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    Diary of a Tech Start-Up – Part 2, Changing the Status Quo

    In the second part of our ‘Diary of a Tech Start-Up’ blog series.  Ray Baptiste shares his perspective on moving from an in-house recruitment role to helping develop a technology recruitment solution that benefits the industry.

    Ray, provide a brief overview of your role

    As the Operations Director of Elevate Direct my role is to support the development of the platform as well as helping our clients introduce our solution into their current recruitment processes, ensuring that they gain the maximum savings and efficiencies required.Diary-of-a-tech-startup Elevate-Direct

    Before Elevate Direct you worked extensively as an in-house recruiter in a variety of roles and industries, what unique insight has this brought to the team?

    Having spent over 12 years working in-house for a number of organisations, such as Societe Generale, IBM, Gazprom, CME and HSBC, I’ve experienced many different ways that organisations manage their hiring processes and I bring this experience and knowledge into the development of the Elevate Direct Platform.

    When it comes to direct recruitment, either due to a lack of suitable technology or the right staff, many have found it difficult to manage the process end to end effectively.

    Where the direct recruitment of contingent workers has been at its most successful is where there has been a desire to build a long term relationship with experts in their field, using this expertise sparingly, but effectively and where possible transferring the knowledge onto the permanent teams.

    This way an organisation continues to learn from the best by bringing in new ways of working and ideas, but without creating a long term dependency upon contingent any one particular worker, which can lead to reduced influence of the new skills along with resentment from permanent staff.

    What do you love most about working at Elevate Direct

    What I really appreciate about working at Elevate Direct is the ability to bring change to an industry that even with the advent of the internet has seen little change in 30 years. Many organisation even today believe that the status quo must remain the same, however we’re able to provide an alternative that offers choice and flexibility.

    Having worked both sides of the fence, can you give us a brief glimpse of your view on the challenges facing contract recruiters, and recruiting contractors directly.

    Due to the current recruitment landscape and lack of suitable technology, until now it has been difficult for in-house recruiters to successfully develop relationships with contractors as well as manage the complex management information and adherence to regulations required to run and manage them efficiently.

    In my experience contractors would always prefer to work directly with an end client rather than through the traditional route, however this has been very difficult, but with more organisations looking to improve processes, time to hire and reduce costs they are demanding solutions that will support them in these endeavours, now that the appetite is there.

    Don’t forget to catch up on ‘Diary of a ‘Tech Start-Up, Part 1, Keeping Users Happy’.

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    Diary of a Tech Start-Up – Part 1, Keeping Users Happy

    Sleepless nights, big deals, long hours, small deals, computers crashing, great  ideas, website launches, bad ideas, new releases, fixing bugs, new investors……….I’m sure a lot start-ups are familiar with this roller coaster ride of emotion that contributes to their history. Sometimes things are moving so quickly, and you are growing so fast that you rarely have time to reflect on the journey.  That’s why over the next few months we’re introducing our ‘Diary of a Tech Start-Up’ series, to allow our employees the chance to share their experiences and insights.

    We’re kicking off the series speaking to James Griffin, who’s been with Elevate Direct from the  beginning.

    James-Griffin-Diary-of-a-Tech-Startup-part-1

    James, Briefly Introduce Yourself

    I’m the Client Services Director here are Elevate Direct.

    How did you originally get involved with Elevate Direct?

    It was a bit of a idea on a napkin type situation when Dan (Dan Collier the CEO) pitched me one rainy afternoon from the comfort of a very famous public house in the City. We had worked together extensively before. The penny dropped instantly.

    Candidate sourcing, matching and back office automation supported by big data and machine learning technology all in the cloud really is a compelling concept if it is delivered correctly.

    My experience as a contract recruiter told me immediately that the value chain has been broken for some time and both candidates and employers were hungry for alternatives. I had also been watching closely the emergence of technology in the recruitment space, not just Linkedin I add, so was very keen to get involved.

    As Client Services Director what does a typical day look like for you?

    My CSD title really reflects my focus on ensuring that all users of Elevate have the absolute best possible experience on Elevate Direct at all times. As a recruitment platform that is essentially mimicking what an agency does (for a lot less cost) we have to make sure we offer the best experience at all times, we are in an ultra competitive market. This realism is very, very challenging.

    So my day can be very fluid but is essentially focused on user onboarding, management & support. For example making sure employers know how to get the best out of the platform and are seeing the right candidates for their requirements, adjusting accordingly if required. Looking at areas that we can improve both the technology and the human element of our delivery. Enabling as many candidates to get hired as possible as well as managing a team of support staff with an eye on constantly improving the systems and processes that they use. We are very iterative in what we do.

    As a result you will see me getting involved on product development, user experience, testing, back office & operations, marketing and sales. I really do get to see all the moving parts of the business. Today I ordered the bin-liners from the waste management company.

