After attending a Google conference, Justin Babet became inspired to launch an information resource on employers, providing the “inside story” on what it’s like to work for them.
JobAdvisor, which centres around anonymous reviews from employees, was founded by Babet and his business partner in October last year, but launched just last month. It is based in Sydney.
Babet talks to StartupSmart about why there’s no one else in Australia doing the work of JobAdvisor, and how the business plans to extend its reach to more employees and employers.
What prompted you to launch JobAdvisor? What’s your background?
My background is recruitment and I actually had the idea and registered the domain name in 2007.
I was at a Google conference and the speaker was telling the audience that jobseekers “don’t search job boards anymore – they search Google”.
I thought, yeah that’s probably true, but the first page of results will be a job board.
Of course, Google was wanting us to spend money on search engine marketing but there was no way any one employer could compete with the amount that job boards spend on advertising.
But, if we combined forces and had a website where all employers’ careers pages were on the same website, then maybe we could compete.
It was an interesting idea but not something I put a lot of thought into until I saw a similar model in the US that also included employee ratings. I immediately thought, that’s it.
At the time, I was the MD of a recruitment business and while I was doing well, I thought this is too big to pass up.
So I roped in my business partner, who is a developer, and got moving on the idea.
How did you fund the business?
My business partner and co-founder has his own development business and has provided development in return for equity.
To date, (development costs aside) it’s probably cost us about $5,000 (mostly design expenses).
Now I’ve left my job, we are completely self-funded but will probably look for investment towards the middle of the year.
How do you promote the business?
At this early stage, we’re leveraging our immediate networks. This means email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogging and Pinterest.
Having come from a recruitment background, my network is a particularly relevant audience.
We’re testing targeted advertising through Facebook and LinkedIn, and, once we’ve got a clear sense of what works, we’ll be moving into AdWords and other forms of online advertising.
We haven’t done much with PR yet but this is an obvious avenue to market for us.
How do you stand out in the market? What’s your point/s of difference?
In Australia, there’s really no one else doing what we’re doing in a big way.
For users, we’re providing an unprecedented level of insight into Australia’s employers, and a platform to give direct and honest feedback.
For employers, we are a great tool for employment branding, recruitment and benchmarking employee satisfaction.
What’s the biggest risk you face?
Being able to encourage enough users to review their employers is our biggest risk. We’re approaching this from two angles.
Firstly, this is good for the community and if other people believe, like we do, that how employers treat their employees should be public information, then we hope they’ll contribute.
Secondly, employers who get it are promoting the site to their employees, asking for reviews.
How many staff do you have?
Three – myself, my partner and another senior developer.
What are your revenue projections for 2011/12?
We’re targeting $150k in year one. Employers don’t need to be registered to be reviewed but they can sign up for a free page so they can have some control over their brand messaging.
If they want to actively use the site to properly brand and recruit, then they can subscribe to get more features (e.g. add jobs, videos, pictures, social media integration, reporting, etc).
We have two levels of membership to suit different sized businesses.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
Because the development was done in return for equity, many times this project has taken second place to the realities of needing to make money.
This has slowed down development but, to be fair, we haven’t really had another option beyond seeking funding without a finished product.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Search Google for “DON’T Do A Startup, You Will FAIL”.