Follow-on round of €2.75m for HR-tech startup Equalture to fight biases in hiring

Equalture plans to further grow its international customer base, expand its library of game-based neuro-assessments, helping companies to evaluate candidates in an unbiased, scientific way.

Rotterdam, The Netherlands - HR tech startup Equalture has raised €2.75m funding to help companies make unbiased, science-backed hiring decisions, by trusting on neuroscience instead of gut feeling. 4impact first invested in 2020 with InnovationQuarter and 4impact co-invested in this round alongside Shoe Investments, the investment company of serial entrepreneur Pieter Schoen.

With this funding, Equalture plans to further grow its international customer base, and expand its test library of game-based neuro-assessments, helping companies to evaluate their teams’ and candidates’ (soft) skills and behaviours in an unbiased, scientific way.

The story behind Equalture

Equalture was launched in 2018 by co-founders and twin sisters Charlotte Melkert and Fleur Melkert, who had successfully run a recruitment agency before starting Equalture. The inspiration to start Equalture came from years of frustration the twin sisters experienced while running their agency: candidates being wrongfully and unfairly judged by potential employers based on their resume and appearance, rather than their personality, passions and talents.

Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder of Equalture, says: "In this era of rapid technological innovations that we are living, it is unacceptable that hiring decisions are still based upon subjective first impressions that we allow our own biases to create. In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci wrote the first resume, and up to this day, 540 years later, we still rely on CVs when judging candidates. The most ironic and sad part of this story is that we all know that CVs aren’t predictive of hiring success and heavily increase biases, but still we all stick to this screening method. Just because old habits are difficult to break through."

Diverse teams are a proven business case. According to research conducted by BCG, diverse teams generate 19% more revenue. With Equalture, Charlotte Melkert and Fleur Melkert help companies achieve this by providing all candidates with an equal opportunity to get hired, beyond what is written on their CV. Equalture has built a library of scientifically-validated gamified assessments that allow companies to get to know the cognitive skills, cultural preferences and behaviours of both their candidates and their current team. Candidates are asked to complete these gamified assessments (which take around 15 minutes) at the start of the hiring process. This ensures a first impression based on science instead of gut. We firmly believe that this will be the key to shaping a world of unbiased hiring, in which (neuro)diverse teams are a standard, rather than an exception.

Charlotte Melkert: "The proof that it works? We have a strong and fast growing customer base across Europe and obviously use Equalture for our own hires as well. Today, our team counts 31 team members that together represent 19 different nationalities, and consists of 52% women. A great recognition was the Dutch Diversity & Inclusion Award that we won last November.’’

Investors on Equalture

Ali Najafbagy, Managing Partner at 4impact says: ‘’Our partnership with Equalture started with our first investment in February 2020. Since then, the company has achieved strong growth and we are proud of the impactful work that the team delivers on a daily basis. With our follow-up investment, we support Equalture's unique tech solution and focus on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 5 (Gender equality) and 9 (Reduced inequalities).’’
Pieter Schoen, owner of Shoe Investments and serial entrepreneur, can't wait to start this adventure and reacts: “From the first moment I was charmed by the twins Charlotte and Fleur, and the CTO, Jaap. The enthusiasm and perseverance of the entrepreneurs radiates, and at Equalture I also see the most important investor-rule being confirmed: ‘Eerst de vrouw, dan het gebouw’, a Dutch statement which implies good management is the most important thing in order to build a successful startup. I admire how the team managed to grow Equalture so quickly and professionally in times of COVID-19, and I am fully confident this is just the beginning.”


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