    Is it true you stand at your desk the whole day?

    Yes, all day, although I sit down for lunch and meetings. You have to be fit if you want to survive as a start up so I cycle to work a fair bit and have a stand up desk. It has also helped pretty much cure my sciatica which was the major driver to trying it out in the first place.  It’s great, really productive and I would recommend it to everyone. FYI – I don’t have one of these electronic £1000 stand-up/sit-down desks, I made one out of a normal desk with a £20 coffee table from Argos placed on top. Simple yet effective!!

    You’ve been in the contract recruitment space a while, how does the future of the industry look to you?

    Very difficult to predict and it depends very much on the sector you are in and what kind of service provider you are. The industry is worth  $350 BILLION on a global scale every year and the appetite for change reached tipping point some time ago.

    Agency recruiters are going to have to work very hard to protect their margins, basically their service levels need to improve drastically. Some are extremely good at that and others not so,  I would expect some consolidation in that area.

    RPOs need to improve service delivery across all business areas and their use of technology for sourcing which provides a massive opportunity for them.

    The growth of in-house recruitment teams and the tools that support their activity is a huge growth area.

    So it really depends on what area you want to talk about. I follow the industry quite closely via blogs and other media and one thing that is consistent across most of these areas is the emergence of sophisticated sourcing techniques that have to a degree been automated using technology. This area is red hot right now and is only set to get hotter. Silicon Valley is in on the act now which brings a whole different investor community to the table and raises the profile another notch or ten.

    If you could pick the most exciting moment or event so far working for Elevate Direct, what would it be?

    There would be two that spring to mind. The first is when we went in to production (switched Elevate on) and candidates actually started applying for jobs. You put all this hard work into an idea and despite all the research and testing you do there is no guarantee that anyone will use it or even give a stuff about it at all. In fact Elevate has been very positively received, we are growing and the concept was completely validated a long time ago.

    The other one is a bit more sentimental but involves a meeting with one of our investors at his office. This guy is a knight of the realm and one of the UKs best regarded advertising gurus. Him actually giving up his time to talk to me in his uber cool West End office really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what we could achieve with Elevate Direct. He had a story about when he set up his company, how they wanted to be the very best and how they had now achieved that. It told me to aim as high as possible, work with the best people you can and with a lot of hard work and a little luck you will get there. That is very, very exciting.

     

     

     

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    Involved in Startup Recruitment? Check out #rcnvs

    Startup recruitment elevate direct

    Recruiting for a start-up is both rewarding and challenging.  The right person in the right position can make or break a start-up.  Limits on resources, funding and general knowledge of recruitment channels and methods can lead to a heavy reliance on recruitment agencies and contractors.

    On Wednesday the 26th of February Reconverse, the organisation specialising in thought leadership events for in-house recruiters, will be hosting their first ever ‘In-House Recruitment For Start-Ups’ event. Practical tips and information, case studies, and an open round table discussion will leave start-up recruiters that attend with a clear idea of the benefits of bringing their recruitment in-house (and how to overcome the associated challenges).

    Elevate-Direct-Start-Up-Recruitment

    Specific topics covered will include:

    Social recruiting & sourcing methods
    – Importance of your employer brand
    – Technology & tools that work for start-ups
    – How to hire without huge resources

    What tools are Start-Up Recruiters using now?

    Prior to the event, Reconverse surveyed a number of start-ups on the current channels and technologies they were using.  100% of those that responded listed job boards as a core channel (mainly niche sites).  Approximately 90% cited LinkedIn and almost 40% listed targeted online communities as a major source of candidates.  Very few of the surveyed recruiters mentioned recruitment consultants or other forms of social media.

    What new tools could Start-Up Recruiters be using?

    A unique feature of Reconverse events is the ability to meet relevant suppliers via their short to the point speed meeting format.  As a start-up providing a direct recruiting platform that allows other start-ups to save money recruiting skilled contractors, we’re excited to be involved in an event that helps the wider start-up community attract the talent they need.

    Sound interesting?  You can find out more about the event  here.

    About Elevate Direct

    Elevate Direct is a cloud based end to end Contractor Recruitment Solution that allows employers to recruit contractors directly, significantly reducing the high mark up costs associated with hiring a contractor through an agency.

    Once logged into the platform employers can post their contract jobs for free.  Elevate Direct’s innovative technology matches the key skills required for the job against registered candidates automatically producing a shortlist of suitable contractors.  In addition the platform takes care of all the required back office operations, time-sheeting, payroll and consolidated invoicing.

