MatchFWD is a new startup entrant into the social recruiting space. It’s an increasingly hot space with startups trying to improve and optimize a variety of difficult and time consuming recruitment-related processes. At the end of the day it’s always about being able to attract, engage and hire the right people for the right job at the right company. MatchFWD is looking at doing that by focusing on “Connectors” – highly connected individuals in the social Web – and helping them connect companies and candidates as easily as possible.
The company was founded by Céline Charron, who runs a recruitment marketing firm, Illico Hodes. Through a connector (Sylvain Carle) she was able to recruit two team members: Phil Gauvin and Julien Grenier.
MatchFWD will be presenting at Startup Camp Montreal 7. The company hasn’t launched yet, but they’re aiming for a private alpha at the end of the month.
NextMontreal: What is MatchFWD?
Phil: As connectors, we receive more and more requests from people looking for great talent to fill jobs, or from friends who ask us to be on the lookout for great opportunities. MatchFWD is designed to assist these Connectors in helping their network.
NextMontreal: What’s the core value proposition for MatchFWD?
Phil: Empowering Connectors to make more meaningful connections with less effort.
NextMontreal: What are the backgrounds of the team members?
Céline runs Illico Hodes, a recruitment marketing firm that specializes in providing innovative solutions to human resource professionals. They were pioneers in Web recruitment and now with social recruitment. Among other achievements, her understanding of employer needs has resulted in the launch of an applicant tracking system, CVManager, and a job posting broadcaster.
Julien Grenier is a long-time hacker; he built his first home page with Geocities in 1995. He’s been involved in many tech projects, including data acquisition software for aircraft engines, SWIFT international payment software, SMS/MMS solutions, mobile websites and PCI compliant software.
I’ve been around software for over ten years now. I started coding image analysis for medical physics and went on to touch on mobile, video games, digital signage and the Web. Around 2006 I spent some time doing consulting work, focusing on business and marketing. Last year I did a quick jump at Yellow Pages to work on social features and the upcoming re-design of Canada411. (Phil on Twitter)
NextMontreal: When did you start? I know it’s early for MatchFWD, but when are you expecting to launch, even just a beta for early validation?
Phil: It took almost a year of research, brainstorming and designing the business model. Julien and I got on-board in late November, 2010 and coding started a few weeks later. We are aiming for a private alpha by the end of the month, a beta around mid February and a launch in Q2.
NextMontreal: What’s the business model?
Phil: There are multiples ideas on the table but for now we decided to focus on building a product that will be useful for Connectors who will generate a steady flow of solid talent and great opportunities. The idea is to have a volume of active Connectors in different industries. If we can achieve this, we know for sure companies will pay. One thing won’t change — the basic product will always be free for Connectors and Talent.
NextMontreal: How is the company funded?
Phil: Céline sold her house in St-Tropez to fund this, so we better make it work or we’ll never get invited to any parties on “la Côte d’Azur”
Right now MatchFWD is being incubated in Illico Hodes and benefits from their infrastructure; it will spin off as it scales.
NextMontreal: The benefit to employers of being able to leverage connectors is clear. The same holds true for prospective candidates, but do you see the core value to connectors being efficiency or something more? How can you quantify that value?
Phil: Connectors have different reasons to do what they do. It can be for politics, business, money, personal help or just good karma. MatchFWD will put their social graph to work. It is a great way to nurture their network, deliver trust and build reputation.
We’re also seeing a comeback to referral bonuses as great opportunities are getting harder and harder to fill. While it’s usually not the reason Connectors do what they do, if there’s an extra money incentive, it can’t hurt. We know it can be tricky, they’ll always have the choice.
A core feature of MatchFWD will be a reputation system for Connectors. We’re not designing it to create a useless competition between Connectors but to emphasize meaningful matches and have great connectors, opportunities and talent emerge.
NextMontreal: The space is incredibly hot right now. Why do you think that’s the case?
NextMontreal: Because we went from classified ads in the newspapers to classified job postings on job boards, simply pushing the same information. We’re ready for the next generation. Most of us have built decent networks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere and it’s now time to make them useful. Plus, we need a solution that will appeal to passive job seekers. What companies from developed countries have dreaded for is now here. In Quebec for example, for the first time in history, there will be more people retiring than people joining the workforce. This means more opportunities and less talent. This is a major market shift, talent will have the choice and the best fit will be key. We believe that a trusted connector who knows his/her industry will be called upon more and more. We want to help companies and talent find the right fit for a better world.
NextMontreal: Although it hasn’t been very long, what have you learned so far building this startup?
Phil: I just published a little blog post about that which I can summarize in a few words:
- Keep the project moving at all times
- It’s not a sprint yet
- Stop reading so many startup blogs
- Don’t over-monitor your competition
- And more importantly : Keep it fun
As for Celine, even if she’s a seasoned entrepreneur, deciding to make this project happen in a startup manner made her discover a totally new and exciting world.
NextMontreal: What’s the focus for the next 6 months?
Phil: It’s mostly to get the best Connectors out there to use MatchFWD and get feedback from them about what they need. It appears safe to say that we will be integrating more social networks and maybe another platform on top of email and web…
Apart from that, most of our efforts will probably be focused on tweaking the matching algorithm and reputation system based on usage to offer the best matches possible to Connectors, Talent and Employers.