We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Rasheen Carbin”, CMO at the US based start-up “nspHire”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
nspHire is a job search app that directly connects candidates with hiring managers and recruiters. You get to go beyond a job board and connect with an actual person. It combines the Tinder UX with the Linkedin API. It’s Tinder for jobs.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Our company was formed in February of 2014. Our product launched in Google Play on 10/16/14. Our iOS followed 3 weeks later. We’re an early stage start-up.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
If both the candidate and company swipe right(indicating that there’s mutual interest), then a chat window can be opened. The employer pays 99 cents for each candidate with whom they’d like to speak. There’s also a $200 unlimited monthly option. For candidates, it’s completely free.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Two of our team met in college at Georgetown University. Our third member we met through our previous start-up, MBA Project Search. We helped him find a remote consulting project with a U.S. company while he lived in Slovenia.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
Direct connection and chat distinguishes us from a job board. They also do a disservice to each side of the equation. Candidates have no idea if a person gets to see their résumé and employers get inundated with far too many résumés.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We are adding about 200 users each week, for both iOS and Android. So far we’ve passed the 5000 download milestone. Our next goal is to reach 10,000 downloads.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
In addition to job boards and aggregators like Careerbuilder, Monster and Indeed, we have other “Tinder for jobs” competitors: Jobr, Blonk, Switch, Swipe Jobs, just to name a few. There are also various networking apps. Of course, there’s also LinkedIn, the leader in the space.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Our greatest obstacle is getting recruiters and HR people to begin using mobile technology. We’re still getting over this obstacle, but in order to speed up the process we’ve targeted younger people in those professions and through social media, formed relationships with recruiters.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Outsiders don’t understand how the job search process works from the employer side. An employer spends about 6 seconds on their initial scan of your résumé. Since they have to make it through so many résumés, initially, they are looking to eliminate candidates rather than look for the perfect fit.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We’re going to succeed through technology that is superior to our competitors and a greater understanding of our customer. Finally, we’re also going to focus on a completely integrated marketing plan that includes both online and offline elements.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
If we succeed, we will most likely license the app to other companies or schools who either don’t currently have a job board or app. We could also create an enterprise version.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Our previous start-up, MBA Project Search, connected MBAs with companies for short-term consulting projects. We were very good at sourcing candidates and still have the largest MBA database out there. Unfortunately, we were not as good at getting projects. Management consulting depends upon having a strong network in order to get substantial projects. We didn’t have that sort of network.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We’ve learned that there’s quite a distance between a great idea and a great company. If you’re going to turn a great idea into a great company, then you need have a clear vision of who you want to be. You can’t be all things to all people.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Our biggest problem will trying to raise money in order to scale. Raising money can be a paradoxical. Companies that don’t need money are the most attractive to company. Additionally, funding is hard to on a part-time basis. Someone needs to own that process and be working on it full-time.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The benefit is that you stand a better chance of finding a job through our app than you would with a job board. You’re also able to scroll through jobs and candidates easily merely by swiping right or left on your mobile device.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
We’ve received a tremendous amount of press in major publications Also, our database of MBAs was very receptive to the idea. Finally, reaching out to folks on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn has created further awareness.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current and target users are millennials(people 18-34). They are mobile-friendly and early adopters. They’re also very familiar with Tinder. On the employer side, we’re targeting younger recruiters and HR managers. They’re generally less technology averse than their older counterparts.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New customers come through word of mouth, social media and advertising. We’ve also have run a giveaway. New customers try us because using as many channels to find jobs make sense.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Our users are thrilled at the ease of use of the app. They also enjoy the fact that you need not be using the app to search for jobs. We use push notifications to let candidates know that an employer likes their profile.
20. How are you going to scale?
We’ll scale through a greater spend on advertising and more face to face with HR people at conferences and symposiums. HR and recruiters aren’t always early adopters of new tools, they will need to be convinced in a high touch fashion.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Our biggest missing feature is the ability to invite contacts from your various address books. Some users have also said that they would prefer an email rather than a push notification.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We’re already international. We have a number of users in Europe, particularly Italy. The app is easily localized to different country’s language. Our strategy will be to expand country by country.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
The worldwide recruiting/staffing industry is $300 billion and growing. We need only grab a tenth of a percent of that to have a very large company.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We’re looking for marketing and web development interns that can assist with business development and maintaining our site. Potential candidates can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We’re currently negotiating a partnership agreement. We’re also beginning the fundraising process. Potential partners can email me at email@example.com.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Start creating relationships with the press and potential investors months before launch. Also, be willing to pivot based on customer feedback, rather than egotistically stay the course. All business plans change.