    For more information you can drop us an email here, or visit www.elevatedirect.com

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    Disrupting the Contract Recruitment Game

    Disruptive Recruitment Technology Elevate Direct

    In December 2013 Recruiter Magazine showcased five recruitment software start-up’s they considered to have ‘game changing’ disruptive recruitment models. At Elevate Direct we were proud that our end to end direct contractor recruitment solution was recognised as one the platforms to keep an eye on in 2014.

    Cited for its cutting edge technology, and intelligent matching software, Co-founders Dan Collier and Michael Delaney explained what makes Elevate Direct a game-changer.

    The Elevate Platform allows employers with live jobs to be in direct contact with contractors.  Contractors create a profile on the platform and then an intelligent matching algorithm (that takes into account factors such as job titles, day rates, skills etc) matches them against employer jobs, displaying a shortlist of suitable contractors to the employer.  It eliminates the need for a middleman saving time and money.  Speaking to Recruiter, Dan explained why Elevate is different to other recruitment tools “We’re different in that we are a closed network, there are no third-party voyeurs on our site, it’s just for jobs.”

    Investment & The Future

    Elevate Direct recently raised over £500,000 in seed funding from high-profile investors with a history of spotting tech start up winners.  Tom Teichman joined as chairman and has an impressive track record having been an early investor in the likes of lastminute.com, Touch Clarity and mergermarket.com.  Tom also sits on the boards of moshimonsters.com and notonthehighstreet.com in addition to several other well-known brands.  Sir John Hegarty, creative pioneer and founder of renowned advertising agency Bartle Bogle & Hegarty, the man who coined the term ‘Vorsprung durch technik” has also joined the board.

    Again speaking to Recruiter Dan added “It’s reassuring to be working with guys like this, the money men can make it hard though and it is important to pitch the idea at the right kind of investors. Don’t waste time chasing premier VCs if you haven’t even written any code.”

    With customers ranging from SME’s to global enterprises combined with and an upturn in the economy, Elevate Direct is well placed for a bright future.  “As the contractor database builds we feel we can only get stronger” says Dan, and further adds that “we should be able to fill most contract roles. There will always be a need for very niche agencies but we are making a dent in that at the moment, and building talent pools and pipelining resources for a number of large firms, including RPOs.”

    To read the full article and interview with Dan as published in Recruiter Magazine, click  here

    In December 2013 Recruiter Magazine showcased five recruitment software start-up’s they considered to have ‘game changing’ disruptive recruitment models. At Elevate Direct we were proud that our end to end direct contractor recruitment solution was recognised as one the platforms to keep an eye on in 2014.

    Cited for its cutting edge technology, and intelligent matching software, Co-founders Dan Collier and Michael Delaney explained what makes Elevate Direct a game-changer.

    The Elevate Platform allows employers with live jobs to be in direct contact with contractors.  Contractors create a profile on the platform and then an intelligent matching algorithm (that takes into account factors such as job titles, day rates, skills etc) matches them against employer jobs, displaying a shortlist of suitable contractors to the employer.  It eliminates the need for a middleman saving time and money.  Speaking to Recruiter, Dan explained why Elevate is different to other recruitment tools “We’re different in that we are a closed network, there are no third-party voyeurs on our site, it’s just for jobs.”

    Investment & The Future

    Elevate Direct recently raised over £500,000 in seed funding from high-profile investors with a history of spotting tech start up winners.  Tom Teichman joined as chairman and has an impressive track record having been an early investor in the likes of lastminute.com, Touch Clarity and mergermarket.com.  Tom also sits on the boards of moshimonsters.com and notonthehighstreet.com in addition to several other well-known brands.  Sir John Hegarty, creative pioneer and founder of renowned advertising agency Bartle Bogle & Hegarty, the man who coined the term ‘Vorsprung durch technik” has also joined the board.

    Again speaking to Recruiter Dan added “It’s reassuring to be working with guys like this, the money men can make it hard though and it is important to pitch the idea at the right kind of investors. Don’t waste time chasing premier VCs if you haven’t even written any code.”

    With customers ranging from SME’s to global enterprises combined with and an upturn in the economy, Elevate Direct is well placed for a bright future.  “As the contractor database builds we feel we can only get stronger” says Dan, and further adds that “we should be able to fill most contract roles. There will always be a need for very niche agencies but we are making a dent in that at the moment, and building talent pools and pipelining resources for a number of large firms, including RPOs.”

    To read the full article and interview with Dan as published in Recruiter Magazine, click  here

    – See more at: http://cta-changes.elevatedirect.yourwebisonline.com/blog/disrupting-the-contract-recruitment-game#sthash.dawTTu6U.dpuf

    In December 2013 Recruiter Magazine showcased five recruitment software start-up’s they considered to have ‘game changing’ disruptive recruitment models. At Elevate Direct we were proud that our end to end direct contractor recruitment solution was recognised as one the platforms to keep an eye on in 2014.

