Clustree, a French job skills platform, has been acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand, a global leader in people development software solutions. The California-based company agreed to buy Clustree for approximately $18.5 million in an all-cash deal.

Founded in 2014, the French startup developed one of the world’s most sophisticated skills engines using machine learning and “bias-free algorithms” to help organisations match their employees’ skills with specific job roles. By categorising 1 billion job skills, across multiple languages, into a library of 53,000 verified skills, the Clustree engine can accurately profile any employee from any industry.

Customers, including global brands such as Carrefour and SNCF, are using the technology to inform people operations decisions, such as whom to hire, how to develop their employees, how to structure long-term workforce planning, and ultimately, how to close the skills gap that companies are experiencing worldwide.

That’s precisely what attracted Cornerstone to the deal. Cornerstone founder and CEO Adam Miller explained: “The future of work will require organizations and their people to continuously learn new skills to keep up with the pace of technology and fundamental industry shifts. In order to prepare for the future, organizations must have a grasp on the skills and capabilities their talent has today so they can identify skills gaps and start developing their talent for tomorrow.”

Over the next year, Cornerstone plans to integrate the Clustree skills engine and skills ontology into its portfolio of products that make up Cornerstone’s holistic People Development solution.

Commenting on the acquisition, Clustree founder and CEO Bénédicte de Raphélis Soissan said: “We’ve dedicated the past five years to making skills the currency of work and helping organizations prepare for the future thanks to a very strong AI technology and product. By joining Cornerstone, we can now expand our footprint even larger and integrate our value proposition into a leading people development solution that is used by thousands of organizations around the world.”

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of some standard closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020.

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