This week we chat to Jane Bianchini, founder of video interviewing platform Alcami Interactive. Having already left a corporate role to found her own recruitment firm that she built up to being a $10 million company, Jane had identified a hole in the recruitment process – she used funds from her recruitment business and took out a second mortgage to bootstrap the video interviewing venture.
ISB: What was the motivation behind you setting up your new venture when your recruitment agency was going along so well?
JB: After being in recruitment for nearly 20 years, I saw a massive gap between how important hiring is and how poorly it’s often done. Hiring drives the future of every business and has an enormous impact on society, but it’s stuck in the stone age: pen and paper, frustrating games of telephone, gut and recollections and a total black box. I saw this firsthand when running my own recruitment agency and working with talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers from some of the world’s largest companies.
ISB: What was the biggest challenge you faced in getting the enterprise up and running?
JB: As a non-tech tech founder the biggest challenge I faced was the transition from building consulting businesses to learning the ins and outs of building a SaaS product business. The significant differences between the business models, the different metrics and stages of growth. Not to mention the uphill challenge I faced in learning all about the technology and “under the hood” mechanics.
ISB: How did you ascertain when the time was right to “throw all your eggs into one basket” and make Alcami your soul focus?
JB: Running the recruitment agency I founded (which bootstrapped Alcami Interactive), it came to a point where my mentor said to me, “Jane, you’ve got a shoe in two canoes. You have to pick one business and commit”. It would have been the safe and easy thing to do to stick with an established business and have an easy life. However my passion was in the learning and experience I was gaining in building a tech company. Once I made the decision I never looked back.
ISB: What makes Alcami stand out from other recruitment solutions in the market?
JB: Unlike most recruiting platforms, Alcami Interactive is designed with the human evaluator in mind. We help organisations make meaningful connections with their diverse candidate base for positive impact. Our platform has world-first diversity and inclusion features to help evaluators minimise biases and make better quality decisions with objectivity. For instance we are able to hide the candidates video to minimise appearance bias, mask the candidates name to minimise any ethnic biases someone may have when seeing the spelling of someone’s name and finally disguise voice to minimise any gender biases.
ISB: How were you able to attract some of the “blue chip” overseas clients that are now on board to sign up with what ostensibly was an Aussie tech start-up?
JB: We invested heavily in our early customers. We understand their pain points, go above and beyond, and find opportunities to be helpful. There are always a few key early customer relationships that get every successful business off the ground. We are fortunate to now work with very large Federal Government departments here and overseas, along with some of the world’s leading brands. Our client base is very supportive and never hesitate to refer us. Saying that, one of the benefits of being a founder from the sales side of business my skills in business development and networking have served the company well. We’ve picked up clients on the dance floor, at the local pub, at conferences and events along with good old fashioned targeted sales and marketing efforts.
ISB: Finally, what is the number one piece of advice you’d share with budding entrepreneurs contemplating giving up the “safety” of an established career to start their own business?
JB: I’ve always been told businesses fail when the founder gives up. My advice would be if you were to take the plunge, keep going, find a way and never give up.