Localized, a talent tech platform that connects top university students and alumni with employers and industry experts in emerging markets, has closed a $1.2 M round of funding with participation from a range of seasoned angel and institutional investors.
The Market: According to SIA, the global staffing market is a $466B industry. While roughly 6% is spent in emerging markets, this number is growing exponentially. From Amazon to Uber, companies are hungry to build their brands globally and hire talent in new markets as they expand. But finding talent is inefficient and hard.
Meanwhile, 100M students in emerging markets are enrolling in higher education and this number is also growing. But even at top business and engineering schools from Bangalore to Cairo, students lack access to industry insiders to answer their career questions and recruiters to help them land great jobs. College recruiting in emerging markets remains on-campus at in-person career fairs.
The Company: Localized unlocks educated talent for global companies. Incorporated in June 2017 and launched in beta last year, the company especially targets top STEM and business-focused universities. On Localized, employers recruit from schools without having to attend in-person career fairs; students get industry insights from top professionals who share language and roots.
Localized is live in the Middle East and North Africa in more than 65 career centers, universities and student organizations in Arabic and English and they’re expanding to India this year.
“I’m thrilled to be part of the Localized journey as both a Board member and investor through Next Wave. Ronit is an exceptional founder and has assembled the right team and solution to solve the global problem faced by growing companies in the war for talent. Localized enables access to universities in emerging markets starting with the MENA region, where 60% of the population is under the age of 30” says board member Heather Henyon. Henyon serves on the Investment Committee of Dubai Angel Investors and Next Wave Impact, is the founder of Women’s Angel Investor Network (WAIN) and founding partner of Mindshift Capital.
Investors: Seasoned angels and institutional funds in the career-tech, ed-tech and social impact space have joined this round, including:
– Sara Sutton, founder of Remote.co and Flexjobs.com
– Jim Hornthal, investor in Krave Jerky (Hershey), Zignal Labs, NeuroTrainer, GLIDR, KIND Snacks (Mars), YPO member, entrepreneur & author
– Esther Dyson, executive founder, Wellville; angel investor (including 23andMe, Flickr, Square, Meetup (sold to WeWork), Jump and geometric Intelligence (both sold to Uber), Yandex, SWVL); former chairman, EDventure Holdings/PC Forum.
– Jacob Hsu, Founder & CEO of Catalyte, former CEO of Symbio, Epitome Software.
– Next Wave Impact
Team: Localized’s team has extensive tech experience (10+ years at companies including TripIt-SAP Concur, Airbnb, Microsoft), emerging markets (a combined 30 years in education, business, media sectors), and career services. Localized advisors are part of the YPO, EO and YGL networks.
With their HQ in Washington, DC, team members work from Ramallah, Cairo, Amman, Bangalore, SF and NYC.
As companies expand globally, they need to find fresh talent quickly and efficiently. The talent is there but the connective tissue is not. Localized was built so the next generation of rising talent can access experts to guide them and employers to hire them
In an early closed pilot at Georgetown University with students from India, one Localized user said: “I joined Localized and found more useful information about breaking into the tech industry as a non-engineer than any of the resources I’ve seen at my school’s career center.” —Veer Parikh, 3rd-year student
Board member Mohannad El-Khairy who has built and invested in startups in both Silicon Valley and the Middle East, remarked: “Finding and recruiting the best new talent in rapidly developing economies hasn’t been easy. Localized launched so students can access growing professional opportunities regardless of where they live.”
“With a proven ability to develop innovative solutions, Localized will play a key role in shaping connectivity, mentorship and knowledge-sharing across the region. We are very excited to take part in Localized’s journey and hope that we will be able to contribute to its growth and success,” Tamer Al-Salah, Managing Director at Beyond Capital in Amman, Jordan.