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Laid-off job hunters are sending a deluge of applications to tech companies still hiring during the coronavirus crisis, and a recruiter says ‘We can be very picky’ (AMZN)




  • Many companies have frozen or slowed down hiring during the coronavirus pandemic, but for the companies that are still hiring, recruiters are busier than ever.
  • Recruiters say that they’re seeing more candidates apply than before, and they’re also sourcing from lists of people who have been laid off.
  • They also say the priorities of candidates have changed, as they’re more interested in a company’s stability and less interested in perks like free lunch and commuter benefits.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Asana has been onboarding 15 to 20 new hires every week since moving to remote work in mid-March. 

Because there are now more people on the market, recruiting has become easier, says Kayla Vatalaro, global head of talent at Asana. Vatalaro estimates that Asana is reviewing eight times more applications now than just a month ago.

Not all tech companies are still hiring like Asana. Since the outbreak began, many companies have taken a hit and have had to lay off staff. But for recruiters at companies that are still hiring, work has only gotten busier because of the massive influx of candidates. 

Plus, recruiters now have to adapt the process to work virtually, while making sure they’re hiring a diverse team, conducting a fair process, and spending more time with candidates so that they feel more connected, Vatalaro says. And recruiters have noticed that the priorities of candidates have changed. Above all, they want to make sure they are joining a stable company.

“Humanizing our virtual process for us continues to be a top priority,” Vatalaro told Business Insider. “We’re making sure every touchpoint with our candidate feels personal. That extends all the way to our virtual onboarding experience.”

Likewise, the AI startup ArthurAI has been getting more inbound candidates than before, says Priscilla Alexander, co-founder and vice president of engineering at ArthurAI. Before, candidates often had multiple rounds of interviews with other companies and even multiple offers. But the market has completely flipped. 

“Previously since the response rate has been low, you’ve had to reach out to a lot more candidates,” Alexander told Business Insider. “Filling the recruiting funnel and doing recruiting outreach was the biggest part of the work. Now sourcing is really easy. We’re looking at all the candidates out there and filtering the ones we want to talk to. We can be very picky.”

The pace of hiring has changed during the coronavirus pandemic

At the staffing services company Collabera, hiring has slowed down because many of its clients have taken a hit and had to lay off staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of widespread layoffs across the industry, there has been a larger flood of candidates onto the market, and the number of open positions isn’t catching up. 

However, cloud, streaming, gaming, and remote work app companies have been more immune to the economic impact of the pandemic. 

“It’s made an interesting pivot,” Sam Plasman, senior manager of recruiting at Collabera, told Business Insider. “There are certain companies that are business positive due to corona. It’s making us all pivot into markets that are flourishing due to the pandemic.”

For example, because of the demand for its cloud computing services during the pandemic, Amazon Web Services says it’s still hiring at a “rapid pace.”

“Our recruiters are also dealing with many of the same issues our candidates are, and we strive to be flexible with hours in order to accommodate the changes,” Jay Shankar, vice president of global talent acquisition at AWS, told Business Insider in a statement.

Other companies that are still hiring are focusing on certain roles. Vatalaro says Asana is “full speed ahead” in hiring, although it’s prioritizing roles that help fulfill its short-term objectives, such as in product development, product management, and customer success.

Similarly, while it’s still hiring engineers, the AI startup ArthurAI has slowed down to focus on more marketing roles because it has “become more critical to get exposure to the market,” Alexander says.

The interview process has gotten faster

In some ways, the recruiting and interview process has gotten more efficient without the need to fly in and lodge candidates. Scheduling virtual interviews has become more flexible, but recruiting teams now have to prepare candidates by giving them an overview of the technology they need to use for an interview.

While these processes have been streamlined, many recruiting firms have had to deal with hiring slowdowns. 

As a manager, Plasman says much of his job now involves boosting employees’ morale because it’s not a “super happy-go-lucky bubbling time.” Some things he might do include starting a competition with incentives, encouraging team members to build each other up, and having more check-ins.

“Overall, most recruiting teams have seen a hit in terms of individual production and team production,” Plasman said. “That’s disappointing because a lot of what our compensation has been is personal production. All of a sudden you’re not producing at the same level, and it affects your morale too.”

