Witlr: Nick Guy
The founder of the graduate-focused recruitment site tells entrepreneurs to learn their market inside out
Name: Nick Guy
Staff numbers: 5
Date launched: 25/02/2013
Tell us what your business does:
Witlr makes it simple for all businesses, no matter what size, industry or location, to find the right student or graduate for their company. In turn, we make it easier for students and graduates to get a job matching their skill set and personality.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Our investor lamented the lack of one place in the UK where he could find students and graduates that met his needs perfectly. The current methods were time consuming, expensive and ineffective. As a student, searching for jobs after university was old fashioned, time consuming and frustrating. The majority of job sites direct graduates towards already over-subscribed roles and there is nowhere for them to showcase their skills to employers.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We've spoken to 100s of employers (varying from FTSE 100 companies to start-ups) who all love the idea of being able to find the specific students or graduates they want without dealing with middle men or having to advertise roles and sift through hundreds of CVs. As we are cheap and accurate companies of all sizes can use us, we hope this will improve the link between students and graduates and small and medium size businesses; in doing so opening far more opportunities to students and graduates than our competitors.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was studying sport at Bournemouth University and I was also on the rowing team – where I met my co-founder David. I was lucky enough to be introduced to our investor through David; giving me an opportunity to realise my ambitions in business and start up Witlr.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Whilst studying sport at university I realised that I wanted to have more of an impact on the world. Inspired by the likes of Steve jobs and Sir Richard Branson I have always wanted to run my own company.
How did you raise the money?
Our sole investor is Adam Norris; a former director at Hargreaves Lansdown featured in the Times Rich List. Adam is the founder and owner of Horatio Investments. He is looking to invest his personal wealth and knowledge into fast growing start-ups across the UK. My co-founder David Rubie Todd met Adam through his other business (KartDavid).
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The most challenging thing so far has been getting the product from concept to a fully working site. We wanted to do it quickly, so as not to lose interest and to start turning over money as soon as possible. The website has complex and innovative elements, particularly in the employer search section, which have taken a lot of refining and work with our web developers to make our vision become a reality. The website has been painstakingly revised and will continually evolve but we have now reached a point where we can offer a great service.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Witlr is free for students. We plan to charge employers a very small fee (£49.99) to contact the individuals on our site that they find who suit their vacancies. Witlr is free to search for employers, they only pay for people they are confident will be a good match for their company.
What was your first big breakthrough?
I don't think we have had it yet, I believe it will come when companies can experience our innovative search and students and graduates start getting jobs that they love.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Learn your market by talking directly to your customer! Take advice from those who have got where you want to get – the right people! Prioritise… Make sure you are working on the important things, it's easy to want to do everything but not realistic.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In five years we want to be the top graduate recruitment site in the UK potentially already expanding abroad. With these achievements we'll also become a highly profitable and well known company across the UK.