Startup Spotlight: Connect6 Aims to Help Recruiters Find, Connect, and Discover Passive Candidates

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Jun 23, 2014
This article is part of a series called Startup Spotlight.

This week, the Startup Spotlight shines on Connect6. Below is a conversation with Dean Nichols, Co-Founder. 

Headline: Connect6° helps you discover and connect with passive candidates for free

What is your background?

I’ve worked for a variety of cloud-based technology companies over the last ten years (before it was even known as “the cloud”.  I’ve also worked for companies like Starbucks and Microsoft during my Seattle days.  Over the past 5+ years, I worked at LiveOffice – a cloud-based email archiving company – where I led marketing before we were acquired by Symantec in early 2012. We’re applying this big data and indexing experience to the world of social media to help recruiters more effectively source passive candidates.  We’re having a blast developing some pretty cool technology that hopefully makes the lives of recruiters a little easier and more fun.

Tell us about the team you have built so far. 

We’re a small, scrappy team, most of whom are technical folks with a “GSD” mindset.  Here’s a quick overview of the principals:

Vikram Kashyap (Head Cheese):  Vik is the newest member of our team and driving the vision forward.  He’s a Harvard guy, so sometimes he needs to dumb it down for the rest of us. Vik has a ton of great ideas in terms of where to take the company and we’re just trying to keep up.

Andy Estep (Technical Dude):  Andy leads our growing tech team which includes developers from all corners of the globe.  Andy and team focus on everything from growing our database of searchable online profiles to building out the latest product innovations.

Me (The Fluff): I’m mostly here for levity. But, in my spare time, I help build out our marketing programs and manage the Support team.

What financial support did you have to launch the business?

We have been very fortunate to have been able to bootstrap Connect6 to date. 

What problem are you trying to solve?

We’re trying to solve a few problems, including:

Finding passive candidates: Our PeopleSearch platform lets recruiting professionals discover top talent based on the keywords embedded within their social profiles.
Connect with people: In addition to links to a candidate’s social, professional, and technical profiles, we equip recruiters with email addresses to reach out to them directly. Plus, we chart out a connection path so you can see all the shared connections you have with a potential candidate.
Discover people while you browse: Our latest browser extension (PeopleDiscovery) lets recruiters find and connect with potential candidates while they browse the open web (including key social networking sites).

The other problem we solve is equipping budget-constrained recruiting professionals with powerful sourcing tools for FREE.  While we’re in beta, customer feedback is more important than revenue.

Describe the business, core products and services?

 Connect6° helps you discover and connect with anyone. Connect6° offers two solutions:

PeopleDiscovery is a free browser extension that dynamically displays rich contact and professional details about a person, including a picture, title, skills summary, links to social profiles and contact information
PeopleSearch is a free search engine for people that helps you find business prospects and job candidates based on keywords embedded within their social profiles.
We are looking to launch an API in the not-so-distant future which will certainly open up new opportunities and customer segments.

Who do you expect your customers and users to be at launch?

Our target audience will be recruiters, sourcers and hiring professionals who are looking for an easier way to find and connect with passive candidates. We will probably also attract a fair amount of Sales and Marketing folks who are also in the business of finding key prospects and identifying target markets.

Where do you stand right now with regard to funding?

We hope to continue to bootstrap this venture, until the point our growth is being limited by a lack of capital.  We’re in a fortunate position right now where we don’t need outside investment, but we know that a Series A round may be needed to sustain our growth and future aspirations.

What is the business AND revenue model? What is your strategy for profitability?

Good questions. The South Park episode involving Gnomes and underpants comes to mind;). Right now, we don’t honestly know.  We going to use this beta period (and the launch of the new API service) to learn how to best monetize the service.  We know that the real value and intellectual property of our service rests with the underlying data (and how we’ve consolidated 550+ million profiles and made them searchable). Right now, we’re squarely focused on getting a ton of folks actively using the solution, providing us feedback, and getting iteratively better so that it’s even more useful.

 Did anyone tell you this wasn’t going to be successful?

You betcha. They also said it couldn’t be done. But, we’re starting to convert some of these naysayers. To our surprise, recruiters are at the cutting edge of using and exploiting social media to find, connect, and vet potential candidates and, in the process, validating the value of data. Any tool that gives them a competitive advantage by letting them cast a wider sourcing net will be quickly adopted and evangelized.

How will you measure success 12 months from now?

If we have 100,000 recruiters across the globe actively using and referring our online solutions…we’d call that success.

This article is part of a series called Startup Spotlight.
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