Featured Startup Pitch: FirmPlay is out to upset the online job search paradigm by giving job seekers insight into companies’ cultural ‘DNA’

Vasilios AlexiouBy Vasilios Alexiou, FirmPlay co-founder

ELEVATOR PITCH

FirmPlay is a new job search platform that takes job seekers behind-the-scenes at companies through in-depth videos, photos and other rich content. The result—job seekers have a better chance to find a job and employer that’s right for them, and employers have the ability to showcase their culture in order to attract the right candidates.

PRODUCT/SERVICE DESCRIPTION

Online job search is broken. Stale, text-based job postings that all sound similar are often a job seeker’s first point of contact with a company. And in that 30-to-60 seconds that a job seeker spends scanning a job listing, they rarely, if ever, get a sense for whether they’d be a good fit at the company; a sad reality given that 70 percent of workers feel disengaged at work. It’s clear that culture and fit should be more prominent in the job search.

That’s where FirmPlay comes in. We’re a new job search platform that shows job seekers what it’s like at companies using photos and videos, with the aim of helping them discover companies they’ll love to work for. On the other side of the table, we help companies showcase what makes them a great workplace.  Both sides win: Job seekers can focus their search on places that are a good fit for them (and save time by avoiding companies that aren’t a fit before they start applying), and companies can differentiate themselves as a great workplace and get candidates who understand their culture.

FirmPlay Home search

FOUNDERS’ STORY

Jason Rivas, FirmPlay

FirmPlay co-founder Jason Rivas

The two of us (Jason Rivas and Vasilios Alexiou) have always been interested in startups. Yet, somehow, we both spent most of our careers in professional services industries (specifically, investment banking and management consulting). We met in business school in 2010, tried our hand at a startup and failed in 2012, and graduated soon thereafter. Thankfully, the startup bug never left us, so the band got back together again in late 2013 to start brainstorming on what eventually became FirmPlay.

MARKETING/PROMOTION STRATEGY

We’re currently featuring tech-related companies based in the Boston metro area that are growing and hiring. We’re also promoting our site to talented job seekers who are either just about to enter the job market out of college (and need help discovering cool companies) or have some experience under their belt and are more discerning about what they’re looking for in an employer (and thus need help getting behind the scenes and evaluating companies’ culture). We’re reaching this demographic through traditional marketing activities like word-of-mouth, social media, and press (you’re reading it!); but we’re also focused on actually establishing a presence and brand on university campuses, which we’re doing through the Campus Ambassador program we’re rolling out across major schools in Boston like Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern.

FirmPlay Profile main

MARKET OPPORTUNITY

U.S. corporations spend about $125 billion a year on recruiting; about $25 billion of that is spent online. And those numbers are only growing. While it’s a competitive space, there’s plenty of room for creative and unique solutions to strengthen the recruiting process for both job seekers and employers.

HOW WE DIFFERENTIATE FROM THE COMPETITION

While there are sites that provide good information on employers, we’re different in a few ways.

First, our company profiles are very visual, using videos and photos to take you behind the scenes at companies. While text can tell you a lot about a company, there’s no substitute for videos and photos when it comes to seeing what it’s like inside the four walls of an office.

Second, we work with companies to highlight their core cultural traits, and then let the job seeker decide if they’d like to spend more time researching and/or applying to the company. We don’t have reviews on companies (a la Glassdoor), as we find reviews to be very extreme (people hating or loving a company, with no way to tell which reviews are genuine) and repetitive (several aspects always get mentioned—e.g. “Leadership is great!” or “Morale is terrible here.”).

Finally, most sites let job seekers look for a job by a few criteria, like the job’s location and function. While important, those basic criteria are only a small subset of what people use to evaluate a prospective employer—in fact, 90 percent of job seekers cite positive culture as either very important or essential to their ideal job. Most online job search tools never touch culture. That’s why we developed our proprietary WorkplaceDNA, which lets job seekers search by a dozen individual components that make up a company’s culture, such as work pace, hours, and feedback style, to name a few. By searching and filtering for a company based on the criteria that ultimately impact your day-to-day happiness at work, you can avoid companies that aren’t a fit from the beginning, and invest that saved time in the companies that are right for you.

FirmPlay Profile top

BUSINESS MODEL

We’re currently offering companies the chance to get a FirmPlay profile for no cost as part of our promotional efforts. However, in 2015 companies will pay a monthly subscription fee to reside on the site.

CURRENT NEEDS

We’re planning to raise a Seed round in late 2014/early 2015. In the meantime, we’re always looking for talented people to join our team!

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FirmPlay logoHEADQUARTERS: Cambridge, Massachusetts

WEBSITE: www.firmplay.com

FOUNDERS: Vasilios Alexiou, Jason Rivas

INVESTORS: Bootstrapped

YEAR FOUNDED: 2014

TWITTER: @FirmPlay

FACEBOOK: facebook.com/firmplay

CRUNCHBASE: crunchbase.com/organization/firmplay

LINKEDIN: linkedin.com/company/firmplay

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