A Q&A with The One-Page Company co-founder and CEO Joanna Riley Weidenmiller. The San Francisco-based company was founded in early 2012 and closed a $1.5 million funding round in early November. Investors include Blumberg Capital and TMT Investments.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Weidenmiller: Job seekers have always been our main target before even beginning to build our product. Job seekers are not a list of past experiences; they are people who hold a unique collection of experiences, knowledge and ideas. We provide job seekers a communication tool that allows them to identify and address a need in a company they are interested in, and provide their own, unique solution without any bias towards their age, references, experience or background.
We are also targeting the HR space. Companies have become inundated with resumes—3.6 billion resumes are being sent to five million companies in the U.S. We are looking to help companies find candidates who can provide solutions. We have also received very successful feedback from CEOs, CIOs and CEOs of both large and small companies.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Weidenmiller: Our biggest competitor is the old mind set of applying to jobs. It is the attitude of the easy, fast solution versus the well-researched execution strategy. There are also a lot of great technologies that are focusing on different segments of the hiring process. For example, I have been very impressed with the company SuccessFactors. Instead of competing with a company like that, we look to work with them because we are a value-added service. Combining the resources of the ‘competitor’ and 1-Page allows companies to find the best talent around, which also opens the opportunity to create strong partnerships with what some would view as a potential competitor.
SUB: What differentiates The One-Page Company from the competition?
Weidenmiller: The One-Page Company makes branded communication tools for corporations and individuals to write effective proposals in a one page format. To support the demand and supply side of the markets, the company is building the world’s largest online proposal platform. Proposals are at the heart of all human interaction of pitching ideas whether getting a job, writing a book, or making a movie. Currently, there isn’t a ‘place’ to do this systemically.
A few successful companies, Angel List, Ariba, Blur Group, Gust and others have done an excellent job being the buyer-seller communication market place in other sectors. We aim to do the same. We are an enterprise SaaS solution for corporations and individuals. Our product allows organizations to systematically solicit, distribute, and review 1-page proposals in response to a real-life challenge within a company.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Weidenmiller: The One-Page Company was conceptualized in San Francisco in 2002. The company was founded in 2012. The book, One-Page Proposal, was published in 2002 and became a business best seller in the U.S., China, Japan, and Korea. Business schools have been teaching this system since. We took that successful concept of 1-Page Proposal and applied it to the largest demographic in the world with the biggest communication problem—employment.
My first step was to prove that the concept of the 1-Page Proposal was successful with helping candidates secure jobs. With my tech team, most of the time over Skype, we built a B-to-C product to test the market. When the results came back, we found that well over 60 percent of candidates were getting jobs in only a couple of weeks. Companies began to approach us with extraordinary interest for even more proposals, and that is when we realized there was a bigger opportunity.
After the test and realizing we had to build a whole platform, we changed from an LLC to incorporation. The next step was to find the best team, investors, and advisors to help us build the next generation of communication for job seekers.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea and name for The One-Page Company?
Weidenmiller: Our inspiration was The One-Page Proposal by Patrick Riley, our co-founder.
SUB: What was the impetus to turn the idea into a business?
Weidenmiller: The extraordinary success we found across companies, individual demographics, and even countries.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Weidenmiller: The biggest challenge is being an enterprise solution, because it requires you to change the mentality inside a corporation and to do that efficiently, cost effectively, and correctly. I have also learned that is the biggest challenge of other enterprise technologies. Change is always hard. The resume is so ingrained in us even though it proves unsuccessful results, but sometimes the easy road is the most tempting.
SUB: You just raised $1.5 million in funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Weidenmiller: We are building out our product team to move quickly and follow through on our initial go to market plans and long term vision for the 1-Page proposal product. In addition we will need to build out a small yet awesome customer support and community management team to keep all our customers super happy.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funding?
Weidenmiller: Right now is a great time for us to raise because of the current trends in VCs investing in enterprise. We are on the heels of the acquisitions of major human resource companies, Taleo and SuccessFactors. Moreover, we found the product and market fit before we fundraised, so, our newly financed product team is able to build quickly and get to market faster. Both these factors will lead us to raise a solid Series A to build out our sales organization and really start capitalizing on the large opportunity that lies ahead.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Weidenmiller: We are currently privately onboarding and speaking with a select group of large enterprise customers across multiple industries. We are charging a fixed price per month now for our platform to make it easy and will begin to iterate on the pricing strategy and tiered offerings based on the data we collect during this time. In addition, we have newly uncovered uses for the 1-Page Proposal and Job Proposal within companies, and this has caused us to think of other revenue strategies. It’s all very exciting.
SUB: What are your goals for The One-Page Company over the next year or so?
Weidenmiller: Our goal is to become to proposals what Google is to search, beginning with jobs.
The One-Page Company – www.1-page.com