Case Study

Cognism leans on Captivate Talent for successful launch and growth in the US, from Series A to present (sales hiring, recommendations, and more)

Note: Captivate Talent is dedicated to sourcing and placing exceptional individuals, ensuring that our talent pool represents diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences.

This case study includes a diverse hire, furthering our commitment to diversity and our ability to match top-tier talent from all backgrounds with organizations seeking to build a more inclusive and innovative workforce.

Captivate Talent provides US expansion guidance and high-quality talent to fuel growth

After closing their Series A, Cognism was looking to expand and build a US sales team. When Cognism arrived in New York to set up US operations, they had limited knowledge of hiring a go-to-market team in the US.

Through a recommendation from another UK-based startup founder, Cognism’s CEO (James Isilay) turned to Captivate Talent to lead their sales hiring in the US.

The partnership turned out to be incredibly successful for Cognism. Captivate Talent placed Cognism’s first US sales hires, including a placement that is now their Global Head of Partnerships. Additionally, Captivate has been a key partner, especially when Cognism has faced challenges around having the right leaders in place to support culture and growth.

Who is Cognism?

Cognism is a B2B sales acceleration software company that provides a marketing and sales acceleration solution.


Partnership started in
Jul 2019
£2.9M Series A
Jul 2019
£64M Series C


Viking Global Investors, AXA Venture Partners, and 18 more

Captivate Talent took a huge burden off our shoulders during our US expansion and has been a key long-term partner. 

From a talent standpoint, they have provided us with great pre-vetted candidates that were excited about the role even before we interviewed them.

From a launch standpoint, they advised us on everything US-set up related from payroll to office locations to restaurants, and much more.

James Isilay
CEO at Cognism



Total placements throughout partnership


Additional rounds of funding for Cognism since partnership


Promotion from original set of hires (now Global Head of Partnerships)

Similar Searches

US expansion searches

5 GTM hires - Series C - FinTech

12 GTM hires - IPO in Israel - VideoTech

11 GTM hires - Series C - EdTech

Results: Cognism gains a strong US sales team that continues to outperform

The impact from the placements Captivate made at Cognsim have been far reaching.

Even from the first hires that helped build an early US sales foundation, the quality of candidates was obvious. 

That now Global Head of Partnerships is a great example. It’s someone who started on a single partner relationship and now has grown that out to a global business unit.

Later leadership hires helped to build on the strong company culture James and Cognism were putting in place.

In those later hires, Captivate was successfully able to reignite the brand and help Cognism rebuild the entire culture in the way they wanted it built.

From a revenue standpoint, Captivate’s most recent hires (role backfills) at Cognsim have helped them beat out last year’s performance with the same headcount. All while seeing a happier team that feels supported and strong.

James himself has seen the strong performance increase first-hand along with a culture improvement with how the office and teams are being run.

1st placement

Head of Sales (promoted to Global Head of Partnerships)

Additional placements

VP of Sales, Lead Account Executive, AEs, SDR Manager

Challenge: Understanding US sales compensation, benefits and finding strong candidates that fit culture

When Cognism started interviewing in the US, they had limited knowledge in compensation and benefits structures for US sales hires. They didn’t even have an office in New York to conduct interviews.

After the company expanded in the US, the challenge shifted to maintaining a strong culture while the team grew. The sales leadership in place (not through Captivate) was struggling to establish and embrace Cognism’s culture.

Over the years, the leadership responsible for sales hiring also tried another recruiting company but found the candidate quality to be lacking and poorly screened for culture fit.

Solution: A true partnership over just a candidate list

Captivate provided more than just sales candidates when Cognsim landed in the US. They helped James and the team with recommendations for HR software, payroll, etc. 

Captivate even lended their New York office to Cognism to conduct interviews.

Additionally, Captivate Talent provided a ton of feedback around compensation ranges and benefits recommendations, which were very different compared to hiring in Europe.

Captivate also had a rigorous vetting process for candidates that resulted in not only high-quality candidates, but candidates that were excited about working at Cognism.

When Cognism recently experienced challenges with their sales leadership and a culture crisis, Captivate Talent quickly stepped up to find high-performing leadership candidates and get them excited about the open roles. 

Casey at Captivate Talent was a true partner true the hiring process. She was great to communicate with, supportive, and did an excellent job understanding what type of role would be a fit (almost better than I did myself!). Could not recommend Casey and Captive Talent enough.

Frida Ottosson

VP of Sales, Cognism

Working with Brooke at Captivate was a breeze! From the moment she reached out I knew she’d be amazing to work with. At each stage, Brooke made sure I had all my questions answered and ducks in a row. Career changes can have a lot of moving pieces, but Brooke always made sure I had every detail of information I needed to make the best decision. I accepted an incredible offer as a Sales Manager with an incredible company. This was a great experience!

Kaitie Voigt

Sales Manager