How SA’s Farosian uses digital data to help customers make better recruitment decisions

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South African startup Farosian analyses 2,498 digital and social media data points using qualified human insight to reveal the true person behind the data and help its customers make better recruitment decisions.

Founded by Farhad Bhyat, Sinéad Frampton and Renzo Tognocchi in 2015, Farosian combines artificial and emotional intelligence to deliver highly accurate profile results, highlighting negatives as well as positives, to HR departments.

Clients include leading background screeners like MIE and LexisNexis, recruitment agencies like Adcorp and HRW Group, job boards like Career Junction, and consulting firms such as Deloitte and PwC.

“Our partners service an array of clients and through our partners we have access to over 3,000 end user clients. We have seen the most traction within the financial industry, legal firms, major telcos and government,” Bhyat told Disrupt Africa.

“Soon we will be moving into the financial and credit sector and also the insurance sector.”

Clients use Farosian’s data to make more informed hiring decisions, with the startup, among other things, conducting social media screening.

“The behaviour an individual exhibits online will be similar to the behaviour they exhibit in the workplace, and this behaviour has a knock-on effect within organisations,” said Bhyat.

Ensuring the right people are hired in the first place serves to reduce the cost of hiring, identify top talent quicker, increase employee tenure, decrease customer complaints, increase employee performance and productivity, improve the bottom line, protect the company from damage to brand and reputation, and reduce legal liability.

“An end user recently shared with us that for every ZAR1 million (US$60,000) that they spend with us, they save over ZAR5 million (US$300,000),” Bhyat said.

Social media screening has been taking place for quite some time, he said, but in a relative and subjective manner. Farosian’s innovation has been to develop a framework for assessment which is standardised, and can provide alternative data points to the recruitment sector as well as HR. 

Research identified a real need for a solution like this, but for the first 2.5 years of the company’s life uptake was very slow. Bhyat attributes this to the local market being notoriously late adopters, coupled with lack of education and awareness.

“One would assume with no local competition traction and growth would be speedy, but this was not the case,” he said.

However, having focused on marketing and education, Farosian is now seeing strong traction. Over the past 12 months Bhyat said it has seen “enormous acceleration” in use.

“The volumes we delivered in our first 24 months in operation we now deliver in one month,” he said. “We are currently seeing a growth rate of 18-25 per cent month-on-month for the past 12 months in both product sales, delivery and revenues.”

All of this has been done while the startup has been entirely self-funded and bootstrapped, yet Farosian has taken part in a number of startup programmes, including Knife Capital’s Johannesburg Grindstone accelerator. The startup is also working closely with Microsoft Africa to have its solution made available in the Azure Marketplace.

Bhyat said this will help accelerate international growth and expansion, with Farosian currently providing its offering in 13 different countries.

“The vast majority of our client base is in South Africa, but we have partnered with various channel partners and resellers to deliver our offering in Namibia, Swaziland, Australia, Singapore, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, America, New Zealand, India and Canada,” he said.

“We do have a strategy and plans to expand our presence into various countries and markets, most notably to penetrate the insurance market.”

In this regard, Farosian – which essentially charges a cost per report – has a new product launching next year especially geared to the claim departments of insurers, while it has also been working with a global credit bureau for the integration of social and digital media data points to use in the credit-scoring process. 

“We have a firm vision to be present through a reseller network on each continent within the next 18 months, and increasing our product delivery to 30 countries,” Bhyat said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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