Hiring people can be one of the most challenging aspects of business for companies. Trying to find the right people is hard in a competitive market and then you have to train them when after all of that they leave in six months for a new job.

Pulsifi aims to help companies avoid that by incorporating data science, artificial intelligence, and organisational psychology into a technology platform for HR departments. We spoke to CEO and Co-Founder Jay Huang about the platform and his startup.

Jay has a strong background in consultancy and is looking to bring that critical and analytical approach to human resources. Backed by a growing team, he is looking to change the HR field for the better.

Prior to his business career, he was an award-winning musician. Jay received the international Hedy King Robinson Award in music theory from The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, and Advanced Performance Certificate in piano from Trinity College London.

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He cites his Co-Founder, Pete Yoong as his main inspiration as they have contrasting personalities, which allows them to work so well together.

When he’s not in the office, you might find Jay cooking a meal or hiking somewhere in Southeast Asia.

Read more about his story below.

Jay and Pete
Co-Founders Pete (L) and Jay (R)
  1. Sell us your company/service in 300 words?

Pulsifi helps organizations identify, retain and grow talent at scale by using a multidimensional approach to truly understand people and provide actionable insights. We are the only company that built a SaaS AI platform that analyzes more data faster than the typical human resource practice, and reliably predicts and prescribes people outcomes. Our goal is to help build great organizations through great people.

Ideally, employees should possess the necessary competencies and experience, be passionate about their role, fit the team that they work with, and fit the culture of the organization. Our approach is multidimensional firstly because we holistically understand people by analyzing their “hard skills” and competencies, as well as “soft traits” such as work attitudes, behaviors, personality, interests and values. Organizations increasingly find that traits such as grit, motivation to learn, and teamwork, are what differentiate exceptional from average employees.

Multidimensional secondly because our basis combines research-backed organizational psychology and science, best practices of global leading organizations, and benchmarks derived from the analysis of each client’s own data. This multidimensionality is also reflected in our team of organizational psychologists, organizational consultants, data scientists and software engineers.

For each client, we finetune our predictive models by understanding what traits of their employees lead to success at the organization, and apply that knowledge to predict how likely any candidate or employee fits and prescribe personalized paths to improve fit. As an example, conventional wisdom says that extraverted people are better at sales. However, we helped some clients realize that their best salespeople are not always high in extraversion. The success factor is discovered to be something else, so these clients need not halve their pool of eligible sales candidates by restricting themselves to extroverted people.

We believe that organizations achieve greatness not via their products, services or marketing, but via their people. So we aim to help organizations identify, retain and develop great people. And this is only possible using our multidimensional approach. On the other side of the equation, people achieve greatness when they thrive in the organization that fits them. How many people do you know who do not enjoy their work? Through organizations as our clients, we desire to also impact the lives of people at work.

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  1. What is stopping you from having the largest company in the world?

Nothing! Ok, I am half-kidding. A more realistic answer would be the Pulsifi team ourselves.

As a young company with limited resources, we have executed well according to our plan to become a billion-dollar company in the next few years. In the span of months, we have been fortunate to gain the trust of clients such as large companies Nestlé and Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems, as well as government agencies. We are looking forward to welcoming more organizations in our pipeline on board as we continue enhancing our platform.

Our journey has been and is likely going to continue to be, full of challenges. Our platform is difficult to build, in terms of architecture, technology, science and human resource best practices. It takes time for our team to hit peak productivity. We faced many skeptical potential investors. Many clients and partners rejected us outright. But with lots of hard work, we managed to get to where we are. I strongly believe that when we REALLY want something to happen, we WILL make it happen.

So far, we have not thought ahead of ourselves to develop a plan to be the largest company in the world. But can we get better, faster and bigger than what we are today? We can. Can Pulsifi become an industry leader? We can. Can we become the largest company in the world? Stay tuned!

  1. If you could change one thing about the tech industry in Southeast Asia, what would it be?

Aside from establishing ‘fit’ between all people and organizations in Southeast Asia, which is the expected but boring answer…

I would like for people in Southeast Asia to view tech from Southeast Asia in the same regard as tech from anywhere else in the world. Today, most consumers and businesses here perceive tech and brands from the US and Europe for example as superior. But is that always true? In today’s global economy, the tech is as good as the team behind it, not where the company is from. It is a little sad that many organizations in Southeast Asia, from big to small, prefer to buy tech from American or European brands, and do not perceive homegrown companies as positively.

I am not suggesting that Southeast Asian organizations should “blindly” support homegrown tech providers, although that happens in some ecosystems. I am suggesting that they give homegrown tech providers an equal chance, by evaluating them objectively.

We at Pulsifi are doing our part to deliver world-class tech. I believe many other Southeast Asian tech companies are as well. Let us change the tech industry in Southeast Asia together!

  1. Name one person in the region, who is making a difference in Technology?

A single person cannot make as much difference as a team, so I would name the teams behind companies like Grab, Lazada and Go-Jek as having made a difference to tech and more importantly, lives, in the region. These people also proved that it is possible to build world-class companies out of Southeast Asia in the span of several years.

But behind the scenes, government agencies like the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore have also played a big part in growing the tech ecosystem – providing a conducive environment, attracting world-class start-ups and talent, and legitimizing start-up careers. Early in my career, when the ecosystem was much more nascent, I spent time at both these agencies doing just that. Today, from the perspective of a young company like Pulsifi, I cannot be more appreciative of this support.

The next thing that would be awesome to witness is for a team out of Southeast Asia to bring truly unique innovation at scale to the world.

  1. What would you want people to remember you for, 100 years from now?

I do not have a desire to be remembered in 100 years, but I would like for Pulsifi to be remembered around the world for spreading our vision of helping people achieve their greatness, and for team members of Pulsifi to be recognized as people who deliver impact and change the world.

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As a co-founder, spreading Pulsifi’s vision and building Pulsifi into a great world-class company is definitely the key objective. But we can only achieve that with a great team. So the bigger objective is really developing our team. Hey, we practice what we preach! All the team members of Pulsifi joined because they saw Pulsifi as a platform that accelerated their ability to make a difference in an area that they are passionate about or simply changing the world. I do my best to ensure that Pulsifi helps them get there. For people outside Pulsifi to recognize over 100 years of the greatness of Pulsifi people would be my highest achievement.

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The Pulsifi team. Image courtesy of Pulsifi

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About Jay

Jay Huang Pulsifi PortraitJay co-founded Pulsifi to help people to truly understand themselves, and organizations to truly understand their people, by bringing AI to HR. His previous roles include Head of Strategy at CtrlShift, The Boston Consulting Group, VC at Infocomm Investments (now SGInnovate) and business development at International Enterprise Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore).

Jay completed the CFA program, and received his Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California, Berkeley, and Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Cornell University, on the Singapore Economic Development Board Scholarship.

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