Tech Pitch: YapJobs

Having just raised £1m six months after launch, recruitment start-up YapJobs outlines its plans to become the "preferred method of hiring"

Company name: YapJobs
Founders: Shahzad Ali (36), Xen Lategan (36), and Ziad Tassabehji (51)
Background: Ali is a passionate entrepreneur and also runs the Hemaa.org foundation supporting education for girls, and is education and mentoring chair of The Indus Entrepreneur, London chapter.
Based in: London

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

  • YapJobs is the fastest way for people to find quality jobs in the hospitality and service sectors
  • It uses specially designed algorithms to match premium employers with the best candidates in real-time. It will only list jobs from employers who care about their staff and offer good wages and working conditions. Once matched, employers can directly chat with the jobseeker through the app for further questions.
  • For the employer, YapJobs’ smart technology pre-screens and verifies candidates before sending them a specially curated list of the top 20 best candidates that it has found in real-time
  • We only work with quality employers in the hospitality and service industries, and has partnered with companies including Le Meridian Hotels, Gaucho, Carluccio’s, and Bang & Olufsen who are all using us to find the best people for their roles.

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

In the last decade, the internet has disrupted the recruitment industry by making it easier for people to find jobs online. But things have gone too far – employees have to sift through hundreds of posts before finding something relevant, and employers aren’t getting good quality candidates through when they need them most urgently.

In addition to this, the hospitality industry is facing a staffing crisis. There are a real shortage of applicants and the industry faces higher turnover rates than any other sector. But the restaurant industry in cities like London is thriving. We want to help solve this disconnect and get the best people into work quickly.

At YapJobs, we use mobile technology and our algorithms to carefully match people with the right jobs, in the right location, quickly and easily. That’s why we’re able to tell employers that we can find them the best candidates in real-time as soon as jobs arise.

By matching employees with the right roles, we’re hoping that those people stay in those jobs longer and do a better job. By only supporting quality employers, we also know that those companies have a good company culture that will make employees want to stay, which goes some way towards tackling the bigger issues with staff churn rates.

Initial feedback suggests that our disruptive approach is working. In just a few months we’ve already processed over 50,000 applications, we’re working with some of the best employers in the industry, and we’ve become the preferred method of hiring for many of the best shops and restaurants in London.

Are you funded?

Yes, YapJobs has £1m in seed funding from private investors. You can read more about this here.

What were you doing before starting?

Ali: My family owned a restaurant so I have always had a love for the hospitality and service industry. When I left home I came to study in London, I struggled to find work and I found myself crashing on a friend’s sofa. As a stop gap I found myself temping and working as a security guard.

With my management skills, opportunities arose and I ended up setting up my own security training firm which has since grown into a multi-million-pound business. But I always remember how I felt when I struggled to pay my rent and would walk on the high street and handout CVs and endlessly wait to hear from employers. I knew that there had to be a better way to find work, which is where the idea for YapJobs was born.

I was then able to apply my technical skills to develop the right algorithms to make the app work in the best, most intelligent way possible, and have since surrounded myself with a brilliant team to help grow the business.

When I think back to the days when I was initially looking for work, I realise how important it is to support young people to find work. That’s why I am actively involved in a number of initiatives such as Hemaa.org which supports education for girls, and I’m also education and mentoring chair of TiE, a global entrepreneurship organisation.

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

There are many great reasons to be based in London. Firstly, the city has some of the best restaurants, hotels and shops in the world, which makes it the perfect place for us as we’re focused on the hospitality and service industry.

London’s tech scene is also thriving, making it an ideal place to start a business and tap into that great pool of talent.

Finally, the hospitality sector in London has high churn rates, with people moving through jobs quickly. So being based in the heartland of where there is a problem with recruitment makes it the perfect place to test our capabilities.

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