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Founders Friday in partnership with TalentKraft: Dom Clonen
Dom has been involved from the inception stage of every business that he has worked in since graduating from university. He started his career in Pacific Strategic Group, a niche media company that specialises in training programs and industry updates to senior ICT executives.
Realising in 2012 that there was a market gap in the recruiting space due to dissatisfaction with traditional recruiting services, Dom started TechBridget Market, a tech-enabled talent source and assessment provider that seeks to disrupt traditional recruitment models.
About TechBridge Market
TechBridge Market is a next-generation talent sourcing and engagement provider that challenges conventional wisdom around what constitutes the most effective and economical method(s) to find and recruit staff. Uniquely, it has engineered a managed service that significantly reduces clients’ existing in-house recruitment costs and, improves their hiring outcomes.
Question: What has been the most satisfying aspect of entrepreneurship for you and why?
Answer: Having the freedom to innovate, and having the freedom to fail in doing so.
Question: Drawing on your personal experiences, what traits do you think are essential for startup founders and why?
Answer: Resilience tops my personal list. You can (and should) hire talent to fill the gaps in your skillset, but you can’t ‘buy’ the fortitude that’s required to overcome the inevitable setbacks you will face along the way.
Question: What was the biggest challenge you faced in scaling your sales and why?
Answer: Customer perception. We don’t fit into any of the traditional recruitment services or recruitment technology categories, so we had to build a new environment in which to sell. Initially, this required a very high-touch sales and customer education strategy. However, as we’ve grown and acquired more and more clients, we are able to lean on client logos and testimonials to do more of the heavy lifting for us.
Question: On hindsight, if you to build your team again, is there anything you would do differently?
Answer: We are very lucky to have the team we currently have, but we certainly made hiring mistakes along the way. I don’t think any founder is immune to this. The key is to learn from those mistakes and to constantly refine and redefine your ideal candidate persona as the company evolves and grows.
Question: What aspects were most important when you were first building your team and why?
Answer: Achieving the right balance of complementary skill sets within the core team. Getting this right gives everyone the time and space to excel in the areas they are best suited to and most passionate about. It’s important that everyone maintains a certain degree of role flexibility, but it’s very hard to grow when everyone is spread too thinly across multiple functions.
Question: What are the top 3 tips you have for investor pitching?
Answer:1) Exude confidence and passion. Investors are backing the founder as much as the idea. You need to inspire and excite them with your vision.
2) Have a detailed execution plan. Investors need to see a viable roadmap to make money.
3) Be transparent. Nothing you say that’s impactful enough to move the needle with an investor is going to evade eventual scrutiny.
Question: What sets you apart from other startups?
Answer: Traditional recruitment services and recruitment technology solutions suffer from one or more limitations—cost, flexibility, ease of use/implementation, and quality of outcomes. We have taken the disparate technology and human components required to achieve an efficient and effective talent sourcing and assessment process and blended them into a single managed service offering that addresses these limitations.
Our customers range from 5-person startups to listed multinationals, and we are very proud of the fact that we can give smaller businesses the same access to quality talent services that the big boys get
Question: Any other words of wisdom that you would like to share?
Answer: You do you. Don’t get sucked into the startup hype and focus too much on what everyone else is doing (or saying they are doing). In my experience, a lot of the noise is just PR and the reality is everyone is facing the same challenges and struggles as you are.