This week, the Startup Spotlight shines on Venturocket. We caught up with Marc Hoag, Co-founder and CEO. Our conversation is below.
What is your background?
I have a BA in Economics from UCLA with a background in advanced math and science studies, and I’m a California-licensed attorney. Following my frustrations with the job market after finishing my studies, I realized there had to be a better and more efficient way to connect talent with job opportunities. Once the solution became apparent to me, I set out to fix the abysmally broken job market that affects so many people’s lives around the world. This is a really huge deal, and something that simply isn’t being disrupted from the ground up yet.
Tell us about the team you have built so far.
Joe Linn, Chief Engineer & Co-Founder, electrical engineering Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Underpromises, overdelivers. Takes the impossible, figures out a way to make it work in half the time he said it would take.
Derek Gould, Chief Web Officer & Co-Founder, computer science Cal Poly Pomona. Front end web developer doing the job of at least 2 or 3 people, a great eye for design and style.
Ryan Lum, Lead Designer. Genuinely gifted and award-winning designer, spanning everything from web design to typography and photography, with a talent for business and strategizing, and the Vice President of AD2SF, an advertising, marketing and design community based in SF.
Our team’s interests and hobbies are incredibly overlapping. We couldn’t be a more perfect fit together.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
Mom and Dad. I moved back home in December 2010 to start putting the business together, and lived at home for nearly 3 years. I got to eat lots of great food again.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Applying to jobs sucks: it’s exhausting, expensive, and emotionally draining. Finding talent to hire sucks even more, as hiring managers have to sift through tons of “résumé spam.”
Please describe the business, core products, and services.
We acknowledge, colloquially, that “finding a job is all about who you know, about getting your foot in the door,” yet there are no job sites that allow you to do just that, meaning, to let job seekers discover and connect with hiring managers or recruiters who have jobs specifically for their particular skills and experience. I don’t mean the usual haphazard “apply to every job on the planet” paradigm; I mean, targeted, focused, personalized introductions, to actual people who have jobs for your particular skills, before you become just another anonymous résumé in a pile. So Venturocket is a cross between Tinder and Linkedin — we focus on the initial intros, on matchmaking, and not the end-game of getting married, or landing a job. We offer a more focused and specific matching paradigm than that by Linkedin. We are not a job site: our purpose is to effectively to introduce two different groups of people — job seekers and employers — on the premise that the intro will lead to something. There is no “applying for jobs” on Venturocket. We make intros and do not serve as an ATS for employers. We also offer an API for job sites to leverage our matchmaking technology, as well as a forthcoming tool to help recruiters drastically increase their response and hire rates.
Who do you expect your customers and users to be at launch?
Active and passive job seekers, employers, and recruiters.
Where do you stand right now with regard to funding?
We raised $700K Series A round.
What is the business AND revenue model? What is your strategy for profitability?
We believe both sides should only pay for results. Rather than paying for subscriptions or premium listings, both sides pay only for real connections where both sides are interested. Only when a job seeker and employer “double opt-in” to connect with one another, they both pay a small connection fee equal to the price of matching skill keywords, where the price is directly correlated to the job seekers’ and required position skills.
We also offer a paid API access program for business clients.
Did anyone tell you this wasn’t going to be successful?
Yeah, almost everyone, actually! But we were lucky enough to meet investors that were visionary enough to see the obvious value of what we wanted to do, and appreciated the severity of the problem we are solving.
How will you measure success 12 months from now?
Introductions between job seekers and employers/recruiters, and revenue from our B2B API model.