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​Who needs HR anyway? How startup Workable is rising above Greece's woes to cut firms' hiring costs

A Greek web startup aims to change the game in the HR industry by helping small and mid-size companies hire the way big firms do.

Greek startup makes it easy and inexpensive for small businesses to hire staff. Image: Andrey Popov

While the Greek economy struggles, a startup based in Athens is now aspiring to go global. Workable has recently announced a $27m Series B financing round led by Balderton Capital, taking the total it has raised to $34.5m over the course of the past three years.

The firm's cloud-based software aims to make hiring people easier and less expensive. The idea is that small companies that can't afford human-resource departments can now match larger firms in the recruiting process.

Workable walks employers through the hiring phases, helping them post job ads on all the major job boards with one click, track candidates and schedule interviews.

"Workable is changing the way small businesses hire. A small business with an afternoon and as little as $19 gets hiring software that major corporations would previously have paid millions for," Workable CEO Nikos Moraitakis said.

The software helps companies post job ads on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Monster, Stack Overflow and CareerBuilder. There's also the option of browsing social networks for candidates who might be a good fit but aren't specifically looking for a job.

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Workable currently has over 3,300 clients, most of them in the US. "[The] customer list is growing by 15 percent every month. Our revenue has trebled since the beginning of this year," Moraitakis said.

The startup launched in 2012, in Athens, Greece. A former Upstream executive in Dubai, Moraitakis founded the company together with his colleague Spyros Magiatis, who is now CTO.

Workable currently employs 52 people, 40 of whom are based in Athens and work in engineering, operations and support. A small design and sales team is located in London, while the HQ is in Boston and houses commercial operations and technical marketing.

The startup plans to expand the team in the coming year and to invest further in R&D. They have no plans to relocate outside Greece.

"There's a ton of young engineers with great degrees, experience studying or working abroad, speaking good English and eager to make a career in a difficult job market. They typically work harder than the average European," Moraitakis said.

In the struggling economy, the startup scene provides Greece with a source of hope. Hardened by the chilly business climate and having to deal with fears of a Greek exit from the European Union, small tech businesses say they now feel they can withstand any difficulty.

"We love to believe that founders who come from such environments and can make it even under tough circumstances are well equipped to go far in creating truly successful companies," George Tziralis, Partner at Openfund, said.

Creating startups is becoming a viable career option here, as the Greek ecosystem starts to mature. Small high-tech companies offer hope for this debt-stricken country.

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