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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Italian Outplacement Firm Enters U.S. Via Valley

 The outplacement division of human resources technology firm CareerArc in Burbank has rebranded as Intoo USA after being acquired in June by Italian staffing firm Gi Group. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.The transaction represents an entry into the U.S. market for Gi Group, a major player in Europe, and the internationalization of the former CareerArc unit.

Intoo makes B2B software that helps HR departments provide career coaching to employees transitioning out of the organization or moving from one internal job to another. That includes assistance constructing resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, access to job boards and an on-demand chat interface with career specialists.Intoo will remain headquartered in Burbank and employees there and in a satellite office in Boston will retain their positions, but the company will be able to serve businesses in more than 55 countries using Gi Group’s resources and relationships.

New Intoo Chief Executive Yair Riemer, formerly president of career transition services at CareerArc, described the company’s software as a virtual career center that “helps organizations protect their brand” by ensuring smooth transitions for employees changing roles.Riemer told the Business Journal Gi Group is in the middle of an aggressive growth campaign and pushing to double its current revenue – reported at €2.6 billion in 2019.According to a statement from Gi Group Chief Executive Stefano Colli-Lanzi, establishing a presence in the U.S. will help propel the company towards that goal.

“Entering into the North American market is in line with our development plan and further consolidates our role as a global player, aiming to reach €6 billion in turnover,” he said in the statement.

Colli-Lanzi added Gi sees increasing value in career transition services like those offered by CareerArc because of the unemployment crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic – “it is becoming very important.” Riemer explained CareerArc’s relationship with Gi Group began after a $30 million fundraising round led by PeakEquity Partners, in Radnor, Pa., in December 2018.“Almost all our business was domestic. We wanted to expand internationally,” he said.

Former Chief Executive and CareerArc founder Robin Richards facilitated the introduction with Gi Group, Riemer said, and got CareerArc a placement in Gi’s Career Star Group, a referral network comprising about 40 outplacement companies around the world.Riemer said having prior involvement helped both companies feel more comfortable moving forward with an acquisition during a time when face-to-face meetings weren’t happening and paperwork was filed remotely.

When the transaction closed, Richards, a longtime Valley entrepreneur, became the chairman of Intoo’s board of directors. His executive post at CareerArc has been taken over by Jim Bramante, who also serves as the chairman of CareerArc’s board.“We’re going to be expanding our technology globally at much faster pace,” Riemer said of Intoo’s post-acquisition capabilities.

To accommodate that growth, he said Intoo will be building out its teams in Burbank and Boston, establishing an office in nearby Marlborough, Mass. and hiring several dozen remote employees by the end of 2021.Pandemic economyWhile most outplacement firms are benefiting from the high job turnover and mass layoffs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Riemer said the crisis gives Intoo a specific advantage over its competitors.“It’s hard to scale your business (virtually),” he said. “Their DNA is more rooted in in-person meetings … and career coaching online is done differently than it is in person.”Riemer said the career services industry will have to learn a lot about how to operate digitally as a result of the virus – a learning curve Intoo has already dealt with.

“We saw the trend of going virtual earlier than COVID-19,” he said.

“In three to five to seven years, everyone is going to deliver the way Intoo does.” Part of what makes the company’s newfound global reach so important, he added, is that people whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic aren’t as limited by geography in their hunt for a new position.

“It opens us up to servicing the world,” he said.That goes two ways: the Intoo team can help U.S.-based employees find work overseas if they’re struggling to rebound in a tight local job market, and can help non-U.S. employers give workers access to a globl opportunities.He noted that it’s not uncommon for staffing firms to service international markets, but doing so comes with challenges related to navigating local employment laws and taxation. In that regard, Gi Group’s support is crucial.“They bring us all the background on local customs and local laws, all the specifics in each of those locales,” he explained. “We’re emphasizing the global reach, but we’re building on the foundation of a company founded in Burbank.”

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