Bridging the gap between the talent market and companies through a people centric solution that greatly improves processes compared to traditional approaches
€112.800 of €60.000 raised
Jobful is a Romanian start-up, launched in May 2018, offering recruitment solutions for employers. Jobful Career Platform is an end-to-end customizable and gamified SaaS Solution that helps companies to attract, engage, upskill and hire the right professionals. Jobful Career Platform connects sourcing channels and other 3rd party systems to assure the format of an one-stop-shop for talent acquisition.
Based on our initial research, recruitment is the most obsolete dimension that works in the very old mantra of demand and supply leveraged by the “traffic” of resumes.
The opportunity we discovered is to build the technology that can transform the recruitment process into a connection process and facilitate better experiences and improve the business process.
Business Mission / Concept
Inspire and fulfil people’s potential to shape the future of a multigenerational workforce.
Our mission is to provide an interactive, equitable, and effective way of matching talent with the right opportunities for them.
We believe that everyone deserves a workplace where they are happy & productive, and each business deserves performing & engaged employees. We are here to facilitate this connection through future facing technology and human focused design.
The success of a startup depends on multiple factors and variables. We know that 9 out of 10 startups close their business within the first 2 years of existence. Many studies were conducted in order to understand why, and what makes some startups successful. Serial entrepreneur Bill Gross conducted a study analysing 5 key dimensions of startups and presented it at TEDx .
When we discuss timing, the most important metric, we look at the entire context, present and future, of tech HR startups. In our case, we look more specifically at generational changes, the impact of technology in our everyday lives, the future of jobs and market trends.
Millennials and Gen Z currently account for 38% of the global workforce, but are set to reach 58% within a decade. These generational cohorts grew up close to technology, changed jobs more often, are better educated and earn more than any previous generation. They are reshaping the workforce, reskilling, working remotely and embracing freelancing, driving changes in how we work every day.
The products the tech giants are focusing on, especially in the B2C area,are products that build and improve focus on the ability to grab and keep users’ attention. Having these close to perfect products all around us drives a constant and precise critique on business products and the interactions with them, as these were often built with the business process in mind instead of the end-user.
In our view, the key to success is closing this gap, and so we built Jobful with the end-user in mind and with attractive systems able to compete with any other products, always grabbing their attention.
The Future of Jobs
The World Economic Forum has been conducting complex studies on "The future of jobs" These are the keys takeaways:
•The pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas;
•Automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a 'double-disruption' scenario for workers;
•Skills gaps continue to be high as in-demand skills across jobs change in the next five years.
Thus, creating a more agile workforce, able to reskill, upskill and adapt is not the only key, but it's critical for the good of workers and our economies.
When we look at education and career, we can easily observe changes and trends around us. The most relevant for our context are:
•Growth in massive open online courses (Coursera, edX, Lynda, etc.);
•Increase the pace of digital adoption for business processes;
•Use of AI / ML to improve business outcome;
•User-centric systems for fast adoption and engagement.
Building our business and product, we started with each of these trends as indicators for market direction and success catalysts.
Recession, layoffs and increased dynamic
The current outlook of the labour market opens a land of opportunity for our technology. The Wall Street Journal compared the current context of a potential recession with the previously experienced ones in the US. Based on the number of unfilled jobs, retirement of baby boomers (generation) and other metrics, one of the aspects making this potential recession unique is the dynamic of the jobs market and the potential recovery.
Business highlights & achievements
During the last 4 years, the team was part of various startup Acceleration Programs. Here are our proudest achievements:
•In 2018 attended the Spherik by KPMG Acceleration Program and obtained 3rd Place & Popularity Prize at Startarium.
•In 2019 we graduated from the SAP.io Berlin Acceleration Program;
•In 2020 we graduated from NUMA (WEVE) New York Acceleration Program, while in 2021 we completed InnovX Scale-up Acceleration Program and participated to Romanian Shark Tank.
•In 2022, we were selected by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development for the Star Venture program, offering expert consultancy for key development projects. When the Ukraine-Russia war started, we put our platform to support the displaced people from Ukraine to regain their financial stability, with the support of ERSTE-BCR Bank (https://jobs4ukr.com).
As investment results, in 2019 we have received our first Angel investment round of 100K EUR, which was followed by an additional 600.000 EUR in subsequent investments rounds.
We managed to build strategic partnerships with technology companies (Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and AWS) and financial institutions (BCR / ERSTE and EBRD).
Product / service
From the B2B perspective, our solution offers four dimensions to improve talent acquisition.
Build and grow your talent pool
Jobful Career Platform is a SaaS solution, connecting sourcing channels and ATS systems as a customer's career website. The product is fully customizable based on the customer's brand book to fit perfectly within your current ecosystem.
Generate qualified shortlists in clicks
On average, 60% of a recruiter’s time is spent on pre-screening, going from one CV to another. Moreover, recruiters spend less than 10 seconds on a CV deciding if it’s worth further exploring or not.
