Cincy startup acquires artificial intelligence firm

A Cincinnati-based startup has acquired a high-tech firm from Montreal, its second acquisition in recent months.


Besomebody, Inc. said it acquired Pixelbug Technologies Inc., an augmented reality and artificial intelligence startup. Besomebody recruits and trains talent for businesses and develops software for custom job training programs.


Its Pixelbug deal will add artificial intelligence capabilities for its recruiting and training division and augmented reality expertise for its software development. Pixelbug’s founder and CEO, Dany El Eid, will join Besomebody as senior director of technology.


In November, Besomebody announced it was acquiring Opening Minds LLC, a Cincinnati-based multimedia and event firm.


Besomebody has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as Kroger, Pepsico, and Mass Mutual on recruiting and training, content strategy, and company culture, says its founder Kash Shaikh.


It works with employers to identify the skills needed for their open jobs. Then it builds a curriculum, markets the program, and handles recruitment at no cost to the employer. Its team then works with selected job candidates — only about 15 percent of candidates are accepted — through custom, job-specific training programs.


“We reverse-engineer traditional education,” Shaikh says. “We start with the business objectives, the success criteria, the job description — even the company culture. Then, we create hands-on training programs in partnership with industry experts and outstanding instructors. And when everything is set, we open those paths to people passionate about the industry, job, and employer.”


Besomebody began as Shaikh’s personal blog more than eight years ago. The P&G alum then developed it into a mobile platform that connected people with expert instructors for in-person learning experiences. Users could choose from more than 400 passion areas, from pottery and piano, to snowboarding and skydiving.


In 2017, Besomebody sold the software portion of that business to Denver-based Utivity. The company then evolved into one that connects employers with skilled job candidates, creating “Besomebody Paths” for job prospects.


Besomebody Paths are currently available for jobs in health care, hospitality, animal care, graphic design, and sales, with more Paths expected soon. Candidates must pass multiple screenings to get into the program, including AI-driven assessments and evaluations.

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist, Cincinnati native and father of three. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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