A few weeks ago we broke the news that London Startup Adzuna, founded by young entrepreneurs Andrew Hunter & Doug Monro, raised 300k in funding. Earlier this week I had a chance to interview the guys and get their thoughts as young entrepreneurs in the early stages of building their startup. The full interview is below:
Hi Andrew and Doug, great to have you guys on YHP, how are you doing today?
Great thanks. The sun is shining, business is booming and England are winning the cricket!
Can you give us a bit of background about yourselves?
We met working at Gumtree in 2005. We both stayed in the local internet space for the next 5 years and finally hatched the Adzuna plan in 2010 on the back of an envelope in a central London pub. The beta version of the site went live in July 2011.
Doug was most recently COO of property portal Zoopla, leading the growth of the team from 5 to 75 people and the site up to number 2 in UK property with 5 million visitors a month. Previously he was MD of Gumtree.com, the UK's largest classified ads site.
Andrew was most recently VP Marketing & UK GM of local review site Qype, where he grew the site from 0 to 17 million monthly unique visitors in 2 years. Before Qype, Andrew was Head of Marketing at Gumtree.com.
Tell us a bit more about Adzuna and what separates it from other job sites?
Firstly, we bring together all the job ads out there. For example, the largest online job boards (eg Monster) only feature 15-20% of job vacancies.
Secondly, we're a search engine. We search all the sites to pull out the freshest listings and package them together in a rich search experience with clever, powerful, fast filters. Essentially, Adzuna is doing for local classifieds what Skyscanner & Kayak did for travel.
Thirdly, as well as all the ads, we add unique product features on top. For example, by using your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, Adzuna exploits social networking functions to allow customers to gain an advantage in their search (or 'get hired with a little help from your friends'). It makes sense for all these multiple sources to converge because that’s ultimately what people find useful. And we can also give our users true insight from data because we have close to 100% of the listings.
Where did the idea for Adzuna come from?
Online classified ads are very fragmented and too complicated to navigate. Users want to search through all the ads from a single website, which is what we provide at Adzuna. For example, there are currently over 70,000 accountancy vacancies in the UK spread over at least 700 job boards, resulting in a bewildering number of options and destinations for job hunters to visit. The result of this is great inefficiency in matching employers and job hunters, buyers and sellers. We want to make that experience better, firstly by bringing together all of the ads in one place and then by layering on innovations in social, data and mobile.
You guys recently raised £300k in funding, how did you go about raising this and what challenges did you face?
We raised £300K investment from Passion Capital and some prominent angels (with backgrounds at eBay, Skype, BT and Virgin) in addition to funds originally invested by Doug and myself. The fund raising process was fairly painless (Passion Capital pride themselves on making this process as “vanilla” as possible). The only real challenge we had was making sure we didn’t take any “dumb money”. We made sure we had proviso in place to ensure all of our investors (in addition to cash) are able to help us with key areas of the business such as legal, international development and partnerships.
What's the Business Model for Adzuna?
The business model will be advertising funded both in paid per click/search based but at this stage we are purely focused on building an excellent job search experience that people want to use. Money will come later and in ways that don’t damage that experience - although we know from our previous businesses that consumer traffic in this sector is valuable to advertisers.
So where is the company based and what's the size of the team?
We’re based in Camden in sunny North London and we’re a team of around 10 people. Our office has a pool table, a table tennis table and free food and drink throughout the day.
Wow that sounds like you have a great office but what was your biggest challenge when starting your own business?
Quitting our jobs and actually have the courage to start. Both Doug and I were working at very successful start ups (Zoopla and Qype) before starting Adzuna. Leaving great companies (and people) was very difficult, but it was definitely the right decision.
Who has inspired you most in business?
Doug – Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay). Because he was cool dude and a great business man.
Andrew – Daniel Ek (founder of Spotify). Because he’s not afraid to disrupt markets and he’s only 26.
What has been your most memorable moments as an entrepreneur?
We’re very early stage, so aside from putting a very big cheque in the bank account, I think our public beta launch was very special. My friends and family were very positive encouraging about version 1 of the product, but it’s always nice to get some validation and love from some heavyweight news publications like The Guardian, Reuters and TechCrunch.
And what advice would you give other potential young entrepreneurs looking to start their own companies?
Talk to everyone you can about what you are doing / thinking of doing and ask for help. Don’t be guarded with your idea. You need input from everyday people as well as more experienced entrepreneurs who can help point you in the right direction.
What's next? How do you envisage the next few years?
Our objective is to become the biggest and best classifieds search engine globally and we want that to happen in the next few years. I reckon we might be quite busy in the coming month ☺
Thanks guys for taking the time to join us on YHP!