Tell us about your and your product?
Careerflow AI was built around six or seven months ago, and around that time, and even now, there were a lot of layoffs happening in the tech industry, this whole recession. I think around August is when we had the Genesis last year, where 10,000 people got their notice, 5000 people in another company. At that time I had been very active in the space of mentorship, doing things like resume reviews, and interviews for people, and I was working at Apple full-time.
Why this product in particular?
We are really passionate about, you know, helping people find their jobs and we see that there's this big recession that's happening. Most likely more people are gonna get laid off.
So can we do something together that solves this problem, or if not solve it, we can make it better. Because we had been working with job seekers for so long, we started during COVID-19 with our mentorship we knew exactly what challenges job seekers were facing.
The best way is to give an analogy which is to treat the job search like a sales process. In the sales process, the biggest challenge is usually the top of the funnel. How do you get more people in the door and interested in your product. Once they're in the door, it's kind of easy to have a percentage conversion.
We essentially figured out the key pieces of the job search process that are a pain point for job seekers, and we tried to optimise it using tools and technology. We also leverage a lot of AI which was one of the principles we wanted to build on top of to automate and improve.
How did you prove the concept?
We started with an initial experiment. Nikita my co-founder is a recruiter, so we started with an initial experiment of well, recruiters do this thing known as Boolean search.
What that means is that they do really advanced Google searches and use that to find job seekers or candidates for their jobs. Usually, they have tools that make it easy for them to do that, so they don't have to write the queries. So we said, well, what if we just give that same tool to job seekers to find recruiters and hiring managers instead?
So we built a quick proof of concept in a couple of weeks and we just put it out there and we said, hey, guys, we built this tool, are you interested in using it? To our surprise, 30,000 people tried out the tool. Now we had a proof of concept. We were like, okay, we believe this can be a company so I quit my job, and then we started to really kick things off.
We launched a Chrome extension, which actually serves as a co-pilot for improving your LinkedIn profile. You downloaded it, it shows up on your LinkedIn profile. It gives you a score from zero to 100 and offers some personalised things that you should do.Its based on your profile.
Did you raise any funding?
We were completely bootstrapped until very recently. Over the last month or so we raised a small angel round of funding, just above $100,000. This is mostly from people in our network, like private investors that we already were in touch with over the years, thanks to our network. And we also are part of the TechStars startup accelerator.
How do you find users?
Our customer attraction is mostly through content, a lot of it's organic. We have a content team that works on content across platforms, we do blogs, that helps us do as well.
We do Instagram, Tik Tok videos and our content creators work on these different platforms. We have a really large following on LinkedIn over 100,000 followers, so across all these like platforms, we just put content, we don't really do ads.
Can you kind of share any stats?
As of today, we have 42,000 users, and probably get about 2000 users a day at this point. It was lslow and steady growth. We started generating 50 users a day, then 100 a day, and it's kept going up.
What were the biggest challenges that you encountered?
The biggest challenge is actually, how do you monetize a product that's built for an audience? That's inherently not monetizable. We've been working with job seekers for many years now, and we understand that job search is one of the most frustrating times ever.
There'sstatistics as well that back that up. Obviously, we want to hyperscale and help as many job seekers as possible, so we didn't think the answer was charging job seekers directly. But what about recruiters? Yeah, they want access to job seekers and a lot of other work.
What we've found as the middle ground for us as a business is actually a B2B angle of our job search products.Now work with career coaches career counsellors, and university and higher education career centres to offer their job seekers, more advanced versions or products.
In return, they as the organisation get access to data and insights, whatever job seekers are doing and then use that as a means to take more action and improve outcomes.
What software and tools do you use?
Honestly, I'm a bit old school because I’ve been with big tech companies for a while and they are slow to adopt so I've been using more of the traditional tools. G Suite is one of my go-to’s, it works and can pretty much do what Notion and these other tools can do.
For most use cases, that's completely fine. When somebody tells me how, how awesome they are at using Notion, I say, well, like I'd rather just spend the time building my business and figuring out how to make it the best.
All I need is some notes that I can look at and so I just use Apple notes on my computer, which gets the job done with the least amount of effort.
Have you watched any podcasts or read books that helped you?
Not religiously, but I do watch podcasts. I'm definitely not a book person. I've tried to read I could never get myself to finish a book. I watch a lot of videos and content produced by different people.
I’ve watched a lot of content by Y Combinator for startups. There's this podcast called The Good Time Show, but we've been lucky to work with Aarthi as one of our advisors. We're big fans of the podcast, and we reached out to Aarthi, she's been a startup person for a long time.
I lived in Silicon Valley for over five years now and I've built a network of entrepreneurs, and people that are around me so if I get stuck somewhere I have a network to reach out to.
What are your future plans?
On the B2B side, we're looking to grow in terms of our customer base. On the product side, we're constantly developing. We have a fairly small but good development team and a software team, and we're constantly pushing out new features and new products. We're still building parts of the cycle, but at some point, it'll be a fully holistic solution.
Is there something you wish that you had known when you started?
You hear online how easy it is to raise money for a startup, or, how revenue doesn't matter at first, just focus on growth. At some point in the past that may have been true, but not anymore. We've been talking to a lot of investors and it's been a big eye-opening moment to realise that revenue is like the key KPI. In hindsight, if I knew that, we would have baked it in from the beginning. I don't want to classify it as misinformation, more so it's just not applicable.
What have you learned along the way?
Recruitment, as an industry has evolved a lot, there's so much going on. The recruitment world is so sophisticated, but job seekers are still working with Google Docs or resumes and that's all they have. Because of that, they don't even know how to get to the recruiter at this point.
Where is the best place to contact you?