A company that sprang out of the ideaSpace incubator at Cambridge University is growing fast in the US, with new customers who range from some of the world’s largest employers to the most innovative start-ups.
In 2016 ThisWay Global attracted £1.6m funding from UK investors, headed by Touchstone Innovations (now IP Group), to build its Match-ic™ system. It matches people to jobs, using artificial intelligence in way that appeals to both candidates and companies.
Enterprise Europe Network in the East of England worked with the company’s chief executive officer, Angela Hood, to provide intensive pitch training and critiquing of presentations to potential investors in the months before the initial funding round.
Angela had approached EEN for help because the company needed finance to recruit new members to the start-up, complete product development, establish their US office in Austin, Texas, and test the market with a view to identifying their product/market fit.
Just six months after securing that funding, ThisWay had to contend with Google entering the jobs market, followed by Facebook with their new jobs app. Its response was to create a new market and a new method for connecting people to jobs.
ThisWay’s strategy offered something that neither addressed, a method of enabling groups like Cambridge Network to harness their community network of candidates, companies and members to bring job seekers and employers together in a more effective way.
This strategy uses existing networks and provides revenue to ThisWay’s partners without relying on costly digital marketing strategies, such as Google AdWords.
This set the stage for a series of hubs that now includes Silicon Valley, military associations, academic institutions, city governments and chambers of commerce, while developmental work continues in Cambridge.
In August of 2017, ThisWay’s team made a formal presentation to the US Department of Defense and are now preparing to agree contracts worth more than $100 million a year.
The Match-ic™ tool uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to match people to jobs, not just a CV to a job description. It gives recruiters the time to focus on recruiting the very best people, since they no longer have to search for talent.
Angela said: “One of the features we are most proud of is our ability to reduce conscious and unconscious selection bias in candidate profiling, as well as any bias that the candidate brings to the process. This helps to close the skills gap more quickly.”
She added: “We have been delighted to work with the team at Enterprise Europe Network. EEN has helped us to prioritise and address weaknesses in our business and to identify and improve upon our strengths.
“EEN supported me to not only become a better leader but to also help lead the industry in a better understanding of how best to apply augmented and artificial intelligence as we enter into a new world of work.”
“Our EEN adviser’s pitch support helped us to close our initial seed round and to prepare for speaking engagements across the globe, including Barcelona, London, Switzerland, Germany and more recently in Colorado.”
Angela Hood, chief executive officer, ThisWay Global