Kathleen Yu: The founder of Rumarocket


Kathleen Yu, Founder & CEO Rumarocket

Image Courtesy: Josiahgo

Kathleen Yu, a graduate of The University of the Philippines, is the founder and CEO of Rumarocket. Rumarocket is an end-to-end talent management platform that uses skill-based assessments and big data analytics to help companies identify and engage the right talent for their needs.

What is Rumarocket?

Rumarocket is a business that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Algorithms for talent recruitment, management, and retention. It helps companies recruit, retain, and incentivize their talents more effectively, identifies applications with potential to be successful, and the best performing employees within the company, and anticipates employees who are likely to resign.

Rumarocket Logo (2019)

Rumarocket currently focuses on sales functions, as this metric is more objective and quantifiable. A real estate company using Rumarocket’s predictive recruitment software as a validation of its effectiveness. After six months, employees recruited through Rumarocket made 150% more sales and closed their sales faster, compared to employees hired elsewhere. Rumarocket also increased the productivity of the existing sales force. The existing workforce experienced an increase in productive agents from 30% to 97%. Additionally, the company improved employee retention by 18%, resulting in 220 times greater return of investment.

Our value proposition is that we build a data-driven system that helps you make sense of your data in terms of the past and the present so you can make better decisions in the future,” she added. “You have these different chunks with recruitment, retention, leadership [and] effectiveness that you put together to form a big picture. And that big picture is not whether your recruitment is okay or [if] this part is okay, it’s your talent funnel and your talent system. [It’s] whether the people you get are actually going to be the people who add value to the company in the long term.
— Yu on the basis and need for Rumarocket

The Journey to Rumarocket

Among Rumarocket's many accolades is winning the regional competition of Seedstars World in 2014, when CEO Kathleen Yu (second from right) was only 23 years old

Image Courtesy: Entrepreneur

Kathleen Yu graduated from the University of the Philippines in 2014 with a degree in Communication Research. Yu first proposed the idea of Rumarocket, (a platform to link job applicants to their most suitable jobs) to her then thesis advisor, but the idea was shot down for being unrealistic. On the encouragement of her statistics teacher, Yu pursued the idea. She taught herself data science, coding and machine learning and took the idea to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University, where she received more support for her idea. After building on the original idea, Yu took the business plan to Startup Weekend Manila in 2014, where Rumarocket was born.

At Startup Weekend Manila, Yu’s pitch for Rumarocket won $30,000 in funding from a private investor. Yu was also able to meet her four of her fellow co-founders. While it seemed like a bright start for Rumarocket, they soon encountered their first major hurdle. The first launch event ended up failing as most job applicants were not willing to pay for the service being provided. While her co-founders left after this, Yu stuck with the idea.

I didn’t see myself as a ‘girl in the tech space,’ but as a person who was interested in technology and wanted to be a part of building a technology that made people’s lives easier
— Yu on what drove her to develop Rumarocket

Kathleen Yu and her Rumarocket team

Image Courtesy: Inquirer.net

Yu’s perseverance led to her being recognized by international investors and venture capitalists. Joining an intensive Chinese accelerator program, Chinaccelerator, provided her with the necessary funding to continue pursuing her idea. The idea switched from servicing job applicants, to helping companies identify the most suitable applicants. While the idea was thriving in China, business was down for Rumarocket as clients either demanded Chinese language processing or ended up doing something similar in-house. Yu decided to return to the Philippines and reassess.

After returning to the Philippines, Yu felt she was finally where she belonged. Rumarocket began serving multinational industries such as financial services, real estate and fast moving consumer good companies based in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Despite facing numerous challenges while establishing Rumarocket, Yu is now heading a successful startup valued at 8 million dollars.

I enjoyed the process of exploration, of understanding, of asking questions, of solving problems. And to succeed, I had to go back to what made me want to do this in the first place
Tayyaba Qamar