right?
So if you slow down and listen and restate the problem, this is what I think I heard you say. Is this correct? Great. And oh, by the way, that can change. You can get success into a project or into working with each other and go, Hey, we thought we had this problem and we’re, we’ve attacked that we’ve discovered we have another problem that’s tangential.
I see startups also being relatively not just great listeners, but being relatively [00:19:00] agile in working with large companies. I want to get both your takes. Okay.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: No. And I think it’s an amazing opportunity to have a high friction with your users, right? So we are trying to get out of this the most as we can learn from them and sit with them and get into their day to day, into their brains, really understand how they operate.
So for us, it’s. The best exposure we can hope for the only thing, as you said, we have a timeline, we have the market investors, competitors, right? Other customers. So putting all those limitations into that’s the challenge. How do we do that in a short time to show that value that we’re bringing,
William TIncup: right?
It’s almost like the iceberg approach where you, with the problem, you bite off that. The above the water. I wanted to ask you both a question around testimonials and references and referrals and [00:20:00] things like that, because it’s something. With startups that I would interact with, not only do they want to do business with large enterprises because of all the reasons we’ve talked about, but they also want to as best they can again, assuming great work, let’s just assume technology worked out, the relationship worked out, all that stuff, which else take on just like testimonials, referrals, Hey, I know this other person has a similar problem, that type stuff, or even references, Hey, we’re late stage with this other large company, would you take a call?
Stuff like that. It’s
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: super, super important, super critical when you actually start the relationship in the engagement itself starting a pilot, we do have that ask to be a full partner on marketing, on references, recommendations. I had actually a very interesting the first conference we did as a AI.
And I’ve asked some of our customers to participate together [00:21:00] with the We had a session with the commissioner of the equal employment opportunity, the federal commissioner in the States. And we talked about responsible AI and some of our partners, our companies that we work with came to speak and talked about the general problem about how they work with us, how we’re solving those problems.
It’s a demonstration really to other companies of how you do it. And again, because it’s an innovative. And the technology we’re bringing is super advanced. You want to show those use cases, those successful stories of what ROI did for your peers, how it can help you. You’re translating this, how can you really do the same?
So it’s super, super important at this stage. This is really one of the benefits of doing those
Ruti Arazi : pilots.
William TIncup: Rudy, internally, sometimes there’s friction with PR and legal at least I’m getting here. I’m, in the States, I had four walls in the States, right? So I tell people all the time, like this, where great marketing [00:22:00] ideas go to die is legal and PR.
So if you’re asked, how do you navigate that? Cause again, you’re not just doing HR.
Ruti Arazi : We don’t get asked because we say it ahead of time that we would love to do. Oh, cool. Co marketing initiative. The thing is. We developed a shorter process to overcome the legal, not the legal, but the marketing side.
We get approvals fast, but we call it there was some legal issue. We call it a POC or case study, POC case study. So it’s not like we, it’s important not to say that we’re in a relation, in a relationship. But it’s a win for both sides because it portrays us as an innovative company as well.
So we were all for it.
William TIncup: Yeah, I could see that because the innovation could get trapped internally and they’re just never. Communicated externally but done well with your company and also some of the other companies in your community. It’s a, [00:23:00] it’s again, it shows that you’re doing great work and people are attracted to that.
I could talk to y’all forever and unpack this, but I know y’all have other things to do today. So thank y’all so much for coming on the podcast. Thank you. Our pleasure.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: Absolutely. Thank you so much. I also enjoyed just to talk to Ruthie, so you gave me another opportunity.
Ruti Arazi : This is
William TIncup: just an excuse. Totally.
Y’all have a wonderful day and thanks for everyone listening. Thank you.
Isabelle Bichler-Eliasaf: Thank you so much.
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.