Moka, a startup that wants to make talent acquisition a little more data-driven for China-based companies that range from smartphone giant Xiaomi to Burger King’s local business, announced Monday that it has raised a 180 million yuan ($27 million) Series B round of funding.
The deal was led by Hillhouse Capital, an investor in top Chinese technology companies such as Tencent, Baidu, JD.com, Pinduoduo — just to name a few. Other investors that took part include Xianghe Capital, an investment firm founded by two former Baidu executives, Chinese private equity firm GSR Ventures and GGV Capital.
Moka claims more than 500 enterprise customers were paying for its services by the end of 2018. Other notable clients are McDonald’s and one of China’s top live-streaming services, YY. It plans to use its new capital to hire staff, build new products and expand the scope of its business.
Founded in 2015, Moka compares itself to Workday and Salesforce in the U.S. It has created a suite of software aiming to make recruiting easier and cheaper for companies with upwards of 500 employees. Its solutions take care of the full cycle of hiring. To start with, Moka allows recruiters to post job listings across multiple platforms with one click, saving them the hassle of hopping between portals. Its AI-enabled screening program then automatically filters candidates and makes recommendations for companies. What comes next is the interview, which Moka helps streamline with automatic email and message reminders for job applicants and optimized plans for interviewers on when and where to meet their candidates.
That’s not the end, as Moka also wants to capture what happens after the talent is on board. The startup helps companies maintain a talent database consisting of existing employees and potential hires. The services allow companies to keep close tabs on their staff, whose resume update will trigger a warning to the employer, and alerts the recruiter once the system detects suitable candidates.
Moka is among a wave of startups founded by Chinese entrepreneurs with foreign education and work experiences. Zhao Oulun, whose English nickname is Orion, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and worked at San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car-sharing company Turo before founding Moka with Li Guoxing. Li himself is also a “sea turtle,” a colloquial term in Chinese that describes overseas-educated graduates who return home to work. Li graduated from the University of Michigan and Stanford University, and worked at Facebook as an engineer.
When the founders re-entered China, they saw something was missing in the booming domestic business environment: effective talent management.
“Businesses are flourishing, but at the same time many of them fall short in internal organization and operation. To a large extent, the issue pertains to the lack of digital and meticulous operation for human resources, which slows down decision-making and leads to mistakes around talents and company organization,” says chief executive Zhao in a statement.
Moka’s mission has caught the attention of investors. Jixun Foo, a partner at Moka backer GGV Capital, also believes China’s businesses can benefit from a data-driven approach to people management: “We are positive about Moka becoming a comprehensive HR service provider in the future through its unique data-powered and intelligent solutions.”