Building on the continuing success of its artificial intelligence (AI) solution in delivering diversity and inclusion in hiring, Australian AI-powered recruitment firm on Tuesday announced a $17 million Series A raise led by Macquarie Capital and Woolworths Group’s W23 venture capital arm.

In a statement, said funds from the raise will be used for continued overseas expansion, including making the product available in multiple languages.

Barb Hyman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, described the mission of Sapia “to make equity in the workplace a reality”.

“Our customers are seeing extraordinary results – and seeing them fast. We give them data and insights that let them track fairness and bias in their decisions across the employment journey,” he said.

“I’m excited to have Macquarie and Woolworths investing in our technology – it’s an incredible validation for my team who have been committed to our mission from the get go and we can’t wait to open our technology to new markets,” he added.

For the Australian-founded company, the investment comes at a time of huge growth, with customer numbers more than doubling over the last year.

Dan Phillips, Co-Founder of Macquarie Capital’s Venture Capital business, said that his team was impressed and excited by the technology solution that has created and how it is using AI to provide a better way for companies to approach and solve for diversity and inclusion.

“We’ve all been talking about the value of diversity for some time, but many companies are still not equipped to bring about real change. This is primarily because we fail to acknowledge our human biases,” Phillips said.

“Sapia’s Smart Chat Interviewer has redefined what a fair recruitment process can be. It is blind, it is efficient, and it is backed by valid, peer-reviewed science,” he added.

Woolworths Group has been using for 12 months and is providing funding through its investment arm, W23.

Ingrid Maes, Managing Director of W23, said the program had helped reshape the Group’s hiring process and improved the experience of candidates applying for roles.

“Woolworths Group is always recruiting and we see tens of thousands of applications processed annually in our supermarket business. This new technology positively impacts bias during the recruitment process,” Maes said.

“Not only does it provide a flexible platform for our recruitment teams, we’re really pleased with the experience our applicants have in the process ultimately delivering the hiring and equality outcomes we strive for across the group,” she added.

Sapia is focused on helping companies unlock and engage talent at scale. With its blind, automated chat interview and comprehensive DEI analytics platform, Sapia’s technology is the first solution of its kind to disrupt biases that affect traditional recruitment processes, delivering fair outcomes for candidates and companies.

Sapia’s AI powered automation platform is centered around a blind, untimed and asynchronous chat interview transforming the speed and quality of hire whilst removing bias from the hiring process.

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