Das Verlingo-Team (v.l.n.r.): Jorge Davila-Chacon, Philip Drengenberg (Gründer), Mark Sang Kähler-Bossert (Gründer), Anna Weimer, Stephan Akrong (Gründer) - © Anne Gaertner / TUHH Startup Dock

Hamburg-based Verlingo helping HR managers

Stephan Akrong, Verlingo founder, tells Hamburg News about job refusals and brilliant ideas

E-recruiting and digitalisation are forging ahead and coming to Hamburg as exemplified by the Verlingo trio, who are helping HR managers rate job applicants. This come as no surprise after the leading German network for professionals, Xing AG, recently announced the take-over of the Vienna-based Prescreen recruiting start-up in a deal worth EUR 17 million. Alastair Bruce, CSO of Xing, said: “The new member of the Xing family allows us to offer personnel managers the opportunity of managing the entire vacancy and hiring process based on software effectively and efficiently. Prescreen is an open system and can be used in networks other than Xing or in connection with any given job portal. That will remain the case.”

Clear symbols and marking systems

The founders of Verlingo, Stephan Akrong, Philip Drengenberg and Mark Sang Kähler-Boßert have developed software to automate the analysis of employers’ references. The keyword is artificial intelligence. Their software uses machine learning and natural language processing to decode German-language references in seconds. “Together with HR experts, we have developed algorithms to interpret work references reliably. The personnel managers receive clear symbols, simple marking systems and in-depth analyses of applicants’ work performances,” said Akrong.

“Google interpreter of job references”

The start-up received EXIST grant funding for start-ups in March, which was followed in June by the official company formation of Verlingo. The trio then moved to the Startup Dock at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) and have hired three employees in the meantime.

Akrong hit on the idea for the start-up in 2015 during the final stages of his M.A. course at TUUH when a job refusal landed on his desk. “I wanted to know why I did not get an interview for the job. Then I noticed the unclear phrasing and terminology in the work references I had submitted.“ The rejection was forgotten quickly and Akrong convinced another student, Philip Drengenberg, to develop a “kind of Google interpreter for job references”. Mark Sang Kähler-Boßert was an IT consultant at the time and soon joined the team and contributed technical know-how.

Future not limited to B2B

At present, the founders are concentrating on the B2B sector and a test phase will launch with a Hamburg-based company this summer. Verlingo also hopes to give applicants a better understanding of their job references with an algorithm but with emphasis on the documents. “Transparency is totally lacking in the sector as reflected by 30,000 court cases every year,” said Akrong. Competition in other parts of the e-recruiting process such, as the analysis of CVs, is even tougher, he noted.

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