Duolingo has not decreased or slowed down hiring, but the pressure is higher because so many companies are laying off staff, says Jocelyn Lai, director of talent acquisition at Duolingo. However, she says this helps her team feel that there’s more purpose in what they do.

“Whether it’s helping someone find a new opportunity or someone who got laid off, it’s an opportunity to help them find a job,” Lai said. “Morale actually goes up because our purpose is even bigger now.”

Recruiters will check lists of people who have gotten laid off

Companies will often put together lists and databases of people who have been laid off and circulate them to tech companies. During this time, recruiters frequently check these lists, and they will take them into consideration, knowing that these people are on the lookout for new opportunities. 

Alexander estimates that before, mostly found candidates through LinkedIn searches and referrals, and now it’s 90% through layoff lists. And while Plasman will reach out to engineers who just got laid off, he will also reach out to employees remaining at the same company because they’re likely to be strong talent, and they may be worried about another layoff round.

Kristine Ona, a talent acquisition partner at the student loan platform Earnest, says she also frequently receives emails from VCs and other connections who know people who got laid off and are now job seeking. 

“They made a point to connect people who they’ve laid off with other recruiters out there,” Ona told Business Insider. “It’s really interesting to see how companies are adapting to and dealing with the layoffs. It really comes down to how leaders approach this.”

Now, Ona says, there is plenty of good talent that is actively looking, and she will take time to connect with people on these lists. While Earnest has slowed down in hiring its business and marketing roles, it’s focusing on hiring tech talent. Ona says she has been doing triple the number of calls she normally does. 

“Even though it’s busy, it feels really rewarding to connect with some of them,” Ona said.

Office perks are becoming less important

Recruiters say candidates are less interested in learning more about perks like free lunch and commuter benefits, or even what the office looks like. Duolingo created an office tour video for candidates, but Lai says these types of perks have become less important “considering there are bigger societal pieces going on.” 

However, candidates may be interested in learning what companies do in lieu of those perks. For example, while office perks are less relevant at Asana, the company introduced benefits in mental wellness and virtual therapy. 

“The question around the company has changed,” Lai said. “It used to be what cool things we do as a company and now the question is how authentic are you as a company and how well are you taking care of your current employees. These employees want to know what do you do to care for employees.”

The priorities of candidates have changed

Because of layoffs, Plasman says that many potential candidates are now more “risk-averse,” especially if they work at large companies like Facebook and Amazon. They also want to make sure that the job they’re interviewing for won’t be eliminated later. 

“They’re second guessing if that’s the best move right now,” Plasman said. “During this specific time, they’re definitely evaluating the long-term potential or short-term potential of the product and company. Can it survive the pandemic, and can it survive another pandemic?”

Ona also noticed that more candidates are afraid to leave their jobs. Since Earnest has already been acquired, Ona says that one of its biggest selling features is that her company provides more stability. 

“For me, I feel like I have this duty to connect with people to find their next fit and be really self-aware and open about it,” Ona said.

Typically, there are two types of candidates, Lai says. One is risk-averse and does not want to make a move from a large tech giant because of its stability. The other type cares about the mission of a company. 

“We don’t force someone into a decision because it has to be the right fit, but we are honest about yeah, there are risks associated with leaving a big tech company,” Lai told Business Insider. “The trade off is there’s huge upside if you join us as the company grows…It’s definitely become more of a coaching process with candidates.”

Still, some candidates are willing to jump into a startup. Alexander, who works at an earlier stage startup, says the pandemic has allowed people to be more “experimental” with the next step in their careers. In general, will seek out candidates who are motivated to join a startup and motivated by its mission. 

That being said, Alexander says she finds more candidates who are willing to have a conversation from companies like Lyft and Uber that have been struggling during the pandemic, while people in more stable tech companies are less likely to budge.  

“A lot of companies, it’s hard to guarantee any stability, but I think folks who have a lot of stability in their current job, they’re just staying put,” Alexander said.

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at, Signal at 646.376.6106, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. 



The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more




Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.


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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery




Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.


