The big idea
Greg Schneider learnt a few things as an intern at Quirk. First, he was quickly introduced to the entrepreneurial spirit that imbibes a founder-run business.
This had such an impact on him that when another Quirk employee, Tim Shier, launched BrandsEye under the Quirk group, he asked to move across and become BrandsEye’s first employee.
“I offered to do the grunt work,” he says. “I wanted to see a new business and brand being built from the inside out.”
When BrandsEye launched the Twitterverse was still tiny, everyone knew everyone else, and social media was just starting to take flight as a marketing medium.
“What really struck me was how we hired people, which was pretty much through referrals only. It was a whole new medium, so skills were busy being developed. We totally relied on word-of-mouth.”
And slowly, the idea for Hiring Bounty began to simmer in the back of Schneider’s mind. “We didn’t invent anything new,” he says.
“People were already tweeting jobs, or posting them on Facebook. Referrals have become an important part of the hiring process. We just formalised the system. Busy people aren’t checking their social media feeds 24/7, which means a lot is missed. Through our platform we’ve pulled everyone together – you can look for jobs, refer your friends and colleagues, and advertise jobs. When someone is placed, everyone receives a bounty – it’s that simple.”
But first the business needed to launch. With no start-up capital but a burning idea he wanted to put into action, Schneider approached Rob Stokes, Quirk’s founder. He explained his idea, and got full buy-in. He would begin working on his business after-hours (without letting it impact his current job), and once he was up and running, Stokes’ accelerator, 42 engines, would fund the business for an equity stake.
“I started by working on the idea, and then launching an MVP (minimal viable product), which was literally the bare bones of my idea. Once I had the MVP I could then add the bells and whistles based on my experiences of what the market actually wants (versus what I thought it wanted), how to market each job, how much a bounty should be, how to source candidates and so on.
“The revenue model is based 100% on placing a candidate. This means the client decides upfront how much they are willing to spend in terms of their cost to hire. We then take this figure and split it three ways: One third to us, one third to the candidate, and one third to the referee. This way, people feel okay making money on the deal (because the candidate makes the same amount), but it’s not enough to make leaving for the signing bonus alone worthwhile – it’s just a nice perk.”
While Schneider was still at Quirk, he sat next to Dan Neville, who ran Idea Bounty. Crowdsourcing was the name of the game, and he was paying attention. “Great business ideas aren’t always about reinventing the wheel,” he says.
“They’re about paying attention to the way markets and consumers are operating, and then finding gaps. Nothing operates in isolation, and the networks and idea sharing that I’ve been exposed to have shaped the way I want to do business.”
Schneider has also learnt a thing or two about teams and keeping people happy. “As soon as Vaughn Wright joined me as an intern I went out and bought a hammock and boxing bag,” he says.
“We were suddenly a team, and I wanted him to feel that way – although this business is my idea, he’s also an integral part of its growth. At this point I’m the founder and MD, which is just a swanky title for someone who does the admin, intern work, marketing, hiring and pretty much everything else. Vaughn’s perspective is great, and I want him to feel energised and excited about the brand.”
Of course, getting Hiring Bounty off the ground took much longer than expected. “The lead time for actually hiring people is much longer than I originally anticipated,” Schneider admits.
“On top of that, the revenue model only pays out three months after a successful placement, which lengthens the whole process. I spent longer setting the business up than I thought I would, and it’s a big lesson to learn.”
For Schneider the decision to take his time was simple. “I could start in my garage and it would look like I had started there, or I could take longer, find the right partners, and launch from a much stronger base, but less cash in the bank.”
By keeping his day job, Schneider worked long, hard hours, but he was also able to create the business he wanted. “It’s amazing how much you can get done at night,” he says. “But it was all worth it. I had time to test each idea and make sure the business worked before I joined it full time.”
- Player: Greg Schneider
- Company: Hiring Bounty
- Est: 2012
- Contact: www.hiringbounty.com • +27 (0)21 462 7353