Florida Startup: Path.To Is The E-Harmony For Tech Jobs INTERVIEW

Darren Bounds,the CEO of Jacksonville Florida based startup Path.To considers his startup the “e-harmony” for recruiting tech talent. There is a lot that goes into the backend of this job recommendation platform. Path.to must have something right because well known companies like Eventbrite, Evernote and Vimeo have already used the young startup to recruit tech talent.

When someone with a tech background is looking for their next tech opportunity and creates a profile with Path.To, they add their normal skills, and resume along with information that’s aggregated from their professional social graph including Behance, Dribble, Forrst and Github.  This way a more accurate picture of the candidate is created for those recruiters and HR people looking to fill tech positions. The users score continues to grow as they apply to more jobs and make more choices.

We first covered Path.To when they expanded to Chicago, Boston and New York City. Now they’ve added; Austin, Dallas, Houston, Boulder, Denver, and Los Angeles. They’re adding their service to Philadelphia, DC, and Pittsburgh tomorrow. They’re also adding Silicon Prairie on September 4th and Atlanta Georgia along with Jacksonville Florida on September 12th.

Path.To will email job candidates available positions that the service feels are a good match for them. Path.To users searching for a job can opt out of certain employers if they feel that they aren’t a fit, and of course continue to apply for jobs that they feel are, the perfect fit.

We got a chance to interview Bounds, check out the interview below:

What is your startup, what does it do?

Last April, Path.To came out of it’s stealth status to launch a service that we like to think of as an eHarmony, but for jobs. We connect the right people with the right job opportunities through personalized recommendations that deliver the most compatible matches for talent and businesses. Right now, our service is focused on technology jobs in interactive design, software engineering and IT.

We are trying to address the tech industry’s hiring dilemma head-on by helping companies that are in strong need of designers and other top tech talent, find the best people. We first launched in the Bay Area, but are now available in major technology markets and startup communities, including New York, Boston and Chicago. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been expanding the service to a number of important tech communities in Texas (including Austin, Dallas, Houston), Colorado (Denver, Boulder) and Los Angeles, with more to come in the next few weeks.

Through a deeper and more meaningful understanding of each applicant and business, Path.To surfaces only the most relevant job opportunities – making the job search more effective and targeted, and saving everyone time.

Path.To’s algorithmic approach features the “Path.To Score,” a ranking system that analyzes the unique characteristics of each applicant, business and position to determine compatibility. With the scoring, we take into account a user’s personality, skills, experience and social graph (by tapping into their engagement on Twitter and Facebook, and interactions on other online professional communities including Behance, Dribbble, Forrst and Github) to get a better understanding of their interests/passions. Additionally, this score continues to evolve as each applicant and business make choices (similar to Pandora).

Path.To also has a $1.5 million strategic investment from Adecco, the world’s leading provider of HR solutions.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

A Jacksonville, Florida resident for 7 years, Darren Bounds is the founder and CEO of Path.To. He’s a serial entrepreneur who has launched a number of Jacksonville technology start-ups, including Path.To, Glow and Cliqset.

In 2008, Darren co-founded Jacksonville-based social identity platform Cliqset Inc. Under Darren’s and his co-founder’s direction, Cliqset was named one of the Top 10 Web Technologies of 2009 by ReadWriteWeb and was seen as one of the “social networking trailblazers.” At the time, Darren’s and the company’s philosophy of embracing open web standards really bucked the trend that was taking place with other social networking giants. The company’s vision was to give consumers a service where they could view and interact with all of their social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare, Evernote, etc.) in one place, essentially breaking down any walls that existed online and giving users the freedom to interact and share content where they wanted to.

Darren and his team also launched Glow, a distributed social network that lets users have control and ownership of all their content (including photos, status updates, videos) across all of their social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

What is the startup culture like in Jacksonville?

Small but growing. We’ve seen quite a bit of positive momentum in the last year, particularly in the downtown urban core where we just recently relocated our office. Combined with upcoming national events like BeOneSpark planned for Spring of 2013 (http://beonespark.com/), I’m genuninely excited about the direction the city is taking.

What problem does your startup solve?

Path.To aims to disrupt the status quo of the traditional and ineffective job search.

Over the last year, a number of technologies have been launched to aid in tech talent recruiting and the job searching process. One of the main trends we’re seeing is technologies that tap into social media (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to give more insight to employers in the early stages of recruiting. Employers are using social not only to vet if a potential candidate is a cultural fit (or responsible fit), but to gain deep insight into a candidate’s professional profile.

As Path.To sees it, algorithms are going to drive the next generation of recruiting. From consumer services like Netflix to search on Google, algorithms are driving customization and making our online experiences a bit more personal and unique. With all of the advances of computing, online social interaction, and reputation systems, job search has not changed or dramatically evolved in the last decade. Why not harness the algorithm technology behind the success of online advertising, Google search personalization and services like eHarmony, and use it for jobs?

Path.To works directly with businesses to give them access, ranking and more insight into potential candidates. By using Path.To, companies can improve their recruiting process and avoid a lot of the challenges that come from the usual chaos of finding the right person for the job. Path.To gives companies a better screening process for open jobs where only the most relevant candidates that best “match” the position will be shared with the company.

Path.To also helps startups save time. Companies no longer need to sort through hundreds of resumes from online job boards with no sense of who’s the best candidate. With Path.To, the best ranked candidates are delivered directly to the company so they can concentrate on their core business.

And for job positions for interactive design, software engineering and IT, it’s often hard for employers to get a visual understanding of their work and skills from traditional recruiting processes. With Path.To, companies see candidates that are ranked according to the skills and parameters that your business is looking for, acting as an intelligent filter for identifying talent.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

Creating a concise elevator pitch that’s not only clear and accurate but gets people excited.

Who are your mentors and role models?

Ray Kurzweil, Garry Kasparov  and Steve Jobs

What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?

We play Salt ‘N Peppa “Push It” when we deploy code each and every day
(Don’t ask)

What’s next for Path.To

We’re in the process of expanding our service to 13 high-growth technology markets over the next few weeks. We’ve already gone live in Austin, Dallas and Houston (August 14) and Boulder, Denver and Los Angeles (August 24), with upcoming launches in:

  • Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. (Aug 28)
  • Silicon Prairie (Sept 4)
  • Atlanta, GA, Jacksonville FL (Sept 12)

We’ve been working closely with startups in these communities to see how Path.To can help them find great talent and we’re looking forward to being involved in community events there and offering resources for startups on hiring trends and tips that are specific to their markets.


Check out Path.To here at path.to

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