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GenTech Proudly Secures Deal with TruLife Distribution to Drive Growth in SINFIT Digital Sales




Denver, CO, October 21, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE – GenTech Holdings, Inc. (OTC PINK: GTEH) (“GenTech” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in the high-end Premium Coffee (, Hemp Wellness ( and Functional Foods ( marketplaces, along with its SINFIT Nutrition brand (“SINFIT”), is excited to announce that the Company has signed a new marketing, sales, and distribution agreement (the “Agreement”) with TruLife Distribution (“TruLife”) (, a leader in marketing, distribution, compliance, e-commerce, and advisory services in the Functional Foods marketplace. The main focus of the new Agreement will be to accelerate the growth of e-commerce sales of SINFIT products, particularly over the platform.

TruLife provides direct access to sales on Amazon, Walmart, Rakuten, Wish, TopHatter, and other top e-commerce platforms, allowing clients to instantly list, ship, and sell products through any major platform, with an experienced team of experts and a proven track record of success in brand placement and digital sales strategies.

“We have already demonstrated a significant & expansive growth curve since taking control of the SINFIT brand in June,” commented Harold Vaca, VP Domestic Sales of SINFIT. “But the vast majority of that growth has been driven by large purchase orders from major distribution partners, both domestic and international. We are also committed to aggressively pursuing end-market consumer direct purchases through our e-commerce footprint, which will provide additional growth and diversify our cash flow ecosystem, making our overall strategy less dependent upon any one source of demand, while driving further growth in total sales.”

Management notes that e-commerce sales represent a sizeable portion of overall retail sales growth worldwide, with more than $3.5 trillion in online sales accounting for over 14% of total pre-pandemic global retail sales. Since the onset of the global health crisis, that ratio has shifted decisively further in favor of e-commerce sales, which is not likely to entirely revert back upon the advent of a viable and widely accessible vaccine.

Vaca added, “We have seen an epic process of market penetration for e-commerce platforms this year as major online retailers have begun to reach a much wider base of consumers – people who haven’t ever shopped much online, but have been forced to during recent months out of personal health concerns. Many of them will almost certainly continue to make use of e-commerce now that they have tried it out, at least to some extent, making e-commerce an essential sales channel for SINFIT products. TruLife has the network, team, experience, and resources to dramatically augment our e-commerce performance.”

SINFIT branded products registered over $2.2 million in global sales in 2019, and are now approved for sale and available for purchase on the and e-commerce platforms as well as in over 2,500 GNC locations in North America and over 10,000 global physical and e-commerce stores across more than 10 countries around the world.

SINFIT products as well-positioned relative to peers and to the long-term macro tailwind defining the functional foods market, which saw sales top $267 billion in February of this year on a global basis, with sales in the US reaching $63 billion, according to Euromonitor 2020. This trend is part of a larger supportive momentum in the general category, with global sales of organic food and drink topping $105 billion in 2018 (Ecovia 2019). U.S. organic food sales also reached $47.9 billion, up 5.9% in 2018 (OTA 2019). In 2019, 77% of U.S. adults used dietary supplements, an all-time high (CRN 2019). U.S. supplement sales are estimated to have reached $49.3 billion in 2019, up 6.2% (NBJ 2019).

About GenTech Holdings, Inc.:

GenTech Holdings, Inc. is a publicly traded company under the symbol GTEH. The Company launched a high-end Coffee Subscription service in early 2020 called Secret Javas, owns a Functional Food company, SINFIT Nutrition and recently closed its acquisition on Products-Groups’ “Hakuna Supply”.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including information about management’s view of GenTech, Inc.’s future expectations, plans and prospects. In particular, when used in the preceding discussion, the words “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “anticipates,” or “may,” and similar conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Any statements made in this news release other than those of historical fact, about an action, event or development, are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the results of GenTech, its subsidiaries and concepts to be materially different than those expressed or implied in such statements. Unknown or unpredictable factors also could have material adverse effects on GenTech’s future results. The forward-looking statements included in this press release are made only as of the date hereof. GenTech cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Finally, GenTech undertakes no obligation to update these statements after the date of this release, except as required by law, and also takes no obligation to update or correct information prepared by third parties that are not paid for by GenTech.

Corporate Contact:


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