Meet the founders of Zealify
1. Hi Lauren and Andy, how did you guys meet?
Hi, thanks for having us! Lauren and I met during our first year at university whilst studying in the Business School at the University of East Anglia. Lauren actually approached me with an idea to start a new student society connecting the student body with more business leaders; particularly SMEs.
We worked on that together for our final two years and it became one of the most successful societies on campus. This was our first experience of starting something from scratch and gave us an insight and interest in startups.
2. What is Zealify?
Zealify is a platform showcasing the work environment and job opportunities in exciting, high-growth startups and SMEs. We help companies communicate why they’re a unique place to work through photos of their offices, videos of their employees and information around their company culture and values; all the things a job seeker needs to make a decision about whether the company is of interest to them. A job seeker can browse through the companies and then apply for their jobs straight through the platform.
For companies it offers a way to build and showcase their online employer brand, creating a competitive advantage for attracting great talent.
3. Zealify is a member of the Accelerator community. What sort of support have they provided for your business?
Accelerator has been great for us. We have a private office which allows us to build our own culture, whilst getting all the benefits and perks of being in a shared building. There are about 20 companies in the building and we all get together at least once a month which creates a real community feel. All the companies try to support each other where possible too by sending opportunities in each other’s direction which is great.
4. We read that you guys launched your first start-up immediately after graduating from university in 2012. Talk us through this decision.
Yes, that’s right. We were approaching our graduation and applying for a range of different jobs but nothing particularly inspired us. We went to a weekend hackathon just before our final exams and that was our first real introduction to startups which completely grabbed our attention. We decided we would jump straight in and start our first company after graduation and it was an incredible learning curve. Whilst it ultimately didn’t work out, it gave us the foundations to go and build Zealify.
5. How have you marketed your services so far?
We do a lot of content marketing around advice for job seekers and helping people to grow in their careers. We’re actually designing an online course at the moment titled “How to Hustle Your Way Into The Job”; that’ll be launched soon. We also tap into the university and student networks to attract candidates for the entry level roles. Otherwise, we try to be really active in the community and always helpful whenever we can be to spread the word.
6. You guys currently just advertise job opportunities in London. Do you have any expansion plans for the rest of the UK?
Yes we definitely do. We’ve actually just signed up our first few companies in Bournemouth. There’s a growing tech scene down there and some really great companies so we’re looking forward to expanding there. We’ll be rolling out across other cities soon too and we also have some tricks up our sleeve for becoming a global product.
7. What’s the best business tip you’ve been given?
People are the most important factor for success. Surround yourself with good people, always be respectful and don’t burn bridges. Relationships are so important and they have to be worked on.
8. How have you funded your business?
We’ve raised £70k so far from angel investors. Nick Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt was our first investor, followed by some successful recruitment entrepreneurs.
9. What’s the best business decision you’ve made?
Probably making the decision to cut the cord on our first business. It was struggling for traction and more importantly, we realised that we just weren’t that passionate about it. It wouldn’t have been wise to continue and it gave us the freedom to go back to the drawing board and focus on a problem that we genuinely cared about.
10. And the worst?
Not trusting our gut feeling. This isn’t specific to one situation but we have come to realise that often if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t; especially when it comes to people and relationships. Being data driven has its place but sometimes you can’t ignore your intuition and occasionally in the past when we have, it hasn’t worked out too well.
11. This is an important one. Would you rather be able to run 125mph or turn invisible?
Be invisible. Without a doubt. We would love to be a fly on the wall and see what really goes on behind the scenes in many companies.
12. What do the next 12 months have in store for Zealify?
We’re looking forward to developing the core business; onboarding more companies and helping more job seekers discover great opportunities. We’ll be raising funds shortly and then we’ll be full steam ahead with developing the proposition into a more scalable offering, helping more companies of all sizes with their recruitment marketing and employer branding.