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Dozens of startups have launched in the past few years claiming to fix the broken recruiting and hiring process. One of them, Readyforce, has already signed up some well-known startups with a relatively straightforward and compelling idea, and it’s opening up its beta test today.

When it comes to finding the right job applicant, CEO Alex Mooradian says that “it’s all about data.” And when Mooradian says “data,” he also means videos, which are a big part of a Readyforce profile. Unlike other sites that just ask people to record videos on their own (often resulting in stilted, awkward videos), Readyforce has actually hired interviewers to do 20-minute webcam conversations with the applicants, which can be edited down into a 3-minute highlight reel. (If you’re not happy with the interview you can do it again.) Users can also fill out something called the “infinite quiz” (in reality, Mooradian says there are more than 100 questions) which tests their interests and skills.

Employers probably won’t make hiring decisions based on Readyforce profiles alone, but they should be a provide a much better filtering mechanism than a generic resume (though yes, you can upload a resume too). As an example, VP of Client Services Anna Binder recalls one user who was not hugely impressive on paper — he was a CS major at not-particularly-prestigious school — but comes across as intelligent and articulate in the video: “Within 30 seconds, you say, ‘I want that guy.’” (You can see a real, sample profile here.)

To start out, Readyforce is targeting a specific group of applicants (college students who are looking for internships or jobs) and a specific group of employers (tech startups) who want to reach them. After all, executives at pretty much any startup will complain about how hard it is to find talent, particularly technical talent. Colleges could offer one of the main solutions to that challenge, but building a traditional college recruiting program is tough. A Silicon Valley company might never have the time or budget to travel to schools outside the Bay Area, but with Readyforce, they can find promising students at those schools and reach out to them directly.

With the beta, students nationwide can create Readyforce profiles (though for now, the video capabilities are largely limited students at UCLA, Boston College, and Stanford), and companies can request to join the program. More than 300 companies are already using Readyforce, and some of them, including Bloomspot, Reputation.com, and SinglePlatform, have actually made hires.

Readyforce has raised $14 million from Menlo Ventures, US Venture Partners, Founder Collective, and First Round Capital.

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estimize

Estimize is a startup trying to discover the true “whisper number” of public stocks — not just the official analyst consensus, but what Wall Street really believes. To make that happen, it’s encouraging investors to post their own estimates — and they’re getting a little more incentive starting today, thanks to the new Estimize Challenges.

CEO and co-founder Leigh Drogen previously worked at social finance startup StockTwits, where his roles included product manager and media director. Drogen says he first had the idea for Estimize there — he sees it as the quantitative flip side to the conversations that you find on StockTwits. So each quarter, Estimize members can post their guesses for a company’s earnings per share and revenue. Then you can see the aggregate prediction of the Estimize community, as well as current and past predictions for individual users.

One of the first things that you see on the Estimize website is a jar full of marbles, and that hints at Drogen’s big thesis — that as a group, investors can be smarter than any analyst. It’s the same principle behind the carnival game where you have to guess how many marbles in a jar. Usually, if you average the guesses out, you’ll get an answer that’s more accurate than all or most of the individual guesses.

Of course, to tap into the wisdom of the crowd, you need a crowd, and in the case of Estimize, Drogen says he originally thought he’d need to reach around 10,000 estimates per quarter before the data was interesting to financial companies. Estimize got 2,500 estimates in its first quarter, but Drogen says he’s already starting to get interests from major hedge funds. After all, he says the 3,600-member Estimize community is already more accurate than the analysts 63 percent of the time.

Since you can see each user’s track record, there’s already some social pressure to do well. The Challenges take that a step further with a gamification layer and prizes. Drogen says The Challenges cover five investment categories: Internet, software, hardware, consumer, and retail. (There’s a sixth prize that’s not category-specific, and is sponsored by Investors Business Daily.) Each category includes 30 stocks, and competitors have to make estimates in at least 15. The best estimators will get cash (there’s a total of $10,000 at stake) and badges for their profile page, which Drogen says is being transformed into a “Fitbit-like dashboard” for tracking your progress. NASDAQ is sponsoring the five sector-focused contests.

Drogen says the contest is the first step in his goal of “providing tangible benefits and a way to really promote yourself as a great analyst.”

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