Last year, I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Start-up Weekend event at Clark, Pampanga.
According to UP Global, Start-up Weekend is a 54-hour competition where developers, designers, marketers, technopreneurs, and venture capitalists come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch start-up businesses.
The event was organized by Metro Clark ICT Council in cooperation with TechTalks.ph, local developer and Google business groups.
Fortunately, I was able to interview Louie Sison, one of the founders of JobTags, which is the first champion of Start-up Weekend Clark event. Let’s see what it is, how their group won, and what can we learn from them.
What is JobTags?
In a nutshell, JobTags is an association of a social networking site and a job search site. Our idea is to merge these two separate entities so that job searching will be more engaging, less complicated, and community oriented.
The team has three members: Dan Oliver Calpatura, Maria Joise Sison, and Louie Sison (me). Dan is on programming and design. Joise covers the documentation and research, whereas I am responsible for the overall concept, decision making, and presentation.
JobTags is for both job seekers and business owners who want to promote jobs vacancies online.
Here’s how it works:
Job seekers can tag themselves with their skills. They can then view updates on their timeline with related jobs and discussion based on their tags. Members can endorse tags to other members who are can be approved or denied. Additionally, a job seeker can search for jobs via geo-targeted method. See the image below.
We then foresee the natural increase of user base through member-to-member engagement. With a huge pool of job seekers in one community, JobTags becomes a gold mine for business owners looking for potential talents to fill out job vacancies in their company.
How did you come up with the idea and what are your plans to win the competition?
The story behind JobTags involves a collaboration with my wife, who happened to be the cofounder of my existing venture—pampangadirectory.net. On the night before the competition, we were having coffee while I was pitching my proposals to her. (JobTags was never on my initial list to pitch.)
Given that we work in the same company, we diverted our attention to one of the company’s headache: talent searching for recruitment. Not knowingly, ideas after ideas, an inspiration sparked and we conceptualized JobTags.
To be honest, winning was my second objective. Of course I wanted to win, but my primary intention why I joined the contest was for my experience. I worked toward the understanding of the process of putting up a start-up business. In fact, most of the terminologies and lingos of the start-up battle were new to me, and I had to research here and there for their meanings and application.
In addition, I wanted to know what it feels like to oblige myself to think and make a decision in an environment of controlled pressure. If you’re not familiar with Start-up Weekend, it starts Friday night.
During this time, you have to come up with the perfect pitch for your idea so that participants will vote for it to the top 10. You must be also able to recruit a team of at least three members. For two days, you will need to come up with a prototype, supporting case studies, presentation, and final pitch to judges. Sunday evening is the decision night. (Technically, the event lasts for two and a half days only.)
Can you just imagine those three grueling days, in which you need to come up with a winning idea for a viable start-up business?
How will JobTags earn money?
JobTags has a primary revenue structure through subscription model. Business owners who upload jobs can either choose from free, standard, and premium package. Each package varies features, including the months of subscription.
On top of the subscription model, we also targeted to tap other revenue models, such as Google AdSense, Affiliate Programs, Direct Banner Advertisements, and Featured Jobs option.
What are your plans for JobTags in the next 12 months?
Frankly speaking, I am looking for individuals or groups that are interested to collaborate with the idea and endeavor. As of the moment, my focus is pampangadirectory.net, in terms of putting in hours of work. I do not close the door for a better or a more feasible concept. But I am high in spirit that we can start the project before November 2015.
Do you have an advice to young entrepreneurs who like to win a pitch?
- Don’t pitch with money as your primary motive. Listen to your heart and what you really love to do.
- You need to ensure that your pitch go well with your values, belief, and passion.
- Never limit yourself on what you can’t do. Instead, take advantage of what you currently know.
- Believe in yourself and your idea. That’s the only motivation you need when you feel down and tired.
- Test every possible initiative. From there, you will learn which one works and not.
- Keep you pitch concise, straight to the point, and sweet.
- When you present, aim to educate and not to lecture. Add a little humor and a visually appealing presentation piece.
- Put your full trust to God and do you best, and He will do the rest.