August 5, 2015

Echovate Closes $500,000 Funding Round

Liz Segrist  /  Charleston Regional Business Journal

Charleston-based Echovate closed its $500,000 funding round Monday and plans to open another $750,000 funding round soon, CEO Matthew Gough said.

The tech firm created software that uses data science to help companies find their ideal job candidates. The majority of Echovate's investors hail from New York City or Boston, with two based in South Carolina.

Since relocating here from New York last year, Gough said he has been surprised by the support he has received from the startup community, and that he has dealt with the same challenges many entrepreneurs face when raising money from a Charleston headquarters.

"We're just not quite there yet," Gough said. "But look at Austin and Boulder. By the time the startup scene really started to grow there, the investment community was about five years behind that. We'll get there, but it's a natural challenge any company in Charleston is going to have to face."

The company set up shop in the Charleston Digital Corridor about a year ago but has since outgrown its space there. Gough said he is now eyeing two office spaces on the peninsula for move-in next month. The company will also open an office in New York City on Sept. 1.

The company has five employees -  including Gough and Tim Wolf, the former engineering director at Boomtown - with plans to hire up to four more employees by the end of the year, which will be engineering or sales positions.

Gough said the company decided to reinvent the platform after getting feedback from a beta client. Rather than judging if a candidate is a good fit for a job based solely on their resume, employers can use the platform to create a "top performer" profile based off an ideal candidate, an experienced employee or combination of those.

The platform uses data on the applicants, which is gathered from the web and a questionnaire they fill out, and ranks them against the "top performer." Hiring managers can review the rankings report from their mobile devices.

The company's platform came out of beta testing late last month and has secured its first few paying customers. Gough said the platform is getting the most traction with real estate firms and auto dealerships, as well as with some smaller tech firms.