Guy McKenzie, Adam Gilmore and Dave Acton met during the early 2000’s while working in the Brisbane Tech scene. While they came from different backgrounds – Dave from user experience; Adam from software architecture; and Guy from online marketing, all three were motivated to solve real world issues by designing user-focused software. They’ve since founded a company together, Tipi HQ, and have continued their quest to find great solutions to real world problems. Instaview was made with this attitude.
In the past all we had were a few resources and some grit. Even now we’ve retained that same attitude, which keeps us going if there are ever problems.
Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?
We were inspired by our own experiences of hiring. As our business began to grow and we required more staff, we found that the traditional practice of screening resumes and interviewing the shortlist was very time consuming, but – importantly – we weren’t convinced that we were shortlisting the best candidates from all the resumes we were receiving. We were struck by how difficult it was to get a sense of the candidate from their resume.
Team culture is key to our business; so while key skill sets were important to us, we really felt there was a better way of assessing whether the candidate had the soft skills we were looking for.
We’ve always been in the tech industry, so we were looking for ways that technology could help us solve this issue. We figured people were already using video technology on social platforms to communicate – just recently Facebook and Twitter decided to integrate video into their platforms – and then there are apps like Snapchat. It seemed evident to us that video was the best way of letting people express themselves naturally. Instaview can also be done asynchronously, which helps make screening candidates fit around other commitments in your workday.
We’re targeting Instaview at both recruiting firms and in-house recruiters of all types of business. Instaview is particularly useful to people that have multiple roles in a business – not just hiring. When you can send a question and then view the response at another time, it can be a really flexible process that saves time and money.
Can you please explain your business model?
At this point, Instaview is free to use for both the interviewer and the candidate. Our primary concern is to provide HR professionals and recruiters with an easy-to-use video tool that helps them to connect with job applicants. Therefore, we are focused on growing our customer base before we initiate a scheme to monetise the app. We want to build a relationship with our customer base and determine the best way to fund the project based on the ways users engage with the app.
For some point in the future, we are currently looking into a pay-per-use model. Most likely interviewers will get a number of Instaviews for free and then the interviewer will pay based on the frequency of their use.
What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?
We’re intensely focused on creating the best experience for recruiters and HR professionals to connect with candidates using asynchronous video – which includes creating a great experience for candidates. There are a variety of next steps in terms of product features that we’re excited about rolling out. We’ve already been asked for features such as a management interface, sending Instaviews via SMS, branded emails and multiple interview questions. Watch this space!
Currently, we are investing our time connecting to our audience. We are writing a blog at Instaview.co with articles that outline our journey and share our own tips on hiring. We’ve been in the same position as our user-base, so we want to share the knowledge we’ve gained. We really want to create a great dialogue with our users, so we can shape Instaview to be an invaluable resource for them.
Other than that, we’re just trying to spread the word. We want people to try the app and hopefully see that it can make a big impact to their hiring process. That is why it is free at the moment whereas our competitors charge at least $50 or more for the app.
How do you make ideas happen?
Mostly through determination! At this point, we’re lucky because we have a great team of developers who are very willing and capable of taking up a challenge. As a team, we always deliver on something when we’ve committed to it. But it wasn’t always the case. In the past all we had were a few resources and some grit. Even now we’ve retained that same attitude, which keeps us going if there are ever problems.
What does your typical day look like?
No two days are typical! We work across lots of projects at once, so we have to move quickly and respond to opportunities as they come up.
What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia?
The obvious challenge is the one we made this solution for – hiring good people who make the best cultural fit. When you’re an expanding company you need to hire quickly, and it’s a difficult process to get your head around. There’s a lot of confusion involved and a lot of time taken up looking for that right person. When we’re doing a thousand things at one time it’s easiest to just get a clear picture of someone sooner – we’re always trying to cut the fat, which is why we came up with Instaview.
We’ve also just found that it’s difficult to come across good tech talent in Australia at the moment. There aren’t enough channels to connect with potential candidates who have the tech skills we need. We know they’re out there! But it’d be great to see them come knocking on our door – ha ha. There’s just too much competition.
What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?
Nothing good comes free J
What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?
They’ve been established for a while, though. The newer companies that are impressing us are the projects popping up to support startups coming onto the scene, like product hoist for instance.
What about internationally?
We’ve been really impressed by the way SaaS startup Groove HQ has been engaging with their customer base. They’re not doing a mobile app, but they’re in the tech industry. They’ve intentionally been incredibly transparent about their business by blogging about their successes and failures. In doing this they’ve created a great relationship with their user-base, which has been instrumental in developing their product. It’s a great way to make sure what they are doing is useful to people.
What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?
Business is essentially about solving problems, so the capacity for business to affect social change is enormous. Sometimes it isn’t obvious how a business will instigate change, but whether they are aiming to solve a big, complex problem or something as simple as making it easier to get coffee in a particular suburb, any business can impact the people who they are providing for. Often, it is the capacity for business to create communities that is the real vehicle for change.
Speaking of affecting social change, we’ve teamed up with Shout for Good to encourage readers to ‘shout a coffee’ to charity by clicking the button below. Is there a particular charity you’d like to support?
Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.
GrooveHQ blog: https://www.groovehq.com/blog#timeline
Any Australians we should follow on Twitter?
Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea (e.g. are you looking for funding, interns, marketing help)?
At the moment we’re looking for people who want to use Instaview in creative ways. Our main goal is to get Instaview to be used more and we don’t mind how. So if anyone has an interesting idea of how to use Instaview to help them, we’re interested in helping out.
We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?
There are so many – more every day!
The burning one at the moment is: What is the fastest and most cost-effective route to getting your first 1000 committed app users?
What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?
Peng You at the Gasworks in Newstead – we go for lunch there regularly.