Staffing software startup Crelate raises $5.3M, plans to grow Kirkland engineering center

Kirkland startup Crelate has raised $5.3 million for software that combines applicant tracking and customer relationship management.

Written by Quinten Dol
Published on Apr. 03, 2019
Staffing software startup Crelate raises $5.3M, plans to grow Kirkland engineering center
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photo via crelate

For recruitment and staffing agencies, the key to success lies in an ability to find open roles and the people to fill them with speed and — most perplexing of all — at the same time.

Crelate CEO Aaron Elder describes it as “a real chicken and egg problem.”

“You can’t always win the deal if you don’t have the people, but you can’t necessarily get the people if you don’t have the deal,” he said in an interview with Built In Seattle.

Crelate is one of Built In Seattle’s best startups to work in 2019, and builds software that uses a combination of applicant tracking and customer relationship management software to help recruiting agencies source job opportunities and candidates in one place. Through its dashboard, recruiting and staffing agencies can access detailed customer profiles, track interactions, create and assign tasks and more.

 

There’s really three dials to the business, and you’ve got to turn them all in the right order... It’s sort of a harmonious circle.”

“One of our dreams is to bring enterprise-quality software to the masses,” Elder said. “To democratize really high quality, flexible and customizable software.”

Elder said Crelate has close to 1,000 customers at present, while the industry they serve encompasses up to 3 million businesses worldwide.

However, Elder isn’t getting stars in his eyes just yet.

“I think I take a pretty pragmatic approach to building companies,” he said. “There’s really three dials to the business, and you’ve got to turn them all in the right order: crank up marketing, crank up sales, crank up product, crank up marketing and then sales again. It’s sort of a harmonious circle.”

Crelate is currently looking to fill roles in marketing, operational leadership, sales leadership, design, testing and development. While the company’s sales teams sit in Maryland, Crelate’s engineering team is based in Kirkland. The company currently employs 21 people, 12 of whom work in Kirkland.

Elder moved to the Pacific Northwest after an early cloud-based customer service platform he had co-founded was acquired by Microsoft in 2001, and then co-founded a consultancy that was acquired by Avanade in 2010.

“I think Washington state is a great environment for business,” he said. “I think the lack of income tax is a big draw for people.”

Kansas City-based Five Elms Capital led the round, along with the company’s existing investors — which includes Seattle’s Alliance of Angels.

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