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Crelate CEO Aaron Elder. (Crelate Photo)

In a startup environment where heavy funding, bold bets, and rapid growth are the norm, Crelate stands out for its modest, slow-and-steady approach.

The recruiting software startup just raised $5.3 million from Five Elms, a venture capital firm in Kansas City, Mo. Crelate develops tools to help recruiting agencies manage their pipelines of talent and job opportunities. The four-year-old startup just crossed 900 customers.

“There’s definitely different approaches to building a business,” said Crelate CEO Aaron Elder. “There’s the burn fast and either get really big or burnout. I’m operating more under the continuous improvement, high probability of success.”

The new funding builds off of a $1.2 million round the company closed in early 2017. Crelate plans to grow its 21-person team and double down on sales with the fresh cash.

“We see a lot of demand and need for our product,” Elder said. “The industry is growing and they have some very specialized needs.”

Crelate is headquartered in Maryland but its engineering operation is in Kirkland, Wash. Elder, who is based at the Kirkland office, said he picked the Seattle suburb because “the tax climate is more friendly to business” and “it’s a little bit cheaper.” Crelate is one of more than 100 companies that have set up outposts in the Seattle area to mine the region’s tech talent.

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