In the first-ever episode of Startups of London, we put JobLab, now they have rebranded as Stride.io, under the microscope to learn about their culture, business growth, value proposition to their users, software tools they depend on, the investment side of things and more. As an industry, HRtech is in its very early stages. There are big issues with how companies and talent filter and reach each other.
A glorious London day. Bright, sunny and just the perfect 23 degrees Celcius. I have taken the Jubilee line from St. John’s Wood all the way to the Southwark station in central London to meet Gavin – our videographer for Startups of London just before our interview and office visit with Joblab. After a quick cup of tea and a final double-check of the video equipment at the local Pret, we got moving.
A brisk 8 minute walk later, we were in front of Joblab’s office at 131 Great Suffolk Street. A convenient location indeed.
Startups of London's "why".
It is very difficult to tell what a business is really like without getting to know the people there. To a very large extent, this is what we want Startups of London to be, a way to show a more real, “3D” version of what life and business is like in a London startup. That’s why we hope to visit more offices, interview more founders & employees and collect more valuable insights.
Upon our arrival we were greeted first by Sandra and Aidan. After a quick walk to their upstairs office in the bigger co-working space, we settled in the meeting room and prepared for the interviews. Aidan Cramer is the founder of Stride recruitment startup and a passionate entrepreneur, who has a great grasp of the fundamentals of building a tech business. It was our first meeting, but a few minutes into the interview it was clear that we were speaking the same language.
Video of the founder interview
It is very easy to get carried away in conversations such as these, or spend an inordinate amount of time on a certain topic, only to forget you’ve not discussed a key topic a viewer may be curious about. So beforehand, I made the deliberate decision to identify, first of all, the target audience for Startups of London and then draft out the key points of interest to structure interviews around.
These few, serve as the pillars of our conversation with Aidan.
- Value to users / customers & problem they are solving.
- Value to Investors / past investment history.
- Value to Talent / Employees & Company Culture.
- Their growth journey with pivots & iterations & finding product-market fit.
- Tech tools (mostly SaaS tools) they depend on to sustain the business.
- And of course, what living and working in London is like!
Listen to the podcast (uncut interview)
There's always a pivot or an iteration.
JobLab has started their business in 2015 in London right after Aidan’s graduation and with the desire to help the recent graduates like himself. As it is in the world of startups, way to growth wasn’t obvious or linear. But as with successful startup, it seems Stride recruitment did a great job listening to the market and finding its niche. Realising there wasn’t any platform solely focused on inside sales roles (such as Sales Development Reps, Business Development Reps, Account managers, Customer Success roles etc), and given the increasing demand for these, JobLab shifted its focus and saw the demand to what they are offering increase greatly.
Keep in mind that when it comes to the startup world, one thing is more important than all the rest: timing.
Creating a solution to a problem.
“We fundamentally believe as a business that there is a disconnect between the end of formal education and the start of employment.” Aidan says.
It is a fact that young people are overwhelmed with the uncertainty after graduating from university and don’t know which way to turn. They end up going with the flow and land on a job without being aware of their full potential -or- strengths. JobLab’s purpose is to solve this problem and be a new way for the ones who are looking to get a job. The core idea is to build a bridge between education and employment. But it isn’t a novel one. There are tens of London startups working on the problem of recruitment. So the big question is what differentiates them. Their biggest unique value proposition seems to be that they actually not only find jobs for candidates, but also pay for their time on the platform!
Besides providing a powerful recruitment marketplace that is mostly focused on inside sales roles for the startup community, they also pay the candidates in the form of JobLab tokens for creating their own profile, uploading their data and adding a video to pitch themselves to employers.
Crowdfunding is about more than money, its validation.
In the interview Aidan has walked us through their story of growth and funding. They received 3 different rounds of investment. First one was with the pitch deck where they managed to raise enough money to build the MVP version of the platform. Another round was the investment by a group of angel investors. The last one was with crowdfunding through Crowdcube that moved their business forward, totaling a significant £300K.
SaaS tools are now components of a higher level design.
As technology improves, the game is changing! Nowadays, we are all relying on different tech tools for our daily life and tasks. Just like you as an individual are dependent on banking, housing, public transportation, electricy, water, internet services to live a modern life, so does a business. While more traditional businesses might depend on recruiting large groups of people for a variety of tasks, in the world of “modern business” a.k.a startups, it is more about finding and using the best services that answer your needs.
JobLab is no exception and Aidan is very well aware of the role and importance of these tools in carrying their business forward. Among the tools they depend on are Asana, BaseCamp, Atlassian, Notion, G-suite, Trello, and many more. He’s also shared his enthusiasm about replacing Microsoft good old Excel with Airtable.
Even though JobLab has already accomplished a lot and acquired over 35.000 users within their community, they are still working on ways to create a more powerful and useful platform to increase the community size. They believe in the power of ambition and quoting Aidan “matching ambitious people with ambitious companies is their main purpose.” Their goal for the future is to increase the number and conversion levels of the job posts. The target is to get around 25% success rates of jobs posted to jobs filled.
As in any ambitious startup, it’s all about moving forward. More efficient, faster, cheaper and better for the community… Although they have got their challenges ahead in a very competitive landscape, it looks like they have good odds at further growth and success.
If you are struggling to find a job in the London area, Stride recruitment startup might be worth checking out. And if you are looking for new talent to hire, especially for inside sales roles, you know where to look now.
There are a lot of great startups in London and we’ve just begun scratching the surface. Without a question, startups are doing the most to add value to society and people. While they are doing their job, ours is to tell their story.
Each week, we will publish a new episode about a different London based startup. Follow us on our social channels to stay in the loop.
Ozzie (Ozan Dagdeviren)
Founder & Chief Editor of Startups of London.