    Cited for its cutting edge technology, and intelligent matching software, Co-founders Dan Collier and Michael Delaney explained what makes Elevate Direct a game-changer.

    The Elevate Platform allows employers with live jobs to be in direct contact with contractors.  Contractors create a profile on the platform and then an intelligent matching algorithm (that takes into account factors such as job titles, day rates, skills etc) matches them against employer jobs, displaying a shortlist of suitable contractors to the employer.  It eliminates the need for a middleman saving time and money.  Speaking to Recruiter, Dan explained why Elevate is different to other recruitment tools “We’re different in that we are a closed network, there are no third-party voyeurs on our site, it’s just for jobs.”

    Investment & The Future

    Elevate Direct recently raised over £500,000 in seed funding from high-profile investors with a history of spotting tech start up winners.  Tom Teichman joined as chairman and has an impressive track record having been an early investor in the likes of lastminute.com, Touch Clarity and mergermarket.com.  Tom also sits on the boards of moshimonsters.com and notonthehighstreet.com in addition to several other well-known brands.  Sir John Hegarty, creative pioneer and founder of renowned advertising agency Bartle Bogle & Hegarty, the man who coined the term ‘Vorsprung durch technik” has also joined the board.

    Again speaking to Recruiter Dan added “It’s reassuring to be working with guys like this, the money men can make it hard though and it is important to pitch the idea at the right kind of investors. Don’t waste time chasing premier VCs if you haven’t even written any code.”

    With customers ranging from SME’s to global enterprises combined with and an upturn in the economy, Elevate Direct is well placed for a bright future.  “As the contractor database builds we feel we can only get stronger” says Dan, and further adds that “we should be able to fill most contract roles. There will always be a need for very niche agencies but we are making a dent in that at the moment, and building talent pools and pipelining resources for a number of large firms, including RPOs.”

    To read the full article and interview with Dan as published in Recruiter Magazine, click  here

    – See more at: http://cta-changes.elevatedirect.yourwebisonline.com/blog/disrupting-the-contract-recruitment-game#sthash.dawTTu6U.dpuf

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    8 tips to help you successfully raise money for your startup

    One of the most time consuming and stressful undertakings any founder can take on is raising money. I’d like to share a few of my learns in this brief note on some of the things to do and to not do!

    DO

    1) Develop a great  looking investors slide deck, – formal business plans are a little tired and most investors just wont $have time to read a twenty page document. Two decks is ideal, one around 5-10 slides as a teaser and one longer one, up to 20 slides for the more interested parties. A traditional business plan containing forecasts and cash flow will still be required but this won’t hook investors,  just pull out the main points and crystallise into a professionally designed deck. It could be the first thing they see about your start-up.

    2) Keep it visual –  promote your TAM ( Total Addressable Market ) ideally as an infographic. Investors want to know how big your potential market is – tell them easily.

    3) Ensure you include the 3 most important points investors look for –  Team is first – Why are YOU the right people to do what you’re doing, why are you investable. What is your Product or Service – what problem does it solve, why is now the right time. Finally Financials – show current revenues if any, and projections, 12/24/36 months out.

    4) Be realistic –  If you’re lucky enough to have some revenues, plot your growth curve to show when you expect to hit cashflow positive, but dont shoot for the moon if you’re raising a seed round. Investors want to be reassured by realistic expectations.

    5) EIS/SEIS – If you are in the UK make sure you get registered for EIS/SEIS as soon as you want to start raising money. If your business qualifies, which it will, investors can mitigate some of the risk of investing in you and that is very, very appealing.

    DON’T

    1) Waste time chasing a Premier VC (Balderton, Index, Accel etc) if you’re raising a seed round of sub £500k, especially if you don’t yet have revenues. These guys very rarely invest in seed, although they will say they do. They want to see a finished product, a revenue stream and existing reference customers. Even when you have all of that in place, the goalposts are likely to move; they’ll want to see more customers and a proven plan for scaling.

    2) Underestimate how long it will take to raise funds, it takes months and is often a continual exercise, you’ll find you are always raising money so take as much as you can get as early on and then concentrate your efforts on developing your business.

    3) Set an unrealistic valuation – or be too guarded on holding on to your stock, especially if this is your 1st start up. You want it to succeed right so get the money in and wrangle a deal anyway you can. It’s cashflow that is the biggest killer of start up businesses so get the cash in. If the company succeeds, there is at least a pie to divide up that has value.

    No cash = no company no matter how good your idea is.

    Finally be sure to check out Angel Investment Network , they were great in helping us. Look at sites like Seedrs, and other crowdfunding sites, we didn’t use them but I hear good things.

    The good news from me is that we successfully closed an over subscribed seed round of just under £500k and are now in the process of formalising our series A funding. No doubt there will be more experiences to share……

    Good Luck!