Former Nokia exec backs AI-powered recruitment platform AirCTO
Atif Haider, founder,

AirCTO, a human- and artificial intelligence-powered recruitment platform that helps companies hire technical talent, has raised an undisclosed amount in angel investment from former Nokia director Francesco Cara, a company executive said.

The company plans to invest the seed capital in building an AI chatbot to help human resource departments to automate the initial screening process. In addition, the company is also planning to spend significantly on expanding its sales and marketing teams, Atif Haider, founder of, told VCCircle.

Cara worked with Nokia for about seven years as director, heading several of its units in London. He then worked with marketing services firm SapientNitro and moved on to found Cleanweb LTD, which operates a marketplace christened IYWTo that features smart, green solutions and services to help users to lead a sustainable lifestyle.

AirCTO, operated and owned by LaunchYard Technologies Pvt Ltd, deploys a mix of human and AI elements in identifying the right technical talent for enterprises. It helps businesses save time by taking away the pain of screening a multitude of candidate profiles.

“We have built a system that shortlists resumes with machine learning and natural language processing. Our system searches for relevant skills within the resume of candidates based on the job description. We look for digital footprints of the candidate on coding sites (StackOverflow and Github) and many more data points, which help companies easily shortlist resumes instead of doing it manually,” Haider explained.

Enterprises can upload the bulk of candidate profiles on the AirCTO platform and apply filters. The AI machine then screens the profiles based on the filters and parameters provided by the company. The filters can be as specific as work experience, skill sets, education qualifications, etc. and the machine looks for a comprehensive and related search, not just keywords matching. The system then schedules remote interviews between the selected applicants and AirCTO’s expert panel. The panel, consisting of industry experts from large enterprises, will further screen, rate, and submit a final report on the eligible candidates with recommendations to the client. AirCTO claims it reduces up to 70% of tech talent hiring time.

“The problem of candidate search has been solved with the arrival of Naukri and other job-search portals. What we are focusing on is the candidate screening part of it with the help of AI. This is an AI wave and looks like this time, it’s real,” Haider said.

Its clientele includes Wingify, Citrix,, Toppr, Haptik, and Kuliza.

AirCTO charges clients a fixed monthly subscription fee for the platform, in addition to ‘per interview’ costs. With the monthly subscription, users can access the entire platform including experts, automated interview scheduling system, candidate management system, phone and video interview facility, and resume shortlisting services. There are three price slabs for the monthly subscription based on the number of resumes that a company can upload. AirCTO keeps 25% of the interview fee and the rest goes to the expert conducting the interview.

AirCTO's parent firm, LaunchYard Technologies, also runs another startup named LaunchYard that helps companies and agencies build web applications and application programming interfaces. Haider has worked with Studio March, Infinitely Beta, and Cleartrip in the past.

AirCTO has worked with over 65 customers so far, performing over 1,500 interviews with over 120 technical experts. It claims to be growing 30% month-on-month. “We have 85% repeat customers and 45% customers come through referrals,” he said.

Other startups in the human resources space that raised funds include Darwin Digital Solutions Pvt Ltd, which in June raised $4 million (Rs 25.79 crore) in a Series A funding round led by Lightspeed India Partners with participation from existing investors Endiya Partners, Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital Advisors LLP and Startupxseed Ventures LLP. The firm offers a cloud-based management platform that automates HR processes such as recruitment, payroll, employee engagement, etc.

In March, Bangalore-based Tydy raised $275,000 in angel funding. The startup provides enterprises an automated employee onboarding, engagement and retention platform.

In April, California- and Bangalore-based HackerEarth Inc. raised $4.5 million (Rs 30 crore) in a Series A round led by DHI Group Inc. The startup operates an online skill assessment tool that evaluates computer programmers and connects them with potential employers.

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