By Mark Anderson – Staff Writer

April 11, 2023, 06:52am PDT

Sacramento startup Clapself Inc. is positioning itself as a placement firm for independent technology workers, powered by artificial intelligence that makes hiring more efficient for the workers and also for its client companies seeking technology support.

Clapself will be the employer of consulting tech workers, finding engagements for them to work as much as they want, along with offering the workers job security, paid time off, benefits and ongoing training.

“We are an employee-first company. That is our customer,” said Dave Sanders, an adviser to Clapself and managing partner of executive search firm WorldBridge Partners. “We want to give them access to all the benefits of being part of a large company.”

Clapself plans to make hiring technology employees effortless and painless for hiring managers, said Anuj Kanish, chief operating officer and co-founder of Clapself. He sees the company as being able to quickly fill a niche to deliver consultants in AI, cybersecurity and technology project management for growing companies and for venture-backed companies. Those clients can get ready access to the help they need for projects without having to vet, hire and employ people.

In addition to providing service to its tech consultants, another problem Clapself seeks to solve is narrowing the field of applicants for client companies in vetting candidates, said Bryan Verduzco, chief growth officer with Clapself.

One of the problems in the tech industry is finding the right people for the work that needs to be done, Verduzco said. Companies seeking technology workers or consultants often have job descriptions that are broad and vague, which means that some 90% of the applicants don’t match the job, he said.

For companies seeking tech talent to work on projects, onboarding new hires is a burden and a distraction. It can take multiple rounds of vetting to screen hundreds of candidates down to three eventual hires, he said.

Clapself will use its science and data-driven approach to pre-vet employees on multiple dimensions to find out what their skill sets are and what their cultural fit is, said Ramna Sharma, chief product officer and co-founder of Clapself.

Sharma is an engineering veteran who has worked with Motorola Solutions and Oracle Corp. She was also a founding team member of Ignite Logic, which was acquired by Google Inc. in 2005. She worked for Google for three years. Kanish founded Avake Technology Group Inc., which sold a patent to Google. They both co-founded digital process automation company BeatBlip Inc., which was bought by Folsom-based AgreeYa Solutions Inc. in 2016.

Clapself is self-funded by the founders along with friends and family, Sanders said. It has 10 engineers and 16 total employees so far, and it expects to get to 100 employees by the end of this year, The vast majority of that new employee growth will be its tech consultants, who get a W-2 from the company for their work at client companies.

“Consultants don’t get any perks, and they don’t tend to have any loyalty,” said Verduzco, who has worked in technology staffing for 11 years. “We treat them as our employee.”

Clapself will also support its employees by using AI to perform assessments to find their strengths and weaknesses, and then recommend courses they can take to advance their careers and income potential. It will also offer mentorship between Clapself employees on the platform.

Clapself started out as a sharing site for bite-sized learning modules targeted at technology professionals. It pivoted to the employment model last year.

Once a tech employee gets on Clapself, they can also get some bonus pay by referring other technology workers to sign on with the company, Sanders said. “Good people know good people.”