Let me start with a bit of a history. I had a small (read: one person) tax preparation business and a staffing business in the US since 2003 but the bug to make it big, do something online that scales etc etc, gave birth to www.thehiringtool.com (THT). Everyone - clients, friends, HR folks, that I spoke with said this was an awesome idea and there is definitely a need for vendor consolidation platform and there were Fortune 100 companies that were moving in this direction. Super excited, my wife and I pooled up our savings and moved to India.
We figured that with the amount of money that we have, our runway in the US would be 3 months whereaas in India, we could possibly extend it to a year or so and we were so sure that we would get funded in the mean time.
We started well, gained a lot of traction but somewhere deviated from being a product company to a services company. That went on for about 2.5 years and thankgod for our US tax business and US Staffing that kept the ship afloat and we kept putting those earnings in THT to keep it going.
In 2010, we took a stock of the situation, split our responsibilities and one person focussed on THT while the other on the other two operations. That resulted in growth in the tax business as well as the US Staffing business but THT continued to struggle.
Somewhere in 2011, we decided to shut down THT and since we had built great relationships with some of our clients, we branched out to provide staffing services in India as well.
In retrospect, we feel that these were some of the highlighted mistakes that we made:
- After the first release of the product, did not invest in technology. Should've kept evolving
- Our revenues were a %age of the placement fee through the system but neither did we control the supply nor the demand. Should've charged subscription fee from both - Employers and Placement Agencies
- Our clients did not want "one more place" to have to go post job so adoption was low. Should've figured out how to make the application more user friendly and approachable.
- Spent too much too soon. Hired sales heads in each region when in 2008 there was a slowdown
- Did not stop soon enough. There was no reason for us to continue for 3 years.
- No outside advice (that made any sense at least)
With this big shift in our mindset and also in our operations, we focussed on growing the three business units but "the bug" was still there so we re-hired the agency that developed THT to start work on what is now called 99ATS (www.99ATS.com). This would be come the big daddy of THT and offer complete functionalities of an Applicant Tracking System along with a integrated vendor marketplace and vendor management system.
FFWD to 2012, our total team size is 20. We now have an internal team of developers and a sales team. The product launched about 4 months ago and we have quite a few customers. Things are moving on along fine but....
The Missing Links
Today I can see two missing links in 99ATS -
Head of Technology - a person to take the ownership of technology and product development and mentor the current team
Sales Head - Someone that has experience in either selling SAAS products that can over look the sales and marketing function. This person needs to understand the SAAS sales metrics. Understanding of the recruitment space would be an added plus.
While I'm thinking that getting these people on board can solve my problem of accelerating growth, I wanted to reach out to you guys and see if there's another viewpoint or is there anything that I'm not seeing. And if I do need to add the above two, where do I find them?
Would love to hear the thoughts of fellow TRH
Thanks for your time
two suggestions -
i) would you like to post the positions - head of tech & sales head in our JOBS section?
ii) check this post - http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/startup-and-acube-free-hiring... - krishna might be able to help you!
all the best :)
Will connect with Krishna