A little over 10 years ago, I was in the shoes of the people we serve. Back then, I was frustrated with the resources available for job seekers, and I knew there had to be a better way. It was then that I decided to offer a solution that matched people’s most immediate need – to find and land a new job quickly. I was familiar with the model for traditional outplacement, and I knew there had to be a better way so I started RiseSmart and the quest for a better way of doing things.
Dan Davenport, EVP Global Operations, who used to work with be at our previous employer Sabre, joined me and we started making strides to disrupt this space. Since then, the company has grown significantly, disrupting the outplacement market and becoming the leader in contemporary outplacement solutions.
Our start-up story
In no small part, the U.S. has made a contribution to my success and the success of RiseSmart. When I came here 16 years ago, this country welcomed me with open arms. It gave me an opportunity to dream and the ability to follow my vision and create something. In the past, starting a company took a lot of money. Thanks to technology and the entrepreneurial spirit of the U.S. and the “will to win”anyone can start a company with a few dollars and a good idea.
The RiseSmart story starts the way many start-up stories start: at a home office. In my case, it was in Plano, Texas. A man with a dream and a few dollars in his pocket. From there, the story unfolds as a cast of characters is developed and the dream becomes a reality.
With the help of angel investors, and a few key people in key positions, we began to build the technology that would become the backbone of the RiseSmart solution. We knew that our first, best step was to get better job leads to job seekers faster. We needed to take the frustration out of searching for the right job and enable people to target their efforts to the things that would yield the greatest returns.
The right place at the right time with the right solution
By 2008, the U.S. economy was in the midst of a pretty significant downturn, and more people were looking for jobs. It was the perfect market to test our solution, so we raised our first round of venture capital through Norwest Ventures to accelerate our progress. Our wanted us to grow surrounded by the latest innovation and best talent, so we moved to Silicon Valley.
At the same time as we were establishing ourselves in Silicon Valley, we were also opening offices in India. We continue to expand our engineering and operations teams in India to support increased customer demand and global growth.
Two years after our founding, we started landing the large corporate businesses that would become the cornerstone to our growth and establish RiseSmart as the leading provider of contemporary outplacement services around the globe. Soon, our U.S. team could no longer be housed in a shared workspace and we moved into our first offices near the San Jose Airport. At the same time, we continued to raise money this time from Storm Ventures and expand our business in the U.S.
Recognized as innovators in HR
By 2011, RiseSmart was earning recognition and awards, including North American and Global top 100 companies. Our company continued to grow and partner with the biggest corporations in the U.S., attracting the attention of our competitors who tried to position their traditional outplacement services against our contemporary career transition solutions. We continue to disrupt the market by providing solutions that are easier, faster, and better than the traditional models.
No matter how large RiseSmart became, I knew then, what I know now: our most important asset has been, and always will be, our employees. Our High Five Program was launched in 2011 as a common platform to ensure all employees are empowered and recognized for their contributions to the company. As you know, The High Five program includes a vehicle for employees to thank and acknowledge their peers while providing team building and company-wide events and activities.
At five year’s old, we won the Gartner Cool Vendor award and continued our stellar 100% year to year growth as we continued to win big business deals and gain market share, previously owned by our main competitors. By 2013, RiseSmart was known as the outplacement services provider with an adept combination of tech and touch.
Our technology sets us apart
Over the next few years, RiseSmart continued to grow and attract investors, the last one came in 2014 – Accel-KKR. In 2015, we launched a next generation all in one platform, RiseSmart Spotlight®. Powered by our SmartMatch™ engine and patented ontology technology, Spotlight delivers the most relevant job matches to users in mere seconds. To ensure swift, well-coordinated, and consistent service delivery for our customers, we also introduced our transition management system, RiseSmart Torch™. These two technology tools have continued to be our differentiators in the market when combined with our three-tiered personal service approach – providing three career experts for every participant.
In September 2015, Randstad, a $21.8 billion global provider of staffing and HR services, acquired us. The acquisition has allowed us to accelerate our global expansion initiatives and provide our customers with consistent service for all their employees, regardless of location. We’ve further established our global footprint with the acquisition of SAGECO in Australia and the launch of our partner network, RiNGS, in over 70 countries.
A year later in August 2016, we launched RiseSmart Insight™, the first ever system of record for real-time outplacement performance tracking and analytics. The platform enables secure transmission of sensitive HR data, allows users to manage and edit impacted employee lists, and delivers live updates and notifications on list status.
RiseSmart – 10 years in the making
The story of RiseSmart began 10 years ago and the story continues to unfold. Our passion has always been to give our participants the best chance to have a fulfilling career. We accomplish that goal by providing the best in outplacement services and technology to companies and their departing employees. To date, we have helped countless people find new jobs – 60% faster than the national average and have established a customer base spanning more than 40 industry segments.
The story of RiseSmart has been 10 years in the making and could not be told without the hard work and dedication of every RiseSmart team member. Every day – YOU – the people of RiseSmart live up to our core value of “Wow” through your commitment to innovation, communication, teamwork, and excellence.
I agree with Wilma Rudolph when she said, “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” The RiseSmart team has proven that individual contributions can lead to the great success of an organization.