We built custom Artificial Intelligence algorithms to generate best-fit candidates within seconds, eliminating pre-screening and offering recruiters more time to focus on qualifying candidates.
Upskill top candidates for a perfect fit
Based on the PwC Survey, 77% of CEOs consider the lack of key skills as one of the biggest threats for their business. The World Economic Forum stated in 2019 that talent, not technology, is the key to success in a digital future.
Jobful offers a dedicated course framework, supporting organizations to grow their talent pool's skill set based on current and future needs.
Engage talent using technology
We built a custom gamification framework, tapping into people’s motivators and automated touchpoints, transforming recruitment into an engaging experience instead of a burden, guiding both the candidates and the recruiters into a meaningful and enriching experience.
Our portfolio includes four use cases of the same technology, defined as solutions. These are: Corporates, Universities (Career Centers), NGOs (focused on employment - Jobs4Ukraine) and Talent Communities (job boards, recruitment agencies, RPOs and personnel leasing).
All our use cases are commercialized in a Software as a Service model (monthly subscription). The offering covers support, maintenance, hosting, updates, and upgrades. We have connected offerings for customizations, premium support and consultancy for clients.
The commercial changed in 2021 from a local approach on the Romanian market to a regional and global approach. The strategy is built on four layers, starting with inbound - dedicated content for organic growth in SEO and lead generation systems on our blog and continuing with outbound using LinkedIn Navigator for contacts and automated email flows. These two first pillars generate leads in the mid-market.
We’re now partnering with SAP (AppCenter), Microsoft (Marketplace) and Oracle to drive new business in the large enterprise sector. Finally, we have a dedicated sales team conducting our process for closing new business and a dedicated account manager for key accounts.
Total Addressable Market
The global talent acquisition, staffing technology, and services market is forecasted to reach approximately $ 196 Bn in 2028. The talent acquisition, staffing technology, and services market is accountable worldwide for around 13% stake of the global human capital management market.
Serviceable Available Market
The holistic approach used by Jobful alongside the partnership frameworks allows the startup to address more than 40% of the market which means approximately $ 56.28 Bn. The internet platforms are projected to account for more than 50% of the worldwide market for staffing software and talent acquisition in the coming years. As Jobful is such a platform we estimated that 40% is a realistic market dimension (being the first market targeted by Jobful).
Serviceable Obtainable Market
The market which can be obtained by Jobful according to the current success rate and based on our customer segmentation represents up to 12% of SAM within the following next 10 years. The 12% of SAM is again a conservative approach of Jobful and it resulted from the fact that at the beginning our products will be adopted by innovators (2.5% according to scientific literature) and early adopters (13.5% according to scientific literature).
In order to understand the competition we started from market approaches, categories of actions that our target customers do and have been doing. The approaches are:
The most competitive and direct competition is with the digitization approach. In this category, we have legacy solutions (SAP SuccessFactors, Oracle Taleo, Workday), challenges in enterprise space (GreenHouse) and challenges in the mid market (Recruitee, Team Tailor).
Our strategy includes the already agreed partnerships with legacy solutions to expand their functionalities and secure the risk of churn.
Jobful reached 150K (euro) in annual recurring revenue and is now averaging 60K new recurring business each quarter. This amount each quarter is adding between 2 and 4 new logos to our portfolio, mostly in corporate and university space. The current active pipeline is above 600K and the solution has a high degree of “stickiness” (mout), not registering any churn over the last year.
The main objective for this financing round is to support our growth and have the capacity to implement our strategy which targets 400% YoY growth for 2023.
Goals & future roadmap
The roadmap includes: invest in marketing lead generation system (marketing budgets for B2B, inbound and outbound), test new marketing campaigns outside Romania for the two new use cases (Campus and NGOs), increase the headcount of the sales team, close our Seed round (~500K strategic investor) and grow our international portfolio (>50% of the bookings and active pipeline outside Romania).
Pitch and AMA Session
If you would like to get to know more about Jobful, take a look at this Pitch and AMA session recording, where Mihai, the co-founder, goes through the business model and answers many questions coming from our community of potential investors. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKL077TfsCQ&t=4s
• Going live with two new enterprise customers and one University by end of May
• 50K grant to develop accessibility features and implement our technology for NGOs
• First quarter above 100K in revenue
• 75% of the current revenue secured as recurring
• Core team doubled in size
• Overpass 2022’s year budget by end of May
• Targeting 300%+ growth year of year with an active pipeline over 0.5M EUR
• Launching new interface (frontend 3.0) and new modules (reporting, employee document management)
• Actively building an amazing advisory board
• Secured 100K+ on Ronin campaign
Risk 1 - Financial
Secure funding to scale the business
Over the last 12 months we managed to sign enterprise deals and grow both our revenues and ARR. We are operationally profitable but the margins don’t allow us to grow our investments for scaling. For this reason we’re raising the current round which allows us to scale the business and commit the next round of funding (Seed).
