Swiss ‘social recruitment’ startup Silp partners up with semantics specialist x28

The Zurich-based online recruitment firm Silp has signed a strategic partnership with x28, another Swiss recruitment technology firm that counts the likes of Adecco among its clients. It’s a partial exit of sorts, as x28 has bought an undisclosed number of shares from Silp’s founders, and will fund the company for the next couple of years and put its executives on Silp’s board.

Silp has an unusual approach to the so-called “social recruitment” business. Plenty of startups are trying to exploit Facebook(s fb) and other social media to help people find jobs, but Silp’s take is passive. People sign up using their Facebook account, saying that they might be interested in changing jobs at some point, and Silp gets to work extracting useful data from their Facebook profiles and combining it with other information from linked services such as Twitter, GitHub and Recruiters will then come to Silp with a list of requirements for prospective job candidates.

Meanwhile, x28 deals in spidering and extraction, with a strong focus on ontology and semantics. According to Silp co-founder Dominik Grolimund, the two companies have complementary technologies — to give a very basic example, Silp might be really good at finding “software engineers”, but x28’s technology would help it know to also look for “programmers” and “developers”:

“There’s synergy with their technology because [x28 is] good at crawling and extracting information in a structured way — making meaning out of the text is what they’re good at. They’re also really good at… adding semantics to the matching process.”

Silp claims to have had a million people sign up within its first three weeks (the service launched last August). As those signing up also put their Facebook contacts into the system, that means the company has 150 million profiles in its database.

According to Grolimund, after that epic first run of sign-ups Silp removed invite features in order to halt growth while the company worked on developing its service for employers – a service that will now have x28’s technology built into it, and that will be co-marketed by the two firms. “We’ll resume growth again once we release the employer product,” he said.