Daniel Lewis is hoping to shake up the traditional recruitment world with his company, Digital Profile. His platform takes on a new concept: blending recruitment and careers advice, while modernising the traditional CV for the 21st century.
Find out how he hopes his model will be disruptive and revolutionise finding work in our latest post in the Startups UK series.
What inspired you to start the company?
I had previous companies to Digital Profile and dealing with recruitment (agencies) I found the whole process difficult, I thought it could do with a rewrite.
The recruitment model has been there forever - people helping people find work. I think the bit that’s frustrating from a business point of view is the fees that are incurred in the middle.
What the general recruitment agencies out there do we can do via a platform, and you do not need the middle person to do the hunting of CVs and finding people.
How is a digital profile different from a traditional CV?
We’re trying to change the CV that everyone has to a digital profile. That digital profile will allow you to encompass other data, such as info you put on Facebook or Twitter, but you can choose what you want to represent.
What employers are doing when you send your CV in is trawling you to find out more information about you because they have not got what they really need from your CV. They’ve got your experience but they don’t know who you are as a person.
What we’re trying to do is capture who you are as a person, not just your experience but your aspirations for learning, who you’re influenced by, the YouTube tutorials you’re watching, the events you’re attending. All this gives employers a better picture of the person’s professional persona.
Also, you can see what the employer is viewing on your profile, and you can redeem that link if you did not want someone to have access to it anymore. Currently, if I send someone my CV I do not know who they’ve sent it to, how long they’ve got it for and who’s viewing it, I think CVs can get passed around.
Are you the only company doing this type of thing?
There are other platforms out there trying to do matching. But ours is not just about matching, ours is about the privacy of the profile and the richness of the information through the profile, and the process being controlled by the professional.
I have not seen anyone doing that type of thing and that’s where I think we have a unique approach on what we’re doing. And we’re saying the matching is free. So that can change the landscape because everyone charges for that area, but we’re not interested in charging for that. We want you to find jobs at your own will and without there being any mediatory in the way or barriers.
We have not built all the features to the platform yet. As part of being a startup we’ve had to launch a minimum viable product and build quickly in small chunks over time. We think we’ve got quite a disruptive platform to the recruitment world that will demonstrate a different way of doing things.
If you do not charge a fee, how would your company make money?
We would look to offer subscription services, or we have another white label platform for local councils and authorities where they can put a platform out to their local area.
We’re looking to build a pre-16 version, so we can build a careers advice platform into the younger market, so while they’re in school it can help them determine what kind of things they’re interested in. And help show them what kind of roles are out there in the real world and what the salaries look like.
We have that kind of thing and that’s where we would charge for licence fees, but the councils get a beautiful set of data themselves on what the map of skills look like in the local area. Also, what employers are looking for and if there is a shortfall of different skill sets, which they can feedback into colleges, universities, schools – because we’re collecting a large amount of data we can make predictions on what employers are looking for.
So the platform is a mix of recruitment and careers advice?
The type of algorithm for the platform that we’re trying to build serves as a purpose for both. For example, if a designer is on £20,000 and they’re on our platform it would show them opportunities in their local area that they can apply for where they are right now. But if they want to look at getting to the next level of being a £30,000-quality designer, our system will look at everyone else on £30,000 and see what skills they have, then it’d recommend those skills but also recommend the courses they can do to upskill. It’s like helping set a career path.
Why did you register to become a limited company?
Investors cannot invest in companies, I believe, if you’re a sole trader, and we’re seeking investment at an early stage. And you cannot set a share structure scheme up on a sole trader account. Also, the idea that I’d be the only person responsible for this, I do not have deep enough pockets to do that on my own. So it was a sensible choice from the very beginning.
And down the line when it comes to taxes and stuff it’s more cost effective being a limited company, when you’re earning large revenues. And I think it offers more protection to the person setting up the company from my experience. It was a call made from the beginning from previous investment.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in business so far?
Money is always the challenge when you’re a startup. It’s the biggest challenge, funding helps you grow, funding keeps you going.
Having someone behind you in terms of the financial format is good. But you also, within the tech world, need good technical people that are building the right solution for you. People who are not going to take you down a rabbit hole, ending up having to build and rebuild again and again, which has happened to me in the past.
How can people set up a profile?
Go to digitalprofile.io and register, all the information is on the site about what it is and does. We have Facebook groups and Instagram too where we can help people if they want help setting up profiles.