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“How we raised funds pre-development”: SpotJobs co-founder tells – StartupSmart

Another new niche job site, SpotJobs, is preparing for its national media launch next month, having already received seed funding and office space from residential builder Simonds Homes.


SpotJobs, founded by business graduates Lewis Romano, 25 and Jake Williams, 23, helps people find casual, part-time and entry-level jobs right across the country.


“Jake, when he finished high school, was going to go to schoolies and realised he didn’t have any money,” says Romano, who previously founded men’s online retailer Romano Napoli.


“He thought there would be a website that catered to people like him.


“He discovered there is no SpotJobs, so he got talking to me and we saw there was a huge opportunity to develop a platform that connects all of these people.


“We realised the most important thing for us… was someone to share our vision to help us put it in front of a broader marketplace.”


Armed with nothing but their idea, Romano and Williams went in search of seed funding.


“We spent 12 months trying to find the right partner. Through our social circles, Simonds Homes presented as an opportunity,” Romano says.


“We developed a story. We sort of said, ‘This is the problem people face. This is the opportunity we’ve identified’.


“It makes the process for everyone involved… simply just better. We believe that there is a lot of great parts of technology, which weren’t a part of the job-seeking and recruitment process.


“Skype interviews and all those bits and pieces are scattered around the internet but not necessarily put into one, easy to use platform.”


In addition to scrapping traditional resumes in favour of visual CVs, SpotJobs asks job-seekers questions such as how far they’re willing to travel from their home and what time of day they prefer to work.


Romano and Williams received an undisclosed amount of funding from Simonds Homes and a number of private investors, and set themselves up in Simonds Homes’ Melbourne headquarters.


“They’ve really backed us from day one, which is probably the most important part of the journey so far – their support,” Romano says.


However, Romano admits it was tough to raise funds when the platform hadn’t been built.


“It’s something I don’t know if we’d try to do again. People’s initial concern about an idea is it’s pretty replicable,” he says.


“For us, we thought once we had a bit of a war chest that anything would be possible.”


Since its launch, more than 25,000 job applications have been filed through the site. There are 5,000 advertisements online and 1,000 new jobseekers signing up every day.


SpotJobs has also signed up more than 200 employers including Coles, Woolworths, Red Rooster, Pizza Hut, Apple, Cotton On, Telstra, Optus and Premier Retail.


Meanwhile, BHP Billiton and Toll Holdings have expressed interest in the site.


“After Simonds gave the support we were looking for, it gave us an opportunity to build the website and bring an in-house team of developers in,” Romano says.


“Jack and I just pounded the pavement and got on a plane every second day all over the country for almost 12 months.


“We spoke to the HR recruitment teams of all the biggest consumer brands in Australia. We were just blown away by… their willingness to get behind [us] and support SpotJobs.


“We got the sense these companies were willing us to be successful. There did seem to be a little bit of disenchantment [with other job sites].”


The business, which now employs 10 staff, is expecting to be cashflow stable by June. And it isn’t ruling out raising additional funds, with Romano saying a capital raising could take place by the end of the year.


But for now, Romano says SpotJobs is busily preparing for a national television and digital advertising campaign.


“We’re really looking forward to our national media launch early next month. We’ve proven the concept on a smaller scale but we can’t wait to put SpotJobs to the broader market,” he says.


SpotJobs isn’t the only start-up attempting to carve a niche in the recruitment space. Last month, StartupSmart spoke to OneShift, which allows employers to hire staff on a one-shift basis.

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