Job seekers face many difficulties during the job search but perhaps one of the biggest and most basic issues is finding a job at a company they actually like. Otta is the job marketplace that connects high-quality applicants to London’s most innovative companies such as Spotify and Revolut. Otta uses machine learning to generate smart, job recommendations, and its platform provides a robust profile of companies that include CEOs profiles, Glassdoor scores, and Otta’s personalized data.
London TechWatch sat down with Cofounder and CEO Sam Franklin to learn more about the gaps in the recruitment industry, Otta’s future plans, and recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just raised a £850K Seed round, led by LocalGlobe. We’re very excited to also be backed by leading angels in Europe, including Paul Forster (cofounder of Indeed), Shakil Khan (an early investor in Spotify), Matt Robinson (cofounder of Nested and GoCardless), Duncan Jennings (founder of VoucherCodes) and Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas (COO at GoCardless).
Tell us about the product or service that Otta offers.
Otta helps job seekers find roles at the world’s most innovative companies. We use technology to discover, structure and categorise thousands of roles across London’s fastest-growing companies, including Revolut, Deliveroo and Babylon Health.
We spent a month helping job seekers with their search to understand their biggest hurdles. Our ingoing hypothesis was that people wanted help with CV reviews, interview preparation, and salary negotiation, as you can’t get that help anywhere else.
Whilst we weren’t wrong, we found that the bigger challenge was “finding jobs is frustrating”. People even offered to pay us to help them find jobs at London’s most innovative companies because they were frustrated by job search websites.
When we spent more time researching and understanding the market, we were surprised that so many options don’t put candidates first. So, we set out to build the best experience for candidates.
Who are your primary competitors?
We have two types of competitors. Job search platforms (such as LinkedIn and Indeed) and hiring marketplaces (such as Hired and Talent.io)
How is Otta different?
Otta puts the job seeker first, providing the most relevant and personalised job recommendations. We go beyond the traditional job search by enriching jobs with additional data and by gathering real-time feedback from job seekers on what they like and dislike.
This feedback and additional data allow us to deliver better recommendations. Similar to how Spotify makes recommendations based on what you listen to, we use machine learning to recommend jobs based on which jobs you like and dislike. Recommendations improve as our collection of users spend more time on the platform.
The platform is built for thoughtful job seekers who want to make an impact at the world’s most innovative companies. They’ll find useful articles to read, information about the founders, Otta’s take on the company, and more.
What market is Otta targeting and how big is it?
We’re taking aim at the recruitment market which is worth £35B in the UK and $150B in the USA.
What’s your business model?
We currently aren’t monetising the platform, despite being asked by plenty of companies to help them recruit for certain roles.
In the future, we’ll charge companies to proactively engage with our high-quality pool of candidates. This will add value to both sides of the marketplace, as it will be more targeted than LinkedIn Recruiter. Companies will get to reach out to active candidates that are interested in their company, and candidates will get directly contacted by their favourite companies without being spammed by recruiters.
What was the funding process like?
We were lucky to have two angel investors making strong introductions to VC firms and other angels. This meant the process to get in front of the decision-makers was relatively smooth. I’m very grateful for this!
We were quickly oversubscribed, so most of my time was spent negotiating terms and deciding the best partner for Otta.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It took us a while to manage the governance points, for example, what business actions need consent from the investors.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our obsession with making the experience better for candidates, and the belief that job search doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Our goal is to be the go-to place for great people to search for jobs at London’s most innovative companies. We’ll be looking for signals such as numbers of applications made and number of monthly-active-users.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Figure out how many months of runway you have left. What milestones and steppingstones can you reach in your business before then? Leave enough time for fundraising, as it always takes longer than you expect.
Figure out how many months of runway you have left…Leave enough time for fundraising, as it always takes longer than you expect.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’ll be developing in two directions. Scale and product offering.
The problems we are solving are common across the world’s major technology hubs. We’ll look to grow the product in cities like New York, San Francisco, Berlin, and Paris.
As we grow the number of candidates using Otta, we will work closely with companies to improve the experience including bringing transparency to the application stages and improving the amount of feedback given to candidates.
What’s your favorite tourist destination in London?
I really like Columbia Road Market on a Sunday. On a sunny day, it’s a great spot to people-watch with a croissant and coffee, buy some plants and listen to live music.