Customer Story

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Fractal uses Karat to reclaim hundreds of hours interviewing engineers

The Challenge

Fractal is a venture capital collective that funds companies and pairs technical co-founders with non-technical co-founders to set them up for long-term entrepreneurial success. Unlike other companies that interview technical talent, Fractal doesn’t hire engineering candidates. Instead, it funds these talented individuals so that they can go on to start companies. 

When Fractal was experiencing hyper growth, their unique business model meant that they were launching a huge number of companies, but Fractal itself wasn’t growing. The business was moving faster and they were building momentum, until they quickly reached a bottleneck where their lack of interviewing capacity was holding them back from launching more startups. 

Initially, Fractal’s Head of Engineering, Martin Kess, was the only one who interviewed candidates. This meant that Kess was doing 3 to 4 interviews each day, in addition to scheduling multiple touch points with candidates. “It was exhausting,” he said. They eventually hired two engineers internally to help spread the interview load, but it still took up a significant amount of time and effort, since they have a high bar for technical founders. 

Kess was also rejecting most candidates, which exacerbated the bottleneck and created a lack of transparency with the rest of the team. According to Kess, one of the biggest challenges with engineering interviews is the specialized knowledge that’s needed. This requires engineering leaders to create transparency in order for the rest of the company to trust their decisions. “But it can be hard to get to a level where non-engineers feel comfortable with it or can even understand the reasons for rejection.”

Lastly, Fractal didn’t have visibility into their talent pipeline. They didn’t have stats that provided insight into their recruiting process, but Kess estimated that they needed about 30 candidates at the top of the funnel in order to launch one company. Without data, it was difficult to make sure interviews were consistent across different interviewers and candidates were getting a similar experience.

The Solution

To continue growing their portfolio and relieve their team of a huge time suck, Fractal decided to partner with Karat to interview potential technical founders. Karat has helped the organization overcome their challenges in several ways:

  • Karat’s 24/7 interviews give candidates the flexibility to interview on the weekends, in the evening, or whatever time works best for them. Kess had a very constrained schedule, so it was always challenging to find a time that worked for him and the candidate. In some cases, their schedules wouldn’t line up until two months out. 
  • In addition to supporting 24/7 interviews, Karat’s on-demand technical assessments decreased the amount of time that candidates spent in the pipeline. This further reduced scheduling friction by allowing candidates to move through all the interview stages at their own speed and get a faster decision from Fractal.
  • By using Karat to vet a large number of candidates at the top of the funnel, Kess saved a lot of time and was able to shift his interviewing capacity to highly qualified candidates at the bottom of the funnel. Since Fractal was interviewing about 30 candidates at the top of the funnel, Karat not only helped Kess save time, but also enabled him to spend his time more strategically. 
  • Karat established a standard interview process for Fractal, which created a high level of trust and transparency within its team that’s difficult to achieve in any specialized interviewing process. Everyone at the company felt like they understood what was happening in the interview process, that the interviews were objective, and they agreed on the bar that candidates had to pass in order to move forward. 

Working with Karat has been simple, straightforward, and fast. Just as Karat has removed the friction in Fractal’s interview process, Fractal has also had a frictionless experience working with Karat. 

“I love working with Karat because it saves a ton of time. It creates a consistent and standard interview process, and they’ve been extremely receptive to feedback and in changing and iterating,” said Kess. In response to Fractal’s and other customers’ feedback, Fractal has seen how Karat’s platform has changed over the last few years. The continuous improvement ensures that Fractal’s hiring process provides a great and efficient candidate experience and stays up to date with the latest recruiting trends.  

“[Karat’s] been a part of this process that has brought people onto the path of entrepreneurship, which is pretty cool. Maybe the next Bill Gates will have taken a Karat interview,” said Kess.


  • Fractal has launched 140 companies since using Karat.  
  • 1,761 interview hours reclaimed
  • 67 hires through Karat
  • 8 candidates per hire
  • 82% of candidates rate experience 4 or 5 stars

Fractal Software

Fractal is launching the next generation of vertical SaaS startups by equipping founders with a thoroughly researched idea, an ambitious cofounder, and capital. Its collective of former founders and operators believe that all industries deserve best in class, modern software to enhance their businesses, and they want to partner with entrepreneurs who share the same passion and conviction for these ideas. Fractal’s world-class portfolio team provides actionable guidance, accelerating growth and positioning new companies for long-term success.

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