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    Startup’s In The Cloud – Microsoft Cloud Day 2014

    Microsoft Cloud Day - Elevate Direct

    On Wednesday the 18th of June, the ‘UK Azure User Group’ will be kicking off the ‘Microsoft Cloud Day 2014’ conference in London.  IT professionals from across the Capital will be gathering to network and hear from some great speakers describing their experience of using Azure, the  Microsoft cloud platform.

    Mark Russinovich (Microsoft Technical Fellow) will be delviering the keynote presentation: Cloud Scale: Insights into Building a Cloud Future‘; which will be followed by a number of other presentations including: Scaling your mobile and Windows applications’ and ‘Architecting Azure’ for high volume mobile payments. 

    Our very own CTO and co-founder Mick Delaney will be on stage, explaining how we migrated Elevate Direct from AWS to Azure.  “As a an ambitious recruitment startup, it’s very important we are able to scale up the business quickly, on a platform that supports open source”, says Mick.

    Mick will be describing in more detail from both a technical and business pesepctive, our challenges as a startup, and how Azure is helping to solve these while we roll out plans to expand the business globally.

    The ‘UK Azure User Group’ hold monthly meetings in London and Manchester with speakers that cover topics on all aspects of the platform.  To find out more about their events, visit their meetup group here.

    About Elevate Direct

    Elevate Direct is a cloud based end to end contractor recruitment platform that allows employers to hire contractors directly.  The entire process from sourcing to payroll, time-sheeting and consolidated invoicing is all taken care of within a single platform.

    For more information about Elevate Direct visit www.elevatedirect.com.

     

    Image by KROMKRATHOG “Cloud Of Colorful Application Icons In The Hands”, freedigitalphotos.net

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    Contractor Guides: Limited Company Beginners Guide

    Contractor Accounting Services

    If you have just formed a Limited company then this is the perfect guide for you! Quick and easy to understand, this guide offers straightforward explanations to help you run your company smoothly. Brought to you by Crunch Accounting this guide will provide all you need to know to meet your legal obligations as a company Director.

    To download your ‘Limited Company Beginners Guide’ click HERE.

    The contents of this guide includes:

    – Incorporating your company
    – What taxes you’ll pay
    – Business insurance
    – Invoicing and expenses
    – Salary and dividends
    – IR35
    – Filings and important calendar dates

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    Diary of a Tech Start-up Part 5 – Marketing

    Jean-Paul Smalls Digital Marketing

    The 5th article in our ‘Diary of a Tech Start-up’ series focuses on our marketing department (person). Jean-Paul (we just call him JP) explains how he recently hopped onboard Elevate Direct as our Digital Marketing Manager.

    JP, please briefly introduce yourself

    I came onboard at Elevate Direct in late January. I originally started my career as a management accountant, but made the switch to marketing and have been working in the recruitment industry on the digital agency side for most of the last 8 years. Over the past two years my focus was working on the UK launch and marketing strategy of a cloud based recruitment technology startup.

    How did you discover Elevate Direct?

    I came across the platform a couple of years ago actually. The CEO Dan, had just launched the company and we were looking into recruitment advertising options for them. The company stuck in my mind as it was one of the few recruitment platforms I came across in the UK that had a truly disruptive idea that was scalable. Then towards the end of 2013 I noticed on LinkedIn that James (the Client Services Director) was on the hunt for a Digital Marketing Manager. I’ve already worked for two startups in the recruitment space so it seemed a good fit.

    From a marketing perspective what are the key challenges working for a Startup?

    That’s an interesting question, there isn’t really a single thing. There’s a whole heap of work as for us there is both a B2B and B2C side of the platform to consider. It’s not just about getting more employers to use the system, at the same time we’re increasing the volume and engagement of contractors on the platform too. Strategically each element has their own personas that require a different approach in terms of external demand generation, lead nurturing, in-app communications etc. On top of that I use a number of tools and technologies to integrate, automate and measure certain parts of the marketing process. It’s a big remit, but a really exciting and challenging one.

    What’s excites you most about working at Elevate Direct?

    It’s a number of things. Enabling recruiters to hire contractors directly, in an efficient way that takes care of the whole end to end process from sourcing to payroll and invoicing within a single platform, is a challenge few companies are taking on. Building up the brand awareness of our product within that niche is an exciting prospect. Even more interesting to me though is the machine learning aspects and data insights we get from analysing the hundreds of thousands of contractors in the market in conjunction with how employers are using the platform. Elevate is designed as a next generation ‘smart’ recruitment platform. It has the capacity to learn from user behaviour, so we can continuously evolve the contractor/job suggestion engine so that recommended candidates are based on more than just skills, experience, day rate, location etc, but on their cultural fit to an employer too. Such insight has a lot of potential from a marketing perspective. On top of this there’s been new investors coming onboard so there’s something exciting going on everywhere you look at the moment.

    What does the future hold for Elevate Direct?

