Featured Pitch: KODA

By Editor March 11, 2010

KODA logo

Website: www.koda.us

Headquarters: San Francisco and New Orleans

Year Founded: 2009

Founder: Jeff Berger, CEO

Investors: Angel Investors

Employees: 15

Company Description in 140 characters or less: 

“KODA is the leading online community that introduces today’s young professionals to the world’s employers.”

By Jeff Berger, CEO

Finding a job in this economy may have just gotten a little bit easier.  Our San Francisco and New OrleJeff Berger, KODA CEOans based social recruiting startup, KODA.us, is making waves in the private investment community for our innovative approach to helping people find jobs.  We just received an additional $1.5 million in private angel funding to support KODA’s growing user base and continued community expansion.

I see KODA challenging traditional resources like classifieds and job boards by getting “back to the basics” of the job search.  The recruitment industry doesn’t work for today’s young job seekers.  I know, because I was one of them.  The unemployment figures are staggering for recent college grads (with national rates topping 17 percent).  I truly believe that part of the problem is that recruiting sites aren’t paying attention to how young people communicate and what employers are really looking for.

Born out of job search frustrations as a recent Tulane graduate in a post-Katrina New Orleans, we designed KODA to fill the gap left by social and professional networks and job boards:

-Social networks are for socializing, not for finding a job.

-Online professional networks only work for those with already-existing contacts after several years of work experience.

-Traditional resumes and job boards are impersonal and static—a growing frustration for a generation that is accustomed to wide-open communication channels.

I see our team as pioneers in the “social recruiting” space.  We define it as using an online social medium to find your best candidate.  KODA is the first online community where young professionals and companies can come together in a professional environment that encourages self-expression.

What’s different about KODA vs. online job boards or classifieds is that job seekers create profiles on KODA that highlight their strengths, their passions and features about their personality that make them a great fit for a job.  In turn, employers can provide a complete picture of their organization, culture and strategic differences on their own profile page.  KODA uses technology to match the right candidate to the right job.

The idea was to create a website that wasn’t about finding a job–it was about finding the right career.  We see ourselves as an ally in the process of bringing employers and young professionals together to emphasize their assets in a modern, appropriate context.  KODA encourages individuality and self-expression, and then uses technology to introduce the right opportunities to the right people.  It’s ideal for helping employers find entry to mid-level candidates who don’t yet have a meaningful professional network.

The latest investment underscores the significant business opportunity involved in using social networking tools to transform the online recruiting space.  And, although the economy has taken a toll on some startups, we are lucky enough to have angel investors who believe in our innovative vision for the recruiting process.

And, community insiders are beginning to take notice as well.  We recently announced the selection of Michelle Slagle, the former Chief Financial Officer for both JobFox and CareerBuilder, as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.  Ms. Slagle’s role includes working with the executive team in implementing our plan to spend the $1.5 million for operations and product development that will enhance the seeker experience and make the KODA community more interactive.

Currently, the site offers features such as sharing videos, images and links to websites that showcase a job candidate “in action.”  The site’s Explorer and Suggestions features not only match candidates to jobs that fit their characteristics, but they also allow candidates to explore job opportunities across professional fields.  For employers, KODA has simplified the recruiting process by developing a crawler which automatically captures new jobs on the employer’s website and draws it into the KODA system.  Therefore, there is no updating involved for the employer.

KODA is 100 percent free for people who wish to join our community.  For employers, KODA has no upfront fees and no talent database fee.  The site works on a pay-per-click model, so employers are charged when a candidate clicks to apply.

Since launching in mid-2009, KODA’s employer network has grown to more than 450 organizations including Fortune 500 companies.  KODA currently has thousands of young job candidates using the site.  We are a privately held company with 15 employees in the San Francisco and New Orleans area.  New Orleans’ CityBusiness recently named us a “2009 Innovator of the Year.”

Koda – www.koda.us