Tech Pitch: TalentPool

Used by the likes of Deliveroo and Adbrain, this start-up promises a "new breed of recruitment" whereby small and medium enterprises have a voice...

Company name: TalentPool
Founders: Tom Davenport (27) and Andrew Lavelle (25)
Background: Both ex-strategy consultants, Davenport in financial services, Lavelle in telecoms and technology
Based in: London (Tower Hill)

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • TalentPool is a candidate sourcing platform
  • To an employer, we’re a gateway to talent – our platform approaches prospective applicants on their behalf and produces a shortlist of matching candidates
  • To candidates, we’re a career launchpad – a place where they can be picked out for great opportunities and engage meaningfully with great employers

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Recruitment in the UK, particularly at a graduate level, is in real need of a shake-up. With a few notable exceptions, the sector remains fundamentally un-disrupted by technology and massive inefficiencies exist.

While the largest employers of graduates struggle to work through and respond to the enormous number of applications they receive, small and medium businesses face precisely the opposite challenge. In spite of the great opportunities they have on offer, they are hampered by low brand recognition among their target audience; the inverse of the very factor which disproportionately boosts the applications to large brands.

The issue is exacerbated by the dominance of corporates within university career departments – in spite of representing well under half of the opportunities out there. So the problem boils down to the fragmentation of the small and medium enterprise jobs market.

TalentPool solves this. By aggregating supply and demand through one platform, we give small and medium enterprises a a voice and thereby bring otherwise undiscoverable (except by fluke) opportunities to our candidates.

Are you funded?

Yes indeed. We have raised two seed rounds (SEIS and EIS) and have around 23 angel investors, of which around half are active in an advisory capacity. As a group they have a wealth of experience and add enormous value, covering off everything from law to digital marketing.

What were you doing before starting?

Both of us were strategy consultants – in fact, colleagues at the same firm. We specialised in different sectors but learned similar working styles which helps when making decisions together now.

Before that, we respectively studied History and History of Art at university; these subjects were so interesting but scarcely relevant! Our own experience of moving from humanities degrees to excel spreadsheets underscores our conviction that the right candidates can come from the least expected places.

We had a good few years in the corporate world but it was incredibly exciting to leave and have a go at doing things our way. It’s been quite a journey since then with its fair share of successes and crises, of course, but great fun throughout and we’re in a fantastic place at the moment.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

We’re in the Rainmaking Loft at Tower Hill and it’s brilliant. We work alongside over 30 similar businesses and it’s a lively environment. It’s a great place to be and learn from our ‘peer’ businesses.

And if you come in early or leave late, its great because there is always someone else around (usually another founder!) who is up against a deadline or keen to get something over the line. So it’s fun and keeps us creative. But the best thing is probably the view; we look out straight over St Katharine’s docks which is stunning all year-round and particularly this time of the year.

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