Conversational AI Recruitment Startup Paradox Joins Unicorns With $200M Raise

Hiring and employee management conversational AI developer Paradox has raised $200 million in a Series C funding round led by Stripes, Sapphire, and Thoma Bravo. The new funding round elevates Paradox and its Olivia virtual assistant to unicorn status with a valuation of $1.5 billion.

Olivia Unicorn

The Olivia assistant created by Paradox handles a number of the more routine tasks usually assigned to human resources and recruitment departments. The AI marks relevant job applications for advancement, sets up interviews, and can run new employees through the administrative tasks they need to complete once the company hires them. Olivia also answers questions for current and potential employees about the company. Paradox’s AI operates in both text and voice forms, as a chatbot and as a voice app accessible through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And while Olivia is the name and face of the AI, Paradox offers several other names and faces, as well as more than 100 language options, all adjustable to the client’s requests.

“This fundraise was entirely about team building,” Paradox CEO Aaron Matos explained. “It’s a new starting line in a bigger race that resets expectations of the future we can create with our clients. We’ll continue to build the most innovative software in the industry, all while we grow and develop Team Paradox — the collection of people working tirelessly every day to create magical moments for our clients and their candidates.”

Recruitment AI

The new investment is a steep jump from Pardox’s $40 million Series B funding round in May 2020. Brighton Park Capital led that round and is one of the participants in the new investment. The new money and resulting valuation rise mirror Paradox’s expansion. Olivia has worked with more than 50 companies, compared to the approximately 200 during a year and a half ago. Major companies like Unilever, GM, McDonald’s, and CVS all use Olivia in some form. The virtual assistant has saved clients millions of hours of research, screening, and paperwork, according to Paradox.

The COVID-19 pandemic likely accelerated the trend toward using AI for recruitment, but the practice was already on the rise for the obvious reasons of cost and efficiency. Enterprise conversational AI is rapidly becoming the norm for customer service and internal communications; recruitment fits right into that rubric. At a time when companies are particularly keen to find new employees, an AI service that can vet potential hires and provide a curated shortlist for interviews by humans is a handy tool. Job recruitment AI startup Sense raised $50 million in a SoftBank-led round earlier this month on the strength of that trend, following the earlier raises by startups like Leadspicker.

“When we created Paradox, we saw a future where software became invisible — driven by conversations that untether people from their desktop through an assistant who gets work done for them,” Matos said. “That vision is now taking hold in some of the biggest companies in the world and we couldn’t be prouder of that accomplishment.”


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