Trade Hounds: The LinkedIn for Blue-Collar America
David Broomhead MBA ’15 decided to quit his high power finance job in Australia to come to Babson and disrupt the construction industry in America—thus creating the first online blue-collar community, Trade Hounds.
Broomhead grew up in Townsville, Australia—a blue collar tropical town in North Queensland. Both his parents were entrepreneurs and many members of his family were in the trades or the army.
His first step was the construction industry, because he was familiar with it and its “old school” business practices.
After interviewing more than 50 business leaders in the Boston-area during winter 2014, Broomhead determined that the biggest industry issue was with sourcing and hiring of quality and reliable tradesmen. He found that the industry relied upon word of mouth, Craigslist and recruiters in order to source labor. All of these approaches were inefficient and expensive.
Broomhead has established Trade Hounds as a media company based in Boston. Trade Hounds mobile app and website has a blend of funny and informative content to engage the members, along with a jobs listings and career resources. Currently, job listings include commercial, residential and industrial construction; Broomhead has plans to move into other industries in the future.
Trade Hounds is already getting attention from the Mayor Walsh’s office and buy in from the Department of Veterans’ Services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Value Proposition
Broomhead’s vision is to deliver the first online blue-collar community much like LinkedIn has created a white-collar community and media exchange. He believes that hard working blue-collar Americans need a site that serves their interest and that they can enjoy.
Two things make Trade Hounds unique: digital profiles and entertainment content.
Classic written resumes are difficult and unhelpful for construction job sites and workers. Trade Hounds has created digital profiles for both businesses and workers so the written resume is taken out of the equation. Workers take a video resume, which they can film on their smart phones and upload anywhere. They can also take photos of the work they’ve done. Businesses can make profiles that are tailored to show off the best aspects of their business.
They can search and match with a few clicks, which helps with the screening and vetting process. Recruiters also love the idea of the digital resume, because they can easily text or email employers.
In addition, Trade Hounds isn’t just a career site but also a community. The community revolves around entertainment content that is produced for the members. There are funny memes, job site humor, job openings and other related information, safety tips, injury data, sports, education posts. The site also promotes women in the trades, by posting their work and telling a brief story about their journey.
There is a major shortage of trade workers in the U.S. today. Trade Hounds will help connect these workers with employment, and help businesses find the right candidate. Trade Hounds also wants to forge a blue-collar workers community online in order to build trade people’s network and brand. This, in turn, will get them more job and many other opportunities.
Broomhead hopes that Trade Hounds will become an important channel for communications among all hard working blue-collar Americans. It is are partnering with vocational schools and veterans organizations in order to help place students and vets in jobs.
Broomhead is also passionate about giving back. “I want to leverage the Trade Hounds network of trades people to help with disaster relief and other people in need,” says Broomhead. “We are in a position where we can make a big difference, and have all these great hard working people and use them for the greater good.”
Trade Hounds is looking to grow into all trade industries, including: manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, fisheries and other sectors. It also hope to provide a platform for blue-collar workers to have a voice.
The Babson Community
Broomhead says he owes a lot of his success to the network at Babson and the resources the MBA provided him.
“Babson gave me the tools and skills I needed to help deliver my entrepreneurial vision,” says Broomhead. “They provide students transform startup ideas into an actual business. With great faculty and support systems in place, the students have the confidence to start their venture. The school has great alumni, coming from Australia and not having a network, this really helped.”
The company currently has four employees. David Broomhead serves as the company’s CEO and is also the sole founder of Trade Hounds. Jay Jungawala is the company’s CTO. He’s had 25 years in the tech industry and has started six companies over the years. Chelsea Cruz is Trade Hounds’ Marketing Manager. She’s recently graduated from Boston University and has a lot of experience with startups. Finally, Kevin Ruddy who the Software Developer who has 25 years of experience in software development.
“We also have a great advisory board and a group of interns that make all this possible,” says Broomhead.