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Draftboard lets companies list referral bonuses for anyone

Companies that offer job referral bonuses do so on the assumption that their employees best understand their work culture and the requirements of the position. But what if a company opened these referral bonuses to people outside the organization?

That’s the idea behind Draftboard, co-founded by Zach Roseman, the former CEO of mobile app development group Mosaic. Draftboard allows employers to post referral bonuses and let referrals compete to earn them by scouring their networks for talent.

“If you’re a large enterprise, you get thousands of resumes for every job you post,” Rothman told TechCrunch. “So you either have a huge team of talented people spending a lot of time researching everyone, or you’re spending six to seven figures a year on an AI screening solution that undoubtedly has big drawbacks, like Privacy, bias, errors, etc.”

Draftboard is Roseman’s first project after Mosaic and IAC. IAC is an American holding company that owns multiple consumer brands including Allrecipes, Handy and At IAC, Rothman serves as senior director of strategy and mergers and acquisitions, often having to find the right talent.

“The idea behind Draftboard was, why not leverage existing referral bonus programs and the power of the online world to identify the best candidates?” says Rothman. “You get a much smaller but much higher quality applicant pipeline – allowing you to hire faster.”

So how does the Scratchpad work?

scratch board

Image Source: Draft board

Draftboard is free to companies and notifies approximately 1,000 references (“scouts,” in Draftboard parlance) as they move through different stages of the company’s hiring process. Recommenders are rated based on the quality of their recommendations, and Draftboard takes a 20% cut of each referral bonus.

I asked Draftboard how it found its initial group of recommenders. Rothman responded, a cold call.

“We started by making calls to our network through WhatsApp groups, listservs, LinkedIn, etc. to people who run and own tech communities,” he said. “I’ll do discovery calls with them and ask them what their pain points are…The bottom line is, every time I’m on a call with a founder or talent trying to get their company listed for a position on Draftboard, it almost always ends up being They said, ‘I know three guys who would be great scouts – I’m going to contact them now.'”

Are there any requirements to become a recommender? That’s not the case, says Rothman – and it sounds like it could be a huge risk for the company. But he asserts that, in fact, it democratizes the process in a sort of meritocratic way.

“No Require Be a recommender — that’s by design,” Rothman said. “I thought, why not make the system data-driven and self-reinforcing? Companies set minimum scores; if your score falls below their minimum score, you can no longer send them referrals. So instead of regulating who can or cannot be a referrer from the top down, we let referrers self-regulate their behavior in a bottom-up fashion. “

But, you might say, doesn’t Draftboard essentially outsource headhunting and recruiting? Rothman claims that’s not the case—in fact, many recruiters support the platform, which they use to launch side hustles.

“Scouts run the gamut from substackers to recruiters to day-to-day employees at tech startups like Amazon, Spotify, Deel and TikTok,” Rothman said. “We believe referrals can and should be open to everyone, not just company employees – as long as you can control quality, which we do through our reputation scoring system.”

scratch board

Image Source: scratch board

This business model seems attractive to brands. Currently, there are about 70 on Draftboard, including SeatGeek, Via, and Formlabs.

This has obviously sparked investor interest as well. Draftboard has raised $4.1 million from investors including Founder Collective and Twelve Below, valuing it at $13 million.

“Job sites like LinkedIn, Indeed and ZipRecruiter exist to connect job seekers with companies, which has led to some fashionable incentives and selection biases,” Rothman said. “We don’t do that. Instead, we connect referrals with companies who bring talent—whether they are active job seekers or just passive recipients of opportunities.”

New York-based Draftboard, which has 10 employees, plans to spend most of its early funding on recruiting and growing both sides of its market — referrals and companies.

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