Zapoint starts as demand to automate hiring grows

by Christopher Calnan

Last week’s launch of a Brookline firm with software that converts resumes into charts for job recruiters is the latest regional entrant into an automated hiring software market that’s growing 22 percent a year.

The growth is being fueled by fierce competition to find qualified workers more efficiently, and New England firms are taking notice and carving niches.

Zapoint Inc. fired up operations with five employees and market-ready software that applies algorithms to information on resumes, to help employers compare job candidates.

“We call it a two-second resume,” said Chris Twyman, founder and CEO of Zapoint.

Zapoint’s software was developed with the help of a $250,000 angel investment, said Twyman, former senior director of solutions marketing for New York-based CA Inc. And while some companies, such as Zapoint, are focused on specific recruiter applications, others such as Chelmsford-based Kronos Inc. already offer a wide range of work force and human capital software suites. Kronos added to its arsenal this week with the purchase of Deploy Solutions Inc., a Newton-based firm that makes employee selection and hiring software.

The technologies being spun out of these companies look to effectively manage the avalanche of information the Internet has made readily available. Databases and online job boards have collected resumes beyond the point of manageability, said Art Papas, who co-founded online recruitment software company Bullhorn Inc. in 1999.

“It’s total overload,” he said. “And recruiters need tools to help them make sense of it.”

Boston-based Bullhorn now generates $8 million in annual revenue and employs 95 workers, Papas said.

Spending in the United States on automated hiring software is expected to rise from an estimated $750 million in 2006 to $2 billion by 2011, according to Lisa Rowan, program manager for human resources and talent management services at Framingham research firm IDC.

Twyman, who also helped launch UrbanFox, a United Kingdom-based online trading solution for telecommunication carriers, said Zapoint is approaching 1,000 members (users who submit resumes) after one week of operations. Revenue comes from fees paid by recruiters, which range from $2,000 to $5,000. Posting resumes is free, and workers who are selected by employers receive a $1,000 reward, Twyman said.

Zapoint’s plans include raising a $3 million to $4 million Series A round of venture capital next year.

Competition among automated hiring software companies in New England, however, is growing. Last year, Ireland-based recruitment software maker, Candidate Manager Ltd., opened a North American headquarters in Boston. And in 2005, H Three Inc., opened for business in Cambridge with a referral reward payment software system.

Other New England competitors include Zoom Information Inc., BrassRing LLC and Authoria Inc., all based in Waltham. Wayland’s Softscape Inc. and Auburndale’s Deploy Solutions Inc., also develop human resource software, including recruiting.

Nationally, the recruitment software space includes Pennsylvania-based Kenexa Corp., which bought BrassRing for $115 million last year, and PeopleSoft Inc., which was bought by Oracle Corp. in 2005.



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