Our Start-up of the Week is ThinkHRX, a Dublin-based company building an innovative SaaS platform that changes the recruitment process entirely.
“ThinkHRX is about simplifying the recruitment process by making it more efficient and accurate for both the job seeker and hiring manager,” said ThinkHRX managing partner John Clark.
“The platform changes the way we present ourselves for opportunities by combining our EQ and IQ, and the way organisations seek and select the right candidate by identifying culture fit at the beginning of the recruitment funnel.”
‘We aim to be a catalyst for the end of jobs boards and CVs’
– JOHN CLARK
Clark explained that the ThinkHRX proprietary platform uses games and images to capture a complete candidate profile which includes technical skills, emotional intelligence and personality traits as an additional layer to a candidate’s hard skills, experiences and achievements, all compiled through artificial intelligence.
“With this robust information, applicants can best present themselves to companies and those they know will be great matches. Companies will save significant time and energy by filtering out candidates who will not fit their culture,” said Clark.
ThinkHRX is a B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) offering that will target the Irish market first before expanding to other geographical territories.
“We expect the most significant demand from job seekers with under 10 years of professional experience,” said Clark.
“Regarding B2B benefit, the platform is not limited to any particular type of organisation or size and would suit start-ups through MNCs, civil service, retail and hospitality, education, the list goes on.”
Co-founder Clark brings 18 years of professional B2B and B2C leadership experience gained across multiple industries and territories. Before ThinkHRX he was based in Singapore and was instrumental in the launch and management of aviation talent and workforce management firm Avion. He was also a strategic adviser for fintech and edtech start-ups, and worked as an adviser on new investment acquisitions and venture creation with the private equity firm Reapra.
A director and angel investor in ThinkHRX, Andrew Lynch is regarded as a visionary entrepreneur having set up recruitment firm Mason Alexander in 2013. Since then, Lynch has grown the business to achieve year-over-year growth exceeding 100pc and built a team of 30 consultants with a focus on finance, banking, technology, legal and sales, and marketing recruitment. Mason Alexander is also one of the first recruitment firms to have a sports division, working with professional athletes transitioning from sports to business.
Barry Doyle, also a COO at Mason Alexander, has a wealth of experience gained from being the chief financial officer at xSellco (35th on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 EMEA 2017) where was a core part of the leadership team from December 2015 to April 2018. He previously served as CFO at social media news agency Storyful where he led the $25m acquisition by the media conglomerate News Corp, and remained on the global leadership team during the company’s rapid global expansion.
“The workings of our technology are our secret sauce and something we are not yet prepared to make public,” Clark said.
“We leverage the power of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics as the basis of the platform in a way that we have yet to see in the market. There is also keen interest amongst our team and evidence for the potential use of blockchain technologies in later phases of the product roadmap.
“We are ambitious and thinking big. The ultimate goal is to change the way people, globally, present themselves and apply for jobs, and how organisations find and select the right candidates. We aim to be a catalyst for the end of jobs boards and CVs.”
Planting seeds of change
The start-up has secured pre-seed support from Mason Alexander.
“In addition to funding, Mason Alexander is providing access to resources and insight to the challenges and problems experienced by job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers, to ensure the ThinkHRX platform is in fact meeting a need and solving a problem,” said Clark.
“The aim is to launch our beta platform in early Q2 2019, dependant on a seed funding round. The roadmap is aggressive post-launch, with further investment required to build out the B2B functionality and support significant marketing plans.”
Clark said that the challenges faced by the start-up have helped the founders gain a fresh perspective that is only driving them on.
“We’ve been fortunate not to have experienced any significant show-stoppers and our founding team, despite having limited experience working together, has been excellent. Though, we’re under no illusion. We will face some incredible challenges through this journey, but I think a strong team that remains aligned and trusting will help weather those struggles.”
A global perspective
Clark said that over the past 10 years he has been fortunate to experience the start-up scenes in Toronto, Singapore and, recently, Dublin.
“While I’m still finding my feet here, I can see there is a lot of action, and the government support looks to be fantastic. There is undoubtedly a healthy entrepreneurial mindset in Dublin, particularly in comparison to when I lived here from 2001 to 2008. Though I think to compete with popular ‘start-up cities’, there needs to be a bigger risk appetite for larger seed stage deals. However, I’ve no doubt this will change as the scene matures over the coming years, with more and more success stories coming from Ireland.”
His advice for fellow founders? “Choose your partners or co-founders wisely and be sure that your goals are aligned. While you don’t need titles, there does need to be someone that leads the charge and ensures everyone remains accountable for their contributions. It’s important that your founding team’s skillset, experience and knowledge complements each other, and be sure you play to those skills.
“As you grow, make sure you hire the right people and be prepared to compensate for those people. The most important asset you have is your team and understanding your culture from an early stage will help give you the best chance of success. It may be costly at the beginning, but it won’t be half as much than when you realise you have a motley crew of employees with no cohesion, no understanding of your goals and value, and no buy-in to the success of your business,” Clark concluded.
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