GetHired.com founded in 2011 by Suki Shah and Nash Patel raised $1.75 million in seed funding. GetHired.com combines the visibility of a job board with the functionality of an applicant tracking system allowing employers to find and pre-screen candidates using audio and video, conduct interviews in real-time and manage the entire on-boarding process.
How it all started…
As co-founder and CEO of GetHired.com, Suki Shah is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded his first company in 2008 - Statacor Biosciences, a disease management company specializing in nutritional therapy and dietetics that has since grown to a staff of 25 employees in seven states – during which time Suki has been able to pinpoint the hiring process as one of the biggest hurdles in growing a company.
Posting open positions on job boards like Monster.com or Craigslist is time-consuming and expensive and may elicit hundreds of email inquiries per post. Employers must then spend time sifting through these resumes to find the best candidates, sometimes with no insight into who is really best for an open position.
In response, Suki launched GetHired.com to reinvent the way employers and job seekers are connecting in today’s digital world.
Since Suki and co-founder Naresh Patel, GetHired.com’s CTO built the initial version of GetHired.com to address recruiting issues they were experiencing at Statacor, they initially used their own money to create the technology. Once they realized that the platform was scalable, they used their extensive network of contacts to get in front of some prominent East Coast-based angel investors including a late-stage VC firm in New York.
Suki was hesitant to travel to New York to take the meeting since the firm does not do early stage investing; however, he decided to take the meeting with the off-chance that he may be able to meet additional investors. He presented GetHired.com to this VC who was suitably impressed and then immediately sent an introduction to eight of his colleagues who traditionally did invest in early-stage companies like GetHired.com. By the next day, Suki had met with some of these contacts and had already received word that one of the angel investors was interested in contributing $200,000 to his seed round.
Suki believes that an entrepreneur can never underestimate the importance of making connections and relying on his network.
Finding A Lead Investor
The lead investor in GetHired.com’s seed round is Dr. Jeffrey Leonard of Global Environment Fund, an international investment management firm established in 1990 to invest in and provide management support to companies that make positive contributions to environmental quality, human health and the sustainable management of natural resources.
Because GetHired.com is not focused on environmental quality, human health or the sustainable management of natural resources, Suki didn’t think that Dr. Leonard would be interested in GetHired.com however, a mutual friend assured him that Dr. Leonard would at the least provide him with sound feedback.
After a few short, successful meetings, Dr. Leonard became GetHired.com’s lead investor for the seed round and he has since introduced Suki to many of his colleagues, some of whom have also contributed to this round.
The best way to receive funding for an idea or business according to Suki is to tell as many people as you can about it, to take all of the meetings that you are offered and to keep an open mind.
How do you know that an investor is right for you?
On paper, some investors may not seem like the best fit for an entrepreneur’s business. However, entrepreneurs need to be as open-minded as possible in the fundraising process because a great contact may come along when they least expect it.
If you have just one funding option on the table and you are not sure that the investor is right for you, Suki believes that you should always “go with your gut.” Not all money is money worth taking if it means that the entrepreneur will have to give up the integrity of the business or make other concessions. If no other investors are interested, perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and pinpoint what exactly are the barriers to funding so that the entrepreneur can address them before moving forward with a more appropriate investor.
What are some of Sukhi’s mistakes when looking for funding?
Sukhi says “Initially we wanted to do a small raise of around $750K. Then, as we realized the potential and gauged more interest, we moved it up to $1.25M then ultimately $1.75M. Looking back, we could never have run our business with just $750K and we should have shot for more from the beginning. Having ample funds at the onset allows a company to stay focused on building the product and not on continually raising funds.”
What sort of role do investors take on in GetHired.com?
Because Suki decided to move forward with angel investors only, the investors have taken on a mentoring role for him. GetHired.com’s lead investor Dr. Leonard is the Chairman of the Board.
Specific steps people should take before they start looking for funding…
Sukhi says, “Joining an entrepreneurial organization in your area is a great first step to start making the connections that you will need in order to begin raising a round of funding. However, before you start, make sure that you have a clear vision of what the company will become and what you need to do to get it there.”
Sukhi’s advice for entrepreneurs raising capital..
Be honest and straightforward. If you don’t know something, just say so and then get the answers. Investors and VCs will respect you much more for your honesty.
Raising money is filled with peaks and valleys. Often, you do not know where you will get your funding from. For most people including GetHired.com, raising a seed round is a difficult, time consuming process and a right of passage that many entrepreneurs have to go through. Above all else, be persistent in your efforts. Stay focused, always follow up and ALWAYS close. Don’t be afraid to ask the investor if they are interested and if so how much would they be interested in investing. If they are interested in investing, they will respect you for closing and if they are not, smile, thank them for their time, and move on to the next one!