24. Debut

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Founders: Charles Taylor and Michele Trusolino
Founded: May 2015 (launched October 2015)
Website: debut.careers

It goes without saying that job-hunting can be frustrating – particularly for students and graduates looking to get their foot on the career ladder.

Hours are often spent on endless job applications which seem to go ignored, while meetings with recruitment firms can initially appear promising but bear no real fruit.

This was the experience of student Charlie Taylor who, in his final year at university, had applied for 40 jobs and attended 10 assessment days with no success.

Realising that recruitment was the only student service that hadn’t been made accessible through an app, he wondered why such an important sector still remained in the dark ages aka before smartphones.

Fast-forward to 2018, and Taylor and co-founder Michele Trusolino are shaking up the recruitment process in earnest with their student careers app Debut, which makes its second Startups 100 appearance this year.

With its unique Talent Spot feature, Debut enables businesses to get in touch with promising graduates, reversing the traditional direction of communication.

Meanwhile, students can view helpful live-stream content and play psychometric assessment games which uncover and highlight the skills an employer is looking for.

Taylor and Trusolino admit that changing the mindsets of companies and how they go about the recruitment process has been a challenge, with the focus for many recruiters remaining on clicks and impressions on jobs ads rather than real candidate engagement.

Nonetheless, Debut’s innovative offering has attracted over 50 top graduate employers to its service, including EY, Microsoft, Barclays, Capgemini, Rolls-Royce, L’Oréal, and General Electric.

Furthermore, the popular app has been downloaded over 100,000 times by jobhunting students, and has raised £2.2m capital from private investors and VCs.

The future is certainly looking bright for this start-up, which plans to expand into the small and medium enterprise market to match talented graduates with small businesses.

Ultimately, Debut’s vision is to be the go-to app through which students across the globe will be finding work.

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