San Francisco Alumni Club Monthly Spotlight: HigherMe
The San Francisco Alumni Club’s monthly spotlight on alumni businesses continues. Check back and read about more Babson startups! The following post is from Christa Ferguson M’15 of Parrot Foods.
Founder’s Names, ages and graduation years:
Evan Lodge (29) M’14 Head of Product
Rob Hunter (30) M’14 CEO
Industry: HR Tech / Vertical marketplace
What do you sell: SaaS Solutions that allow retail and hospitality employers to find better employees faster. Our tools help find and screen candidates.
What is your value proposition?: We replace job boards, applicant screening, and ATS systems – we source, screen, and hire employees for our employers.
Company Headquarters: Boston, MA
Where did your company name come from?: It is a play on words (Higher vs. Hire), and also alludes to showcasing a ‘higher’ version of applicants.
Number of Employees: 4
Year Founded: 2014
Where did you meet your partners and tell us the story of how and when you decided to work together? We met on Facebook looking for housing for the Babson Full Time MBA program. We were working on coming up with a company to start very soon after becoming roommates.
What was your first job:
Evan: The company name was BackChannelMedia, and they sold technology that allowed television broadcasters and cable companies to make their advertisements interactive on traditional living room cable infrastructure. I held a number of positions, including leading sales engineering.
Rob: I worked at McDonald’s while I was 15, and was the #1 North American distributor of Japanese professional wrestling videotapes and DVD’s during my high school years.
Source of startup capital:
• Babson B.E.T.A. Challenge Winner ($20,000)
• Startup Rounds Competition Winner ($10,000)
• Angel investments from successful entrepreneurs (including a Babson alum) (amount not disclosed)
• Y Combinator Seed Fund ($120,000)
Why did you start this business: The recruitment space is broken in these industries. Retail and restaurant locations rely on Craigslist and a lot of manual labor to find, screen, and hire their employees. There’s a real opportunity to provide value for this specific vertical that isn’t being offered by other solutions.
Exit Strategy: N/A
If you are hiring, what skills are you seeking and where should Babson Students/Alums Apply: Looking for people that would like to do client services. Really organized friendly people that are willing to do anything necessary to make clients happy.
Send your resume (or a short video) to: mailto:email@example.com
Toughest part about being an entrepreneur:
Evan: Prioritization. There is always much more work to do than the team can handle. Knowing what will provide the most value first is really hard.
Rob: “Context switching” can be difficult – in an average day, I am fundraising, selling, servicing existing clients, recruiting new employees, motivating and leading existing employees, and trying to help build product – among a dozen other things.
Key Business goals yet to achieve: Nation-wide scale of our customers and our applicant pools.
Whom do you most admire and why: Hearing the founders of Thumbtack talk about their early challenges was really inspiring.
Company you most admire and why: Slack just kind of made everything seem really easy. I’m not sure whether that’s
admirable or not. But the beautiful simplicity of what they’ve accomplished in a short period of time is a really interesting thing to shoot for.
What do you do for fun:
Evan: Run really long races such as the 29.2 mile Goofy Challenge at Disney World in Florida
Rob: I’m a runner too – sometimes I am slower than Evan and sometimes I am faster than him…usually slower. Right now I’m training for a marathon in Maine the first week of May.
Most influential person at Babson:
Rob: I was thinking about this the other day, and in terms of tangible skills that I use every day, Richard Bliss’s venture finance class taught me things that I didn’t know prior to Babson, but that have been really useful as we’ve gone through our fundraising. In terms of having a good attitude, being a good mentor, always sharing a laugh, and just being all-around awesome – nobody can compete with Michael Mozill.
Evan: I second Mozill – Straight shooter, interesting business experience. Also Jan Shubert – great at teaching the softer management and team building skills.
Favorite Babson Memory:
“Professionally,” winning the B.E.T.A. Challenge will stand out forever. Personally – dressing up as the Teletubbies for Halloween in the first year of our MBA will be hard to forget.
The HigherMe Team recently completed their participation in YCombinator’s Winter 2015 cohort. Check out their DemoDay presentation.