Our Start-up of the Week is Abodoo, a new economy recruitment and technology data platform focused on reducing unconscious bias in the hiring process while offering talent intelligence and fast hiring of ‘smart workers’ globally.
After 20 years of working in sales and marketing leadership and almost a decade working in online recruitment, Sue Marshall decided to join Abodoo to solve a problem she encountered in the recruitment industry.
She noticed that she was constantly asking herself, “How do you fix the issues around sourcing great talent without being restricted by square footage or commuting?” The answer she settled on was what she calls ‘smart working’.
Marshall believes: “Everybody has a right to work, including those that may be limited by location or mobility. There is a huge resource of people out there who want to build careers without the restriction of the traditional office.”
And so, Abodoo was founded to match these individuals with suitable employers.
Abodoo specifically targets ‘smart workers’ – individuals who are looking for a different way of working. Marshall explained that, typically, these are people who are flexible with their work, usually “fully remote or co-working”, or working in some combination of home, hub and office.
Marshall recognised that: “Workplace culture is changing. More people are working remote and from home than ever before. Many futurists insist that the future office will look more like a Slack channel than a cubicle farm.”
As Abodoo is a recruitment agency, it also has to target employers. Marshall said that the type of employers who will benefit from Abodoo’s service are “companies who offer – and are open to – recruiting based on skills and experience, rather than simply looking at fixed locations. These companies are specifically financial, technical and support services.”
Sue’s career in online recruiting saw her working as regional CEO of the third-largest online recruitment and event management company in China, responsible for a team of 600. Now at Abodoo, she uses her experience of working in start-ups, recruitment and building teams across sales, marketing and customer service to complement the rest of the Abodoo team’s skillsets.
Abodoo’s co-founder and executive chairperson is Vanessa Tierney, who previously founded and led InsideSalesPeople, a talent acquisition agency operating a disruptive remote model, which was acquired in 2017. For the last 15 years, Tierney has worked with Fortune 1000 companies and high-growth firms internationally to bring innovation, specialist techniques and methodologies to the table to attract the best talent and develop a diverse and inclusive culture.
Ben Wainwright is also a co-founder of Abodoo and is the company’s chief technology officer. He has been working in IT for more than 15 years, and spent a decade working with AT&T eventually working as a senior network specialis, supporting global clients. Between working with AT&T and setting up Abodoo, Wainwright spent some time working in the music technology industry, setting up an online platform servicing media clients and professionals with globally sourced audio for licensing.
Abodoo’s chief financial officer is chartered accountant Dominic Hollywood, who has worked in recruitment, internet, media, financial services and procurement. The companies Dominic worked for were all at different stages of development, varying from start-up level to multinational level.
Marshall explained the basics as such: “Abodoo provides an easy-to-use platform for jobseekers and hiring managers. By providing employers with anonymous candidate profiles, Abodoo enables them to reduce unconscious bias in their selection processes.
“The company also provides talent market intelligence reports and heat maps to economic development agencies, and smart-working implementation consultancy services to companies that wish to become employers of smart workers.”
Abodoo doesn’t allow members or clients to browse listings on the site. Instead, they are presented with matches to save both parties time and frustration. “You cannot see irrelevant roles as a worker, and clients cannot search for candidates who don’t meet their requirements,” Marshall told Siliconrepublic.com.
She added: “The personal details of both the worker and the company remain anonymous until a mutual match and acceptance occurs. This encourages registrations from more mature, experienced and senior candidates, as their information is protected until they accept an invitation to communicate directly with a prospective future employer.
“This promotes diversity and inclusivity in hiring as candidates are initially screened based on their skills – not gender, name, age, background, ethnicity or location.”
During Abodoo’s journey, the team has met some challenges, but accepted them as a learning experience.
Because Abodoo offers a new and less conventional recruitment service to traditional jobs boards, Marshall said “it takes time to explain to users that you won’t see hundreds of irrelevant jobs and, if there are no immediate matches or you have failed to complete your skills, then you see nothing.” However, as the company has been adding an increasing number of roles to the site, this has become less of an issue.
At the moment, Abodoo has 22,000 registered members and 350 companies that hire through the site. The company is constantly updating and improving the existing website, and launched a brand new version in January 2019.
The company currently has some new services in the pipeline for 2020, when it will be putting more focus on training, communities and enhanced AI. However, the ultimate goal for Abodoo is to revolutionise how people are hired, how they work, and how they live through the concept of smart working. They want to remove the boundaries of bias and location.
Moving into the future, Abodoo welcomes the possibility of receiving further investment. The company has raised angel investment thus far, and has had support from Enterprise Ireland. To support entry into the US and other markets, they’ll be seeking Series A investment.
Marshall said that Ireland’s start-up scene has been “an extremely supportive environment”, where Enterprise Ireland and the IDA “have offered support and advice” whenever it was needed, as have successful entrepreneurs who have been in Marshall’s position before.