I keep saying it. But in the 80s kids we’re starting bands and now they’re launching startups. Tech geeks are the new rockstars. But connecting talent to employer is still a feat in the digital age with many opportunities passing people by due to lack of visibility. Over the past few months, College2Startup has been gaining momentum, hitting up HackerNews’ frontpage and racking up subscribers at universities’ entrepreneurship groups. College2Startup connects developers, designers and talent with startup founders for employment purposes. So far, the site has over 8,000 targeted subscribers, who are absolutely keen on working at startups in one way or another.
“This was my goal in the first place, find these people who want startup jobs and introduce them to startups – who I know really want to tap into this list,” says College2Startup’s founder Tolu Babalola. The site currently sends out 10 startup jobs every other day, and hopes to do it everyday once it racks up on supply.
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Babalola says that unlike big corporate companies, there isn’t a hiring season for startups. He says, “There is a startup job opportunity every time a startup is built, and like all know, there are tens of them popping up each day. I did a Craigslist search of startup jobs on Monday for example, and there’s just as much demand for web developers, SEO people, PR guys as there was in January. We can’t say the same for fresh-faced accountants or new Economics graduates. This makes me believe that there is always the demand for talent…the supply just can’t find it when it comes to startups.”
College2Startup doesn’t exclusively cater to the most recent graduates either, there are jobs posted that require 1-3 years experience. The idea is to find college graduates (recent or not so recent) and undergrads (looking for internships) and provide them startup job opportunities. We caught up with Babalola this week for an interview on The Next Web.
CBM: How does College2Startups work?
Tolu Babalola: College2Startup works like HARO, but apply that idea to the startup hiring space. Startups with job openings submit them to us. Then we curate a newsletter-like email containing the jobs and send them to our job seekers who are all opt-in subscribers. They can simply click the ‘apply’ link next to each job and get going. I like to think of it as “opportunity on a platter of gold”. You don’t have to go scouring the web looking for jobs at startups, those jobs just land in your inbox every other day.
CBM: Why will College2Startups make the world a better place?
TB: Startups compete so intensely against each other for the best available talent, so much so, that some end up merging or even ‘acq-hiring’ smaller startups just to get access to their staff. Finding the talent is no easy feat, and so startups resort to posting jobs on Craigslist and sites like Monster, CareerBuilder etc, where there is such a significant amount of ‘noise’.
The key difference with College2Startup is that we start the interview process for you right from their application. We ask the right questions. For example, if someone is applying for a web developer job, we ask questions like: what languages do you code in? what’s your github profile link? what are some sites/projects you’ve created? etc. This gives the hiring startup an idea of the candidate right off the bat, before deciding whether to interview further.
CBM: What was your first job?
TB: My first real job was cleaning rooms, making beds and moving furniture. But my first encounter with making money was when I was 14. My brother Dami and I would enter various contests every week to win free Liverpool Football club tickets back in England. We would then resell them at the gates on match days. It was fun!
CBM: What is your dream job?
TB: I have it right now. I am an entrepreneur, my success is in my hands. Ideally though, I want to build many more successful companies and become a “real” serial entrepreneur. To be fair it was always between entrepreneurship and being a professional soccer player. But when I got cut from the Liverpool U-14s, I knew there was only one other way to go.
CBM: When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
TB: I grew up watching my Mom and Dad work long hours to provide for our family, despite how hard they worked, another guy came in and just relieved them of their jobs one after another, not for lack of ability or because they weren’t working hard enough…but just because he could. I knew from then on that I needed to control my own destiny. Besides I had always been a creative guy, problem solver mould, so it was easy for me to look at difficulties and immediately start proposing solutions.
CBM: What are potential roadblocks for College2Startups and how do you plan on overcoming them?
TB: There are two sides to College2Startup: The startup side, and the job seeker side. So far we’ve been very lucky in the sense that many people like the idea and we always have people subscribing. The big challenge I think will be getting the startups on board and scaling that up. More than 2,000 startup jobs in the US are posted daily on Craigslist alone. People feel comfortable with that because other than word-of-mouth referrals, it’s what startups have known. Will they be willing to spend money on this new service that comes along? My plan going forward is to let our conversion rate speak for itself as well as the quality of applications they’ll be receiving. Craigslist is a free-for-all, so they are bound to receive lots of junk resumes and e-mails from lots of unqualified prospects. With C2S however, you know you are getting talented people to apply and there’s a better chance of you finding a real gem there than on other job boards that are saturated with a significant amount of ‘noise’.
CBM: The money question: are you funded? how do you plan on making money?
TB: No, College2Startup is currently not funded, but we are planning to raise some seed money eminently. We make money off job posts and sponsorships. Startups pay a fixed fee to post their jobs to our targeted list of over 7,000+ prospects and some companies also choose to sponsor the newsletters that go out containing the jobs.
CBM: Who are your competitors and why are you better than them?
TB: We are a job site specifically for startups, so besides the ‘Internet engineering jobs’ section on Craigslist, there is Startuply. These two services are a “free-for-all” where anyone can apply. Even those who have no idea what a startup is and are just desperate to land a job. College2Startup on the other hand, goes out looking for the best available talent to apply for your jobs. Besides, we start the interviewing process for you, asking them relevant questions right off the bat. We’ve worked at startups too, so we know what questions you want to ask them before even moving on with the process.
CBM: What piece of technology could you absolutely not live without?
TB: I like to do a tech-fast every now and then, where I completely stay away from everything “tech”. It doesn’t last very long, but the first thing I reach for after the fast and even every morning when I wake up is my iPad2. I get to check my emails (and respond) quickly, get through the content of my google reader, read some news and so forth. So I imagine it has to be that.
The startup world is hiring fast. If you want to work in an enthusiastic, frenetic, “anything’s possible” environment, I highly recommend checking out College2Startup, as well as WeAreNYTech’s startup job board for jobs in New York City.
What other great job boards do you know to get into the startup world?