iContract is a new online platform to connect professional contractors with recruiters and employers for job matching, professional networking, and contract management.
- The proprietary algorithm matches contractors to contracts.
- Contractors find suitable contracts based on skill set, availability and day rate.
- Recruiters and employers can instantly connect and chat with candidates.
- Candidate ratings and pre-screening enhance search results.
- Social universe for knowledge-sharing and professional networking.
- Mobile app for applications, matching and chat on the go.
The beauty of iContract is that it combines the connectivity of a professional networking site, with the privacy of a profile that is upfront about your professional information that only recruiters and employers have access to.
The result is a one-stop shop for contractors to establish their profile, build up credibility, search and apply for suitable contracts, expand their professional network and obtain services.
As professional contractors in the banking, tech and legal industries, we found it difficult to find suitable job opportunities online, contact and stay connected with the right people and obtain quality contracting services and advice.
We believe that the current process is broken. For example, a large investment bank looks for an interim risk analyst. The hiring manager passes the job spec to HR. HR outsources it to a service provider who redistributes it again to various recruitment agencies.
- Too many layers.
- Job spec is often ‘lost in translation’.
- Time consuming and inefficient.
iContract solves this problem.
Think of it like a contractor-recruiter dating site. Connecting professional contractors directly with hiring managers and recruiters, saving everyone time, frustration and money. Whilst establishing a unique resource – a global community of professional contractors.
We believe it supports a healthier work / life balance. Changing the way professionals work forever.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We raised £600k to launch our fully-responsive platform in August 2017. Since then, we’ve had:
- 3,500+ contractors sign up.
- 600+ recruiters sign up, including Schroders, Centrica, Virgin Money, Adecco, Hudson, Reed and Randstad.
- 1,500+ contracts posted.
- 3,000+ applications.
- 3,500+ connections between contractors and recruiters and employers.
- Partnered with companies like Nutmeg, QDOS, and CMME, to offer valuable services to our contractor base.
We have a well-documented and scalable public API. Our algorithm for searching and recommendations has been built supporting Boolean search and we plan to improve the algorithms using machine learning and AI. And we’re working on our mobile app which we plan to launch soon.
We also host a number of offline events and publish regular content on our blog.
We’ve even received a ‘Seal of Excellence’ from the European Commission under their Open Disruptive Innovation Scheme.
The platform is currently free of charge, with fast upscaling as a core objective.
From mid-2018, we plan to generate revenue in a number of ways:
- Recruiter subscription fees.
- Job post fees for non-subscribers.
- Premium recruitment placement fee (provide add-on recruitment service).
- Premium contractor account.
- Credit system to be able to apply for more contracts and boost profile.
- Payment and invoice solutions.
- Sponsored content.
- Data insight and analytical products using marketing data we have collected.
Use of proceeds
The proceeds will be split across 3 areas:
Approximately 50% of funding will be used on further product development including the completion of our mobile app, improvement of our algorithm using machine learning and AI, the development of a social universe for contractors and recruiters to interact with each other, and the creation of a bespoke and user-friendly rating system. We will use agile-development methodologies to continuously improve existing features, the user experience, interface, and to implement user feedback.
Approximately 30% of the funding will go towards growing our brand awareness so we can continue to expand our user base, levels of engagement and the industries and countries we cover.
The remainder of the funding will go towards premises, salaries, professional services and company operations.
Our target audience is threefold: professional contractors, recruiters, and employers.
Our platform aims for full market coverage and easy scalability from day 1. We cover both agency recruiters and direct employers. And we connect contractors, recruiters and employers with minimal manual involvement and maximum automation.
We cover the Financial Services, Legal and Technology sectors, but iContract plan to expand into additional sectors such as Medical and Health Care, Education, Engineering and Energy, amongst others.
And though our current focus is on the UK market, we have plans to expand into other countries, like Germany and the US.
Characteristics of target market
The freelance workforce has undergone a sustained period of growth. The self-employment population in the UK increased 33% from 3.6 million in 2005 to 4.8 million in 2016, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Recent research suggests that in Europe, 26% workers are actively considering a move to self-employment. This rises to a 36% amongst millennials. The majority of independent workers in Europe (72%) and the US (68%) actively choose this working style.
A survey by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) revealed that 1 in 6 people in traditional jobs would like to become a primary independent worker. MGI research suggests there are up to 14m independent earners in the UK, 54m to 68m independent earners in the United States and 30m to 62m across 5 European countries.
Independent workers make up 20-30% of the working population in the US and EU-15.
We have a multi-channel marketing strategy:
Platform built-in referral system.
- Refer a friend to obtain free credits.
- Gain access to Facebook, LinkedIn and Gmail contacts for referral purposes.
- WhatsApp referrals through our mobile app.
- LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter campaigns.
- Digital magazine.
SEO and paid ads.
- Google ads and job promotions on external job aggregators.
- E-mailer campaigns.
- Seed stories to the media on a monthly basis.
- Active involvement in the start-up scene.
- Hosting events for contractors, recruiters and service partners.
- Supporting events with partners and industry bodies.
- Reaching out to the user base of our partners.
- Intend to partner with industry bodies including IPSE, FCSA.
Our closest competitors are recruitment platforms such as People Per Hour (PPH), Upwork, TalMix and YunoJuno.
PPH and Upwork are suitable for discrete tasks. TalMix and YunoJuno focus on matching candidates directly with companies in a single market. We believe the drawbacks are slow sign-up, high dropout rates, lack of engagement and difficulties in tracking and scaling a success-based charging model.
LinkedIn’s limited specific job-seeking information prevents them from rolling out effective search functionality. Job boards are not interactive and job apps are too implicit for professional contractors' needs.
iContract is specific, upscalable, and engaging. It covers both agency recruiters and employers to reach full market coverage from day 1. It offers a social universe to engage users, is simple to sign-up to and encourages contractors to build credible profiles.
To our knowledge, iContract is the only open, interactive and scalable platform targeting professional contractors.