Havas Culture


Senior Writer and Editor
Hannah Lindley joined Havas Group in October 2021 as a Senior Writer and Editor. She has a background in corporate reputation management, journalism, and creative writing.
Dare!’s latest series – “The Start-up Series” – explores the start-ups that are a part of Havas’s Accelerator programme and the agencies that work with them. This week, we spoke with Antoine Biot & Julien Verbois, co-founders of Herakles.works, and Stéphane Gorre, President and Founder of 79 and CIO of the Havas Startup Accelerator, to learn more about herakles.works.

Antoine Biot & Julien Verbois, co-founders of herakles.works

How did the idea for this start-up originate and what was the process of bringing it to life?

The idea was originally to create a new concept of recruitment agency, using digital tools to automate our pre-hiring process. Antoine and I discussed the project and we rapidly decided to go for it and give it a shot. In a matter of just a few months, we drafted a basic workflow using assessment tools and video interview software on top of our applicant tracking system, were able to get some hiring jobs from our clients, and started to propose candidates in a totally innovative way – with facts, data and a short video.

Not only were we saving time in the pre-qualification phase, but we realised that we could enhance and develop our workflow as “the product”. And when COVID-19 started, we designed herakles.works as it is today: the video based saas to automate your initial hiring processes.

Why did you decide to get involved with Havas’s Start-Up Accelerator programme?

We were selected late 2021 to be part of the cohort, and we are very happy. When time and resources are limited, accelerator programmes can help generate more business and make operations more efficient. Havas is a group that can help us do both, so being part of the Accelerator Programme was natural.

When we started with the programme, our proof of concept was nearly completed, and we already had a few clients. On the business side, Havas helped us engage with a few prospects, as our solution complements the network’s ambitious Employer Branding strategies. We knew we could benefit from the group’s experience and expertise, as we could be one of the many pieces that make a large corporation tick. And on the operations side, Havas Accelerator Programme helped us improve our communication and advertising by giving us insightful mentoring sessions.

“Since we started a few months ago, we have nearly doubled our business, and there is more to come! We’ve proven that we have traction in the market, which is key for our next round of investment planned very soon.”

What has your experience been like in this programme so far and how has your business grown?

Very positive indeed. We are now more efficient in our communication strategy, and we are on the verge to take it a step further. Thanks to the expertise available within the Group, we will soon be more visible to the world, our message will be even easier to grasp, and we are very confident that more clients will come. Since we started a few months ago, we have nearly doubled our business, and there is more to come! We’ve proven that we have traction in the market, which is key for our next round of investment planned very soon. Large corporations have been working with us for a few months, and our acceleration is under way!

We read a lot about new FinTech or HealthTech actors. What is your opinion on HRTech and how do you see this industry evolving?

Summer is coming for HR digitisation, and HR professionals are ready for it! The market penetration rate of Digital HR Tools is high and still climbing. Figures speak for themselves: there is a 71% penetration rate for Payroll & Admin, and 53% in Recruitment.

The latter is on the rise and growing fast! So yes, we are absolutely convinced that our solution is leading the way.

When asked about digital as an opportunity for HR people, their answer is clear: 68% want enhanced employer branding, and 61% want to save time on their hiring process –  and we help our clients with both aspects. With herakles.works, Recruiters save 83% of their time on the pre-hiring process, and potential employees get a memorable and unique candidate experience. How about that when you think about employer branding!

Stéphane Gorre, President – Founder of 79 & CIO, Havas Start-up Accelerator

Why is working with start-ups beneficial for your business?

A start-up by essence explores new fields of action in a specific field or optimises what may already exist in its market. They are therefore essential vectors of innovation – and this is even more true in the digital world. At the same time, 79 has everything to gain from taking inspiration from the agility of how start-ups manage their companies in order to instil a sense of belonging within the company, develop a passion among employees, and to refocus expectations according to personalities – all while remaining at the cutting edge of innovation, which is an essential business driver in our sector.

How does herakles.works’ expertise complement or enhance the work you’re already doing?

herakles.works is an agile and customisable solution based on artificial intelligence and an efficient UX that allows you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market. It also helps recruiters be more productive, simplifies the process for candidates, and optimises the image of the employer or the firm looking to recruit. For the record, herakles.works is a web application that allows companies to evaluate candidates. It allows you to recruit well by guaranteeing the level of motivation of the candidates, with a process more engaging than a simple click on an ad, and it also improves companies’ chances of a good match between the candidate and their offer. It does all this by saving time – allowing companies to evaluate a large flow of applications by efficiently pre-selecting candidates.

You can listen to the podcast in French on the official Charbon Podcast, Apple, Amazon, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer and YouTube.

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