Online recruitment startup Scoot to take on the big boys

  • Aims to have 15K listings by year-end, 30K by end-2016
  • To challenge JobStreet on price and product features
Online recruitment startup Scoot to take on the big boys

FOR most young adults, being a pilot would be a dream come true, but for Daniel Joshuia, the cofounder of online recruitment portal Scoot Jobs Malaysia, entrepreneurship comes first.
 
“Before I and my cofounder Asim Qureshi started Scoot, I had just completed my flight training and had a commercial pilot’s licence. I actually had job offers to join airlines – which I turned down to start this venture,” the 20-year-old told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Petaling Jaya recently.
 
“This is something too good to turn down; flying can wait,” added the Scoot chief operating officer.
 
Scoot, which was officially launched in April, has managed to secure 1,500 job listings from over 400 companies so far, according to Joshuia.
 
Among the big names it has attracted are KPMG, Public Bank, Starbucks, PayPal, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Marks & Spencer, Daikin, BMW, Maxis and AIA.
 
By the end of this year, it hopes to hit 15,000 job listings a month, and is aiming for 30,000 listings a month by the end of next year.
 
These targets are steps to a bigger, more audacious and hairier goal: To be the No 1 player in the online job recruitment space.
 
“We hope to become the biggest player in terms of listing within five years,” Joshuia declared.
 
For now, it seems like a stretch goal – especially when Scoot’s current listing load is less than 5% of the much more established JobStreet Corp Bhd. A quick check by DNA shows 31,819 job listings on JobStreet’s portal for the Malaysian market.
 
And JobStreet is not Scoot’s only competitor in a rather crowded arena. Other players include Monster and Indeed, as well as the jobs classifieds portals of big media companies, like The Star Media Group and its myStarjob.com.
 
Joshuia acknowledged there are challenges ahead, but believes that Scoot’s journey will get easier as time goes by.
 
To achieve its goals, the company – which currently offers its services in the Klang Valley, Malacca, Johor and Penang – is looking to go nationwide.
 
“It’s not going to be easy. We are going to expand our sales team so that we can focus on more areas,” he said.
 
“It’s going to be difficult to build the base, but once you get the ball rolling, there is a domino effect and it becomes easier. It is going to be easier to get 2,000 listings two months from now, compared with today.
 
“In fact, the first two weeks, we couldn’t get anyone on board. We went from coffee-shop to coffee-shop, from business to business.
 
“Today, all we need to do is call up companies and they are in,” he claimed.
 
One thing Scoot is going to do differently is to not target all types of jobs in the early stage, Joshuia revealed.
 
“Currently, we will focus on entry-level jobs, fresh graduates, part-timers and internships. Once we understand the market better, we will move into other segments,” he said.
 
Monetisation game-plan

Online recruitment startup Scoot to take on the big boys

One may argue that the reason Scoot was able to secure 400 companies and over 1,500 listings is that it currently does not charge companies for listings.
 
This raises an immediate concern: Will it be able to retain these companies when it starts charging listing fees?
 
“From our conversations with the companies, we are confident that most, if not all, of them are willing to pay to list on our portal,” Joshuia (pic above) claimed.
 
The reason for his confidence is the rates it plans to charge employers – a mere RM48 (US$12.55) a month, as opposed to the few hundred ringgit traditional job portals charge.
 
“For employers, it is an attractive and low-risk solution, instead of spending RM300-500 on traditional job portals,” said Joshuia.
 
To run a business on such relatively low rates, Joshuia said it was vital to keep the team lean. Currently, Scoot has 16 people on board, as opposed to JobStreet, now part of Australia's Seek Ltd, which has over 500 staff in seven countries, going by its LinkedIn page.
 
“We outsource most of our work, such as tech and graphic design. In fact, a number of [our team members] are from the United States,” said Joshuia.
 
“Surprisingly, even with the strengthening of dollar, it is still cheaper to hire there than here in Kuala Lumpur,” he added.
 
A simple calculation shows that if Scoot can secure 30,000 paid listings a month, it is looking at potential revenue of RM17.28 million (US$4.52 million) annually.
 
“If we stay lean, I believe we can make a good business case,” said Joshuia.
 
Besides competing on pricing, Scoot will also be competing against the big boys in terms of product features.
 
For example, it plans to include video résumé features within the next few months, so that employers can save time.
 
The birth, funding needs

Online recruitment startup Scoot to take on the big boys

Joshuia said that he and Qureshi started toying with the idea of setting up an online job recruitment portal late last year.
 
“It was in November during a game of squash,” said Joshuia, who is a former national squash player.
 
“Asim [Qureshi] told me that JobStreet and jobsDB had just merged, so there was a vacuum there and there’s kind of a demand for a strong No 2 to come in – and that no one was filling it.
 
“He then asked me to look at it and see if there was anything that could be done,” he added.
 
Joshuia spent a couple of months thinking about the idea, did some market research, and decided that it was a venture worth exploring.
 
“We started work on the website in January and launched it in April. We moved quite fast,” he said.
 
If Qureshi sounds familiar, it is because he has already made his mark in the online space. Several years ago, he founded Think Media Sdn Bhd which operated the thinkproperty.com.my portal, before selling it to iProperty Group in 2010 for about US$2 million.
 
For now, Qureshi and Joshuia are the only shareholders of Scoot, but that is likely to change as they are in active conversations with several potential investors, according to Joshua.
 
“We have a few potential investors interested … we have also spoken to a few venture capitalists (VCs) as well.
 
“Our plan is to raise a small amount ... to raise money just as we need it. For example, if we need X amount over the next six months, then we will only raise that much.
 
“We don’t want to come in and raise a few million. We have seen this strategy work well for startups like Airbnb. They used this model and Asim’s [Qureshi] property portal also used the same model.
 
“For us, it is a safe way of being able to maintain control of the company,” he added.

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