In a move co-founder Tony Wu says will go a long way in validating the growth efforts of his startup, Weploy has plucked former head of marketing at Linkedin Ben Eatwell to be the recruitment startup’s first-ever chief marketing officer.
This comes in the wake of a $1 million raise completed by Weploy in April last year and a similar hire of former Slack executive Marissa Senzaki as head of talent in September, wrapping up a series of strong moves during the startup’s first year live in the market.
Weploy, explained once as ‘Uber but for jobs’, was founded by Wu and co-founders Nick La and Vince Luong in mid-2016. It provides a marketplace for vetted and experienced workers for businesses to hire on demand and at short notice.
Speaking to StartupSmart, Wu laughed that the initial connection with Eatwell was actually made through LinkedIn, with the co-founder finding Eatwell while searching through the platform.
“We started chatting about the future of work, and over three months that chat got bigger and bigger, and it began to make more and more sense for him to come on board,” Wu says.
“From day one, we were on the same page with what we both believed in.”
Having spent the past year building the startup’s tech capabilities, and talent and vetting capabilities through the hire of Senzaki, the next obvious expansion of Weploy’s capability was in the marketing space, says Wu.
He knew the startup needed to increase demand and wanted to build the company as a “marketing-lead” business. Externally, this is what Eatwell will bring to the table — an enhanced ability to acquire and retain businesses and users for the Weploy platform.
But internally, Eatwell’s appointment means a whole lot more
“Obviously he’s a very senior hire and he brings with him a wealth of experience that really brings a sense of professionalism to the business. It’s day two, and already so many elements and principles of the business have begun to adapt and change. He knows things that we don’t,” Wu says.
“We’ve already got such a dynamic and wonderful team, but when they see someone like Ben come on board, it reinforces that this is real. What we’re building isn’t just an idea or some little startup.”
In a statement, Eatwell said there were many things that excited him about joining Weploy, primarily the experience and calibre of the startup’s leadership team.
“I spent a lot of time with Tony and the other co-founders and was consistently impressed with their vision. One comment of Tony’s, in particular, personified this vision: that the title of ‘Weployee’ becomes as desirable as any other job title,” he said.
“That purpose and focus really resonated with me.”
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When asked if getting someone like Eatwell on board was a daunting experience for Wu as a young startup founder, he says it was, but “in a different sense”. Recruiting his “brilliant” current team and Senzaki gave the founders the experience they needed to chase top talent, says Wu.
“It was daunting in the sense of a small startup chasing the big guys, but what made it easier through the process was our ongoing conversation. We found we were seeking the same thing, so it became a question of why aren’t we just doing this together,” he says.
“It wasn’t a mindset of ‘how do I get someone like Ben’, but I’m not going to lie, there were daunting elements.”
For other startups looking to attract top talent, Wu relays some advice given to him by Weploy’s advisor and ex-Redbubble chief tech officer Paul Coia: “If you want to be a billion-dollar business, step up and act like one”.
He says if founders want to build a business that attracts strong talent, they need to face their fears, and above all, be genuine.
“Ben met every one of the team, and before talking I told each of them to not try and sell him on this or that, just talk to him as if he were any other person,” Wu says.
“Guys like Ben are looking for something different, they’re not off chasing banker’s salaries, they want to create something really epic. Corporate businesses don’t often offer that opportunity, but startups can.
“Just like our products, we want to win the war on quality, not on price.”