Rise To is a learning and recruitment platform that matches young people to entrepreneurial businesses in a fast, smart and transparent way.
Companies get an easy and low cost way to connect with potential recruits that fit their commercial and cultural needs. All they have to do is build a LinkedIn style brand profile and pre-vetted ‘matched’ talent is served to them automatically - in effect receiving a semi-managed ‘all you can eat’ recruitment service for little more than a standard jobs board ad.
Young people (aged 16-24) sign up for free and are taken on a guided journey to build the ultimate digital CV. As they refine their profile our algorithm ‘best fit’ matches them with the companies and opportunities that best suit them.
Our ultimate aim is to drastically improve their employability and help kick-start their dream career.
There are several sectors that we cross into: edtech, recruitment and HR - all are ripe for disruption and improvement. A cursory Google for investment stories in these niches will show how much action there is and the volume of cash involved.
Smaller businesses and young people can be served in a much smarter way via our learning and recruitment platform - and it’s our aim is to dominate this space. To start, we believe our ‘two-way’ matching methodology supersedes the functionality of traditional jobs boards or recruitment portals. These old style reactive services, dependent on candidates applying individually for roles, is replaced with a new ‘always connected’ model built around our lower cost relationship management platform. As our testing services, gap analysis technology and learning platform all come online, it will take our offering to a whole new level.
Substantial accomplishments to date
• Delivered a live and functional MVP with working two-way matching algorithm
• Self-funded for development, refining the model, research and user testing
• A small SEIS round with a number of successful entrepreneurs investing
• Attracted numerous award winning businesses to the platform
• We currently offer more live opportunities than our nearest competitors who have been live for two years or longer
• Signed up a stellar advisory board of experts from public and private sector with experience in online dating, recruitment, HR and education
We plan three primary revenue streams:
Talent will always be allowed to use our site for free. Companies will pay an ‘all you can eat’ subscription fee based on their size. Monthly fees will start at £50 for small businesses, going up to £250 per month for the medium sized, and large businesses will be priced on a consultative basis. We are encouraging organisations to build an all-year-round employer brand to maintain a connection and support their potential talent pool.
2) Learning & Development
Access to the site is currently free for talent and companies alike including the yet to be released learning and development functionality. Premium content, tools and experiences will be charged on a ‘pay as you go’ basis to our users.
3) Sponsorship & Advertising
We have the opportunity to deliver contextual advertising through our ‘comms' panel on the left hand side of the profile pages, akin to Google PPC. We are also exploring offering sponsorship opportunities to agreed partners who could add value to our members.
* Premium features will continue to be added across all streams.
Use of proceeds
The proceeds of this round are for further development of the platform, to refine our algorithm, and to get our message to market. Approximate split as follows:
• Platform and algorithm development - 40%
• Sales, marketing, advertising - 50%
• Back office - 10%
UK employers recognise the value that young people provide:
• Of those hiring, 64% hired young people last year
• 44% of all businesses were involved in some kind of work experience programme
• 18% involved in inspiration programmes (e.g. mock interviews, open days, mentoring and challenges)
These figures include larger businesses who are more likely to hire young people, and are more visible throughout their education, most likely because they have the resources to do so. We believe if you make it easy and low (or no) cost to provide the same kind of facilities to smaller businesses, then they too can benefit from access to great potential recruits.
In 2011 when Duncan co-founded StartUp Britain he emailed The Supper Club’s members asking who would be open to mentoring young entrepreneurs. He had an exceptionally positive response, the best response to an email in the Club’s history! It was also the most popular initiative that StartUp Britain ran in its first year. Proving that the older generation are keen to pay it forward and support the new, they just need the right management platform - this thinking is the essence of Rise To.
In recent years there has also been a trend amongst larger businesses to engage and hire school leavers where previously they would have only hired graduates. There seems to be an increased desire from larger companies to recruit from a broader range of backgrounds to improve the diversity of their workforce. PwC recently announced in the Sunday Times that they will no longer be using A-levels as a selection measure as they feel it’s more an indicator of background than potential.
Characteristics of target market
• The UK recruitment market is currently worth around £28.7bn - an increase of 8.2%
• UK employers spend an estimated £3bn a year on graduate recruitment with 44% of all employers hiring young people
• There are 5.2m SMEs in the UK representing 60% of all private sector jobs. Within this we are focussing on the 226,000 businesses with 10 staff or more
Young People: Key Facts
• There are 7.5m UK based 16-24 year olds, which is 11.9% of the population
• Unemployment rates in this demographic are currently around 15.9%
• Half of grads from the top 30 universities want to work in London
Initially we are employing a 3-pronged route-to-market strategy:
1) Soft and Hard Launches – While in beta we are focusing our efforts online, what we’re calling our ‘soft launch’. We’ve tested this approach and can instantly turn on relevant web traffic using social and web advertising channels. Later this year we will activate our hard launch, with on-the-ground ambassadors as well as putting on a big launch event for press, partners and customers.
2) Distribution – We plan to set up strategic partnerships with education and youth organisations as well as various targeted business groups. These partners will have the potential to release mutually beneficial PR via their networks when we are ready to push go. For example: our affiliation with The Supper Club means we have unique access to around 350 of Britain’s fastest growing entrepreneurial businesses.
3) Direct Sales – For any start-up, the key is on-boarding the right users in the right volume, quickly and cost effectively. We plan to set up a direct salesforce to hit the inbox and phones at the same time as we ‘hard launch’.
We are in the favourable position of being familiar in concept i.e. a jobs board, but executed like an online dating platform, again an understood concept. With our learning, sharing, and CV verification functionality we can save users time, stress and money. Not forgetting our matching algorithm that we believe accelerates the entire process, giving us a competitive advantage, as well as valuable IP.
Our thinking is that if you can do everything your competitors already do, but in a smarter, more authentic and transparent way, then we believe we can dominate this market. We believe the recruitment process is ripe for this kind of innovation. None of our competitors (as far as we know) is offering a combined recruitment and learning platform with two-way matching on hard and soft data points.