[Funding Alert] Eightfold AI raises $220M in Series E round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2
California-based Eightfold AI on Thursday said it raised $220 million in Series E round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2.
This funding round also saw participation from existing investors like General Catalyst, Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
To date, the talent management AI startup has raised more than $410 million, with $325 million coming in the last six months. The enterprise startup is now valued at $2.1 billion.
In a press statement, the company said it will use the funds to continue the growth and development of its AI-powered talent intelligence platform and expand its growing partner ecosystem.
The founding team of Eightfold AI
It also wants to continue expanding its India operations, investing in data scientists and engineers from the region.
Speaking about the development, Ashutosh Garg, Founder and CEO, Eightfold, said, “Current HR systems were designed to address issues from a previous era, and they have failed to keep pace with the changing nature of work and the workforce. At Eightfold, we have an unprecedented opportunity, using AI to align the career goals of individuals while simultaneously creating better results for employers."
"Transforming HR and global talent further unlock trillions of dollars worth of human potential. SoftBank shares our bold vision, and we are excited to welcome them as our partner,” he added.
The pandemic push
In a conversation with YourStory, Ashutosh said the company started four and a half years back to enable the right career for everyone in the world. He added that there is a need for personalised upskilling and reskilling programmes for employees.
"The pandemic has brought a major shift in the world. We all are working from home, industries like hotels and travel have been hit bad. But others like hospitals, healthcare, and grocery have huge traction. So it has become critical for companies to understand the talent and repurpose it for a better role," said Ashutosh.
Eightfold has customers across Asia, Europe, the US, South America, and Africa in 25 countries, with the customers using the platform in over 15 languages.
Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, said, “Powered by AI and machine learning, Eightfold’s platform provides global enterprises with a single solution for managing the entire talent lifecycle, including hiring, retaining, and growing a diverse global workforce. We are pleased to partner with Ashutosh and the Eightfold team to support their ambition of transforming how enterprises manage talent and how people build their careers."
The need for reskilling
According to him, reskilling talent and keeping them happy has become a priority for employers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explains that Eightfold AI's talent intelligence platform brings an understanding of the roles, the various kinds of talent needed, and the skills of each candidate and employees.
The founder said, "At Eightfold, we use what people have previously done to understand what a particular individual can do, and how quickly they can acquire a new skill, what kind of roles an individual can transition to, and more. If you are an engineer, can you become a data scientist quickly? We think of people's potential in terms of what they can do instead of just what they have done and constantly applying that."
"People look at multiple jobs and multiple career paths. The rate at which technologies are coming in is super fast, thus becoming important to work as a global workforce. However, these come with a few challenges. So, how do you evaluate and assess a person sitting in another part of the country or world? Are they going to be effective in a remote work environment?" Ashutosh added.
He said the nature of opportunities will keep changing so companies need to adopt new tools and technologies and ensure the talent can learn quickly.