Jayden Kafanelis, Co-founder of InternMe

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Jayden Kafanelis and Dylan Trickey are two university students tackling the university associated employment struggle. Soon after realising that the path from university to employment wasn’t so clear cut, they began InternMe Australia creating an online solution to the current hardships students and graduates experience.

As they progressed, they noticed that recruitment processes as a whole could be optimised. The company was initially created to help students and graduates become more employable by providing them with real world experience and allowing them access to other resume building opportunities. This evolved into the platform it is today which also acts as a valuable tool for HR managers and recruiters who can access a large niche database of university graduates and undergraduates and find the right person for the job, whether a full-time or freelance position with InternMe’s filtering system.

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

Our idea started when Dylan tried to find a marketing job on SEEK to no avail. He approached me about the challenge of students needing to have experience before they could get a job. We discussed this paradoxical problem and were passionate about solving this issue for ourselves and fellow university goers. Shortly after we modelled the business and started developing InternMe.

Could you explain your business model to us? 

We charge companies and businesses a placement fee upon successful placement of an individual. They can freely advertise to our database, use our filtering services and trial and interview as many candidates as they wish. There are no hidden fees, no subscription fees, no advertising fees and no salary based commission fees. Our placement fee is dependent on the type of job role they are looking to fill. Full-time positions have a higher fee than internships, freelancers, part-time positions and contractor partnerships.

What are you working on right now and what are you excited about in the next year?

We have just finished the development of the alpha version of the website and are currently working on content for our marketing. We have a lot of really cool ideas to engage our fellow students and generate brand awareness. We are really looking forward to helping students and graduates break into the real world and can’t wait to see some of the success stories that come out of InternMe Australia.

How do you make ideas happen?

Persistence, discipline and work ethic are all necessary for any ideas to become a reality. Thinking outside the box, doing research on your industry and investing the majority of your money and time is also required to really make building your idea practical. Everybody you talk to has an idea, only some will ever give it a go and have the patience, resilience and attitude to pull it off. The right attitude is everything.

What role have mentors played in your business life?

Mentors have been tremendously helpful for us. As a biomedical science student, I had no formal business education behind me before we launched into our start-up. Dylan studies marketing and was up to date with marketing knowledge but we both lacked the all-important real-world business knowledge – the type that you can only learn after immersing yourself in that environment. Having people around you that have years of experience and knowledge, and that are willing to give you some of their time is priceless. We started with a business mentor from day one and it is safe to say that we wouldn’t have been as established as we are without him.

What does your typical day look like?

A typical day for me can consist of anything from cold calling, brainstorming, communicating with the team, meeting with businesses, marketing to students or even writing blogs for our audience. No two days are the same and there is always a new task that requires attention. Some days I may spend 6 hours on the phone cold calling and other days I will be meeting with universities and networking with professionals at events.

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing your business in Australia?

The challenges I have faced are numerous and diverse; from financial hardships to time constraints, with trying to balance studying, work and a start-up. One of the massive challenges with tech start-ups specifically is product development and finding the right web developers for the job. Our first experience with a web developer turned out to be a massive waste of time and money with our product not functioning correctly, deadlines being missed and the website as a whole not being up to our standard.  I’m thankful that every challenge that presents itself is an opportunity to grow and pivot our model.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Social media marketing obviously has its place in this day and age but given the saturation of platforms with advertisement, it’s now necessary to create marketing content that really stands out and grabs people’s attention. Think outside the box.

What companies do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

I think that the company Opaque is doing some extraordinary things that link in with the education industry. After talking to one of the directors I have learnt that they are moving toward VR integration with universities that allows students to learn content in Virtual Reality. For example, Health science students will be able to study Anatomy in VR – meaning that they can pull apart a human body, take out organs and see things in 3D with relevant information popping up alongside the body part in question. As a nerdy Science student, this gets me pretty excited.

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

I think if a business is marketed right, properly connects with its audience and gives valuable insights, knowledge or services, it can heavily influence its users. If enough people are reached and mindsets are affected, business has the ability to bring about massive amounts of social change.

What 3 websites would you recommend to our readers?

Linkedin and
Ted talks

Who should we follow on Twitter?

Would recommend following Nathan Chan, founder of  Foundr.

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. What is one question about startups you would love answered? 

How do you determine if an investor is right for your company if you only know them from face value?

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Papa Ginos, on Lygon Street in Melbourne.

Learn from over 250 Australians making ideas happen.

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