If you are going to set up an online job search engine that brings all the main jobs site ads into one place, you need experience. Thankfully for adzuna.co.uk, both Doug Monro and Andrew Hunter have a strong pedigree in helping to build successful online businesses.
Doug, previously head of Strategy at Ebay, and key to operations at Gumtree and Zoopla, and Andrew, General Manager of Qype, both left their jobs in the Summer of 2011, to set up Adzuna.co.uk the new job search engine for the UK market. Having been named in the ‘top 20 startups for 2011’ by startup.co.uk, TheEmployable decided to speak to Doug and Andrew to chat about their journey to date and their plans for 2012 and beyond…
Hi there Doug and Andrew, thanks for speaking to TheEmployable…
What made you want to leave senior and well paid jobs to start out on your own?
Quitting our jobs was naturally a tough decision. Leaving great companies (and people) was very difficult, but it was definitely the right choice for both of us. We’ve both been desperate to do a startup of our own for years now. Our experience at Zoopla, Gumtree and Qype obviously stood us in good stead and once we hatched the Adzuna plan, there was no turning back. The idea was strong, the passion was there and it was in an industry we knew inside out.
Getting a good and available domain name is tough – what made you name your business Adzuna and was getting a .com an essential criteria?
We wanted to come up with something catchy and also something that wasn’t going to cost us £100k to register! “Zuna” means “abundance” in a number of African languages. Combine this with the fact we aim to be the most abundant classified ads site on the web, and bring users the best ads sooner than anyone else – Adzuna stuck out as the right choice. We have big ambitions for the site and want to ultimately become a serious global player, so acquiring a .com was important to us.
Congratulations on being listed in the ‘startups.co.uk top 20 Startups of 2011’ – no harm in good press. What have been the main challenges that you have faced in setting up in 2011?
Thanks. It’s always nice to get a bit of recognition (from people other than our Mums)…early days!
The main challenge has definitely been hunting down the great developers and computer scientists in London. It’s tough finding young, technical talent in London these days (our core development team is actually in Athens). Too many smart computer science grads are still opting to work for Banks in the City than join exciting tech start-ups. We want to change this and we’ve been working with folks like Silicon Milkroundabout to encourage the “Top Gun” grads to forget about Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs and instead join awesome tech start-ups like us where you can a) get stock in the business b) be entrepreneurial c) wear flip-flops to work.
Trawling for Job opportunities online is a bit of a mess right now with the multitude of job-sites to look at – We had started to use a similar site to Adzuna before we left commercial recruitment to save time – are there many competitors out there doing similar things?
There are of course other people aggregating job listings, but we feel that none of these guys are making the product or search experience that much better for users. We’re devoted to making the job search experience easier and more efficient. We also believe we can take this market to the next level by bringing social, mobile and data to bear. We offer users the opportunity to connect their search through social networking sites. By using LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, we allow users to gain an unfair advantage over fellow job hunters (or ‘get hired with a little help from your friends’)
You raised capital quite early on to support the business. How confident were you are gaining financial support to back the business?
At the time, we believed the idea was strong and that we have good enough track records to attract potential financial backers (and we were largely correct in this assumption). The fund-raising process was relatively painless. Passion Capital who invested in us pride themselves on making this process as “vanilla” as possible. The only real challenge we had, was making sure we didn’t take any “dumb money”. We made sure we had proviso in place to ensure all of our investors (in addition to cash) are able to help us with key areas of the business such as legal, international development and partnerships.
What do you think will be the main challenges that face employers and recruiters in 2012 – in terms of the job market and the economy?
With unemployment at 2.62m in the UK, there will certainly be no shortage of applicants for jobs in 2012. With that being said, employers and recruiters should recognise that the way in which people are finding jobs is fundamentally changing. Savvy Employers should be straying away from paying silly headhunter fees for top candidates in 2012 and should instead be embracing social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to find top talent (for free).
Are you seeing sector growth in any certain job disciplines – and do you think there are certain sectors that will start to grow again this year?
The biggest boom has been in technology. We currently have over 70,000 IT jobs listed in the UK which is up almost 20% on this time last year. It’s also worth noting that with the Olympics coming to town this year, we’ve also seen a big spike in job centred around the Games with over 800 Olympics jobs live right now.
What’s next for Adzuna – I appreciate ‘Jobs’ might just be the start?
Our objective is to become the biggest and best classifieds search engine globally and we want that to happen in the next few years. We are looking to expand into Property and Cars search very soon and we aim to bring personalized search, social and “big data” innovations to these verticals as well.
Watch this space!!
We certainly will, and wish Doug, Andrew and the Adzuna team all the best for the future….and please do check out the adzuna.co.uk site here…
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