Local Startup Earns $250,000 Prize in Buffalo Competition

 Article via Waterloo Region Record – A local startup that uses cloud software, modern behavioural science and predictive analytics to pinpoint the best applicants for jobs — Plum — won $250,000 US Thursday evening in the 43North Business Competition in Buffalo.

“We are really honoured that out of the 11,000 companies that applied, we were able to get $250,000 from this competition,” said Caitlin MacGregor, a co-founder and chief executive officer of Plum.

Plum was founded by MacGregor, her husband Neil and Christine Bird, chief sales person. It developed cloud-based software that provides high-quality psychological testing that is used to quickly find the best candidates for jobs. Plum’s software makes hiring an objective, data-based process.

“There has been enormous support from local businesses and from the University of Buffalo,” MacGregor said. “People are really excited, they want to use our tools, they want to partner.”

Plum adapted tests for intelligence, problem solving, adaptability and social skills into its software. It uses predictive analytics to select the best candidates from among all applicants. Customers report spending far less time on resumes, interviewing and training. Employee turnover dropped by 67 per cent among Plum customers as well.

“On top of the $250,000 investment, it’s just a great way of expanding our market reach, expanding our U.S. client base,” MacGregor said.

Plum was among the final 15 startups in this year’s 43North competition. It was among three Canadian startups in the running. The other two are Toronto-based CleanSlate, which won $250,000 US, and Qoints, which won $500,000 US. The top prize of $1 million went to a startup called ACVAuctions that developed a mobile auction platform for wholesalers.

Plum has an office in downtown Waterloo with seven employees.

It will use the award money to hire additional software developers for the Waterloo office. It will hire a full-time sales person to work in Buffalo as well.

“The co-founders will be spending some of our time going back and forth,” MacGregor said.

The startup graduated from the Accelerator Centre and the Communitech Hyperdrive program. The Golden Triangle Angel Network, a local group of investors, had put money into Plum and four network members travelled to Buffalo for the award ceremonies yesterday.

“It was phenomenal to have their support here, and they were able to connect with Buffalo angel groups,” MacGregor said.

Plum was among 15 finalists making pitches at the Shea’s Performing Arts Centre in downtown Buffalo Thursday evening. There were four prizes of $250,000, and six prizes of $500,000. All the winners must agree to set up offices in Buffalo for at least one year.

This was the second year for the 43North awards, which hand out $5 million in cash prizes to winning entrepreneurs and startups from around the world.

Posted by Melissa Durrell on November 2, 2015

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