With a second round of funding in the bank, jobandtalent is building an employment platform for ‘passive’ candidates
A Q&A with jobandtalent co-founder and co-CEO Felipe Navio Garcia. The London-based startup closed a $3.3 million (€2.5 million) funding round in late July. It was the company’s second round. Jobandtalent offers an employment search service for ‘passive’ applicants—those not necessarily looking for a new job but are open to new opportunities. It was founded in early 2009 by Garcia and Juan Urdiales.
SUB: Please describe jobandtalent and your primary innovation.
Garcia: Jobandtalent is a recruitment platform which matches jobs to candidates through an innovative linguistics-based algorithm. More than a half of professionals still miss great career opportunities because they don’t have the time to browse daily among the millions of jobs posted on different job boards. We are using our unique technology to solve this problem and automatically match professionals to relevant jobs—it’s like having a personal assistant looking out for suitable vacancies across the web. Our mission is to revolutionize and redefine the recruitment space online, ensuring that no one misses a great job opportunity.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Garcia: On the one hand we target passive professionals who are open to a career change because they want to improve their career, get a better salary, etc. However, many of these individuals do not have the time to be regularly checking for jobs. Jobandtalent also targets top companies who want to engage with those professionals but who currently do not have the appropriate tools to do so.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Garcia: There are many companies in the recruitment space. However, we cooperate with most of them as we help them to make their jobs stand out by matching them to passive professionals.
SUB: What differentiates jobandtalent from the competition?
Garcia: Most of the job boards are focused on targeting active candidates. However, our disruptive technology allows us to target passive candidates and to engage them with employers in the most efficient manner.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Garcia: Juan and I have been in the recruitment space since 2009, testing different approaches from career guides to the integration of social media networks within the recruitment process. Along the way, we learned that one of the biggest pains for professionals was that they were still missing opportunities that could change their life completely. That is when we decided to focus on fixing that problem.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for jobandtalent? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Garcia: It has been a gradual process since 2009. In 2012, we started manually matching candidates and jobs to try and help them access a better career. We began to see that the metrics from those matches were amazing and people started to love the user experience. That’s when we decided to pivot the company and make the process automated by building this new technology.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story, or meaning, behind it?
Garcia: Actually we wanted to use a different name—‘quovadis,’ but it was already taken by another company. So, we came together and brainstormed looking for a name that could be both easily related to our sector and easily internationalized. Juan came up with the inspiration after several hours and we couldn’t believe the domain was still available.
SUB: You recently raised €2.5 million in new venture funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise more funding?
Garcia: Since we pivoted in 2012 into the linguistics-based algorithm, we have seen all of our metrics skyrocket and we have a very clear pipeline of what we want to build and how we want to do it. We are really excited about where we can go with this investment.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Garcia: It will mainly be used to continue improving the accuracy of the matching algorithm, as well as developing native mobile apps that we believe will be a game-changer in terms of the recruitment industry. Equally, the funding allows us to focus on boosting user-adoption in the United Kingdom, and preparing the platform for new markets, with a strong focus on the U.S. and Latin America.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Garcia: Right now we’re focused on continuing to improve the product and grow our user base. However, it’s always important to think about what is the best way to grow the company, and so if we keep on hitting our targets, outside funding will be needed to accelerate the growth.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Garcia: I wouldn’t call them ‘obstacles’ but rather ‘challenges.’ We have had to build a very new technology from scratch. We need to work with a huge volume of data and apply analysis to it in real-time. It’s still an exciting challenge as we keep on improving the technology day-by-day.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Garcia: Jobandtalent’s core revenue is derived from companies paying a fee to place a job listing that links-up suitable prospective applicants with the listed vacancies. This in turn provides applications from candidates that were not actively searching for a job.
SUB: What are your goals for over the next year or so?
Garcia: We want to help many more people find and secure amazing career opportunities that would change their life dramatically, while also successfully moving our user experience to mobile in order to give better service to our users.
Jobandtalent – www.jobandtalent.com