    Since I’ve been here we’ve been nominated for two innovation based industry awards. The Onrec Innovation award and the Global Recruiter innovation in recruitment award, which is pretty cool and I expect we’ll gather more recognition through 2014. Away from that, hard work, huge growth and disruption are what I predict. The team here have built a great product with the potential to disrupt the standard model of contract recruitment, and it’s already benefitting a lot of clients. There is some really really cool stuff around cultural matching in the upcoming product releases that I’m looking forward to, off the back of that there will be some interesting big data work. Due to a number of factors, recruiting contractors directly is something a lot of in-house recruiters are only just starting to consider. It can be perceived as too difficult and complicated (and for good reason!) to include into a wider direct hiring strategy. But as we continue to develop and market the platform over the next year or so, I expect that perception to change.

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    Diary of a Tech Start-up Part 4 – The Early Investor

    Chris Morrow - Elevate Direct

    In the 4th instalment in our Diary of a Tech Start-Up series, we’d like to introduce Chris Morrow, one of the first investors in Elevate Direct and a career serial entrepreneur.

    Chris, please introduce yourself?

    Where do I begin? I’ve now worked on over 10 start-ups in my career, all of them different, more of them successful than not. I’ve invested in several early stage businesses and gained insight from watching how different entrepreneurs approach building their new business.

    My first start-up began as a two-man company based in a scruffy office in Kentish Town. Not much capital, a slightly eccentric but charming South African intern as my entire staff, a phone, a computer system and a burning desire to build a business. It took me 17 years but I built that company to the point where it employed 200 people and had some of the UK’s top blue chips as clients (HSBC, Man Group, Prudential, Reuters and others). Then, it was time for me to move on so I sold my firm and started on my second career as a serial entrepreneur and business mentor.

    You’ve started and successfully exited your own recruitment business; can you describe your journey to Elevate?

    With Elevate, I’d like to think that I was a catalyst in helping with the launch of the company. Dan Collier, the founder and CEO, actually came to talk to me about a job with another organisation where I was doing some consulting work but after about half an hour in his company I’d decided not to take his application further. This wasn’t because he would have been rubbish in the role in question – he would have been great – but I doubt he would have stayed for very long. I realised during our conversation that his real long-term agenda was to have his own business and to create something from ground zero. If you have that kind of itch it’s best to get on and scratch it while you are still young, before you have got latched on to the corporate tit and can’t afford to set out on your own. I’ve met too many people who “could have been a contender” but simply could not face the idea of downsizing the car, mortgaging the house, taking the kids out of private school and going without the family holiday. Once you get to that stage you might as well wait to collect your pension.

    Dan also had the necessary determination and fire in his belly to make a success of a start up. I cannot describe to you how lonely it can be to set up as your own boss. All of the decisions are yours to make but so are all of the mistakes. And you need to have the resilience to bounce back quickly from the disasters and misfortunes that plague any small business. You also end up wearing a lot new hats as you take on responsibilities that have always belonged to other people in your previous working career. Long term it’s worth it but the early days can be very hard.

    One thing I was able to bring home to Dan was just how long it can take to build a business. Whenever I have met people who are at the outset of a start-up I usually ask them what their objectives are, how long it will take them to build the business to the point where it can either be floated or sold. On almost every occasion I get the reply that it will be done in five years. Well, of course it does sometimes happen like that that – there are too many instances, particularly in the technology sector, where young companies are snapped up at enormous valuations after a very brief life. But those are, I am afraid, the exceptions. I’ve been engaged with over ten start-ups over the past twelve years and so far I have only had one that has exited, on that occasion via a trade sale. I’ve also had one of my investments go bust.  Not every start-up survives.

    So, after that first meeting, Dan went off to consider his options and two weeks later rang me to ask if we could meet because he had decided to go into business for himself. We met at a pub and he told me all about Elevate, which was no more than an idea drawn out on the back of a beermat at that time. And of course he asked me if I wanted to invest in his venture. I could hardly say no given that I had been instrumental in helping him to come to his decision.

    So at that point I joined the team here at Elevate as a mentor to the founders eventually joining the board and helping to develop the corporate strategy. I’ve also bored everyone here about the necessity to build process into your business and to ensure that your corporate governance is properly defined and managed.

    How is it going so far? In my opinion very well indeed. There are world-class corporations using our platform – and that’s a hard thing to do when you are just a young company. Funding has come in from some of the canniest IT investors on the UK scene and we are in the process of achieving our objective of being a disruptive force in a huge market. Not a bad start.

    What is it that really excites you about the prospects for Elevate Direct in 2014

    In the near future we are going to add features to our offering that will further galvanise interest in what we are doing. Our current development focus is to implement machine learning and big data functionality to the Elevate platform. Once we have done so we will be able to show our contractors and clients that we understand their needs possibly better than they do. This company is one of the most exciting businesses I have ever had the good fortune to be working with. The future looks very bright for Team Elevate.

     

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    Diary of a Tech Start-up Part 3 – “We used to fax CV’s!”