Actions / options to mitigate:
1. Raise capital - Angel investors
2. Win cash flow positive business
3. Debt finance (bank loans)
4. Apply for more grants
5. Request deferral of taxes - spread the costs
6. Delay supplier payments etc
7. Request more payments in advance
Risk 2 - Commercial
Partnership relationships do not bring us enough leads
We invested time and effort to build strategic partnerships for resell or cosell purposes. However, the partners are generally unmanaged and provide a low number of leads per quarter.
Actions / options to mitigate:
1. Hire direct sales persons (focus on direct sales)
2. Identify new partnerships (system integrators, recruitment agencies, brokers / re-sellers)
3. Invest more in marketing campaigns (lead generation)
4. Leverage existing partnerships by connecting better with product managers, sales teams, webinars
5. Try Sales Process Outsourcing companies
6. Focus on SMEs (companies who can make quicker decisions)
Risk 3 - Technological
Deployment of technology and adoption process is not efficient
As the solution we proposed has a degree of disruption for current recruitment teams, adoption by recruiters, business partners and hiring managers is very important. We observed that only some of them use the solution to its full potential and we believe that it’s critical to drive better adoption of the solution.
Actions / options to mitigate:
1. Create video training materials
2. Deliver monthly / quarterly webinars for customers
3. Upgrade our customer onboarding process
4. Add product onboarding info tips
Risk 4 - Market context / commercial
Macroeconomic situation reduces company willingness to invest in talent acquisition technology
The current forecasts predict an economic slowdown and potential recession. We have researched the context of the workforce market and most reports show the job sector is very strong / hot. However, in case our addressable market encounters a slowdown, we prepare a list of actions to mitigate the risk.
Actions / options to mitigate:
1. Iterate to find niche markets
2. Focus on upselling within current accounts
3. Diversify our portfolio, expanding our reach for SMEs, NGOs and Universities
4. Keep an optimized burn rate
Risk 5 - Market adoption / commercial
Inability to convince clients that people centric is the right way to go
We validate with our customers the business impact of our solutions but we still encounter difficulties to easily explain our key differentiator: people centric design. Our pitch slide regarding market approaches is highly appreciated and represents a step forward, but our positioning can be improved.
Actions / options to mitigate:
1. Better define our positioning and communication strategy
2. Create video manifesto to explain what people centric means
3. Write content (articles) on benefits and explain the model
4. Invest more in marketing to showcase the results of our customers
1.What is Jobful’s strategy for medium term funding?
Considering the current situation in the venture capital market (high reluctance after portfolios were hit during 2020-2022), we want to bridge a smaller round this year (around 500K) to drive growth on unit economics (Customer Acquisition Cost, Customer Lifetime Value, profitability) and prepare for a larger round (Series A, above 2M) in 2024. Based on the results accomplished in 2023, the strategy post Series A can vary between riding the wave and continuing our financing rounds and getting back to profitability and growing from revenue without additional external capital.
2.What are the current challenges for Jobful’s accelerated growth?
The novelty of innovation that Jobful is bringing requires a longer qualification process in a department reluctant to change (HR). However, we see more focus and priority given by our target customers towards talent acquisition and our growing customer portfolio optimizes the time to qualify. Secondly, external capital is required to invest in sales & marketing, growing the pool of opportunities we address. This is the main reason for raising the current round.
3.Which are the top opportunities Jobful is currently working on?
The top opportunities are split in 3 categories: new business, sales strategy and funding. For the first category (new business), we’re working on a 600K+ active pipeline for 2023, half of which is outside Romania. In the sales strategy category, we started two new use cases in 2022 which we want to continue investing in: Campus (Universities) and NGOs (ex: jobs4ukr.com). From a funding perspective, we are now qualifying a strategic investment for 500K with ERSTE Seedstarter and have qualified a list of VCs for the next rounds.
4.What is the most pessimistic outlook in the context of recession for the business?
We are now operationally profitable and want to keep the risk at a low level throughout this year, which means we’re investing gradually in growth. In case of a recession affecting our pipeline, we still estimate year over year growth and we plan to keep a low burn rate to weather the storm.
5.What is the ideal outlook for the next 3 to 5 years?
The ideal outlook means keeping a good growth rate and financing it for next stages. In terms of milestones, this means closing the Seed round in 2023, closing the year above 400% growth and committing Series A for 2024. The estimated valuation for 3-5 years on this outlook / strategy is between 40 and 100M.
6.How does Jobful differentiate in the market?
The easiest way to understand how we differentiate starts from customers' solutions / approaches to talent acquisition challenges (also in the pitch deck). Jobful provides the digital platform as part of a company’s digital strategy and complements the business process (Applicant Tracking System) with the people centric approach (Candidate Smart Experience). We differentiate from main competition by delivering improved business metrics: conversion rate, time to fill, cost of hire and active candidate database.
7.How can new investors contribute to Jobful’s plans and strategy?
The most impactful areas for investors to contribute are marketing, business development, partnerships and operations. This means actively sharing Jobful’s activity to their networks, proposing our solutions to potential connections, validating potential partners for co-sell and support for hiring processes (recommendations).