    Dan Collier, CEO & Co-founder of Elevate Direct explains how the idea of Elevate Direct came about, and how he plans to shake up the contingent recruitment industry in the 3rd installment of our ‘Diary of a Tech Start-Up’ series.Diary of a tech start-up Dan Collier - Elevate Direct

    Dan, please briefly introduce yourself

    I’m one of the original founders of Elevate Direct, and have worked in the recruitment industry for over 15 long years now! There’s been a lot of changes during that time, when I started we used to Fax or Post CV’s to Clients!

    How did the idea of Elevate Direct come about?

    I was working as a Resource Manager for a Consultancy in the City, and when I started to consider the “value add” a Client receives for what was at the time maybe a 30% margin on contractor day rate, it struck me this could not continue as it just felt a little like daylight robbery! We originally conceived an idea for a basic app that connects contractors with jobs, but when you actually get down to the mechanics of “automating” the recruitment process, it quickly became clear an “App” wouldn’t suffice!

    So you have big plans to disrupt the contractor recruitment market then?

    We have plans to offer an “alternative” to the current model. We’re starting to use very intelligent data science to match people to jobs in a much deeper way, including cultural fit, skills and many other facets – we’re essentially going to be able to tell an Employer what % chance a potential Applicant has of getting the job with them, and vice versa. This should drastically reduce the amount of applicants that a client has to sift through before finding the right one.

    What’s with the slippers?

    A secret Santa present we did last year, we all have them!

    Elevate-Direct-Diary-of-a-Tech-Startup-Dan-Collier

    Creating a start-up is tough, what’s been your biggest challenge (or challenges) to date?

    The toughest thing has to be the constant never-ending on switch in my head. Trying to introduce a new product to a deeply established market, and change people’s behaviours is always the hardest thing to deal with. The challenges never stop and I think being able to prioritise what’s most important to deal with is the main thing I’ve learnt. As any other founders will also know, cash flow is always a big challenge, raising money is all consuming, but also rewarding.

    What’s your proudest Elevate moment so far?

    I think actually doing that first deal and seeing real money coming into the bank for the first time was one of my most memorable moments. Getting Tom Teichman and Sir John Hegarty as Chairman and Director at our stage is also something I’ve very proud of.

    Creating a start-up is tough, what’s been your biggest challenge (or challenges) to date?

    The toughest thing has to be the constant never-ending on switch in my head. Trying to introduce a new product to a deeply established market, and change people’s behaviours is always the hardest thing to deal with. The challenges never stop and I think being able to prioritise what’s most important to deal with is the main thing I’ve learnt. As any other founders will also know, cash flow is always a big challenge, raising money is all consuming, but also rewarding.

    What’s your proudest Elevate moment so far?

    I think actually doing that first deal and seeing real money coming into the bank for the first time was one of my most memorable moments. Getting Tom Teichman and Sir John Hegarty as Chairman and Director at our stage is also something I’ve very proud of.

    – See more at: http://cta-changes.elevatedirect.yourwebisonline.com/blog/diary-of-a-tech-start-up-part-3-the-ceo-i-used-to-fax-cvs#sthash.ntyOJyBx.dpuf

    Creating a start-up is tough, what’s been your biggest challenge (or challenges) to date?

    The toughest thing has to be the constant never-ending on switch in my head. Trying to introduce a new product to a deeply established market, and change people’s behaviours is always the hardest thing to deal with. The challenges never stop and I think being able to prioritise what’s most important to deal with is the main thing I’ve learnt. As any other founders will also know, cash flow is always a big challenge, raising money is all consuming, but also rewarding.

    What’s your proudest Elevate moment so far?

    I think actually doing that first deal and seeing real money coming into the bank for the first time was one of my most memorable moments. Getting Tom Teichman and Sir John Hegarty as Chairman and Director at our stage is also something I’ve very proud of.

    – See more at: http://cta-changes.elevatedirect.yourwebisonline.com/blog/diary-of-a-tech-start-up-part-3-the-ceo-i-used-to-fax-cvs#sthash.ntyOJyBx.dpuf

    Creating a start-up is tough, what’s been your biggest challenge (or challenges) to date?

    The toughest thing has to be the constant never-ending on switch in my head. Trying to introduce a new product to a deeply established market, and change people’s behaviours is always the hardest thing to deal with. The challenges never stop and I think being able to prioritise what’s most important to deal with is the main thing I’ve learnt. As any other founders will also know, cash flow is always a big challenge, raising money is all consuming, but also rewarding.

    What’s your proudest Elevate moment so far?

    I think actually doing that first deal and seeing real money coming into the bank for the first time was one of my most memorable moments. Getting Tom Teichman and Sir John Hegarty as Chairman and Director at our stage is also something I’ve very proud of.

    – See more at: http://cta-changes.elevatedirect.yourwebisonline.com/blog/diary-of-a-tech-start-up-part-3-the-ceo-i-used-to-fax-cvs#sthash.ntyOJyBx.dpuf