Creating a business model for an HR Tech startup that offers a professional orientation platform

Creating the business model for the HR Tech startup Wooply – a recruiting platform that specializes in professional orientation. A career matching algorithm directs young professionals toward the vocation that matches their inclinations and attitudes. By applying lean startup as well as HR practices and organizational psychology.

The startup idea: Helping young people to find their vocation, rather than a profession

The idea for Wooply was presented by Ludovica at the Startup Weekend Milano 2017. Ludovica intends to offer professional orientation to young people who are in the phase of career orientation and have to decide what professional formation and future career path to pursue. She wants to enable them to make smart choices about their formation and career paths in order to find a job that matches their inclinations and attitudes. She is already working on this startup idea with UK developers and now wants to adapt the idea to the Italian job market.

The idea came from her personal experience that the Italian school and university system offers little or no possibility to find out what it will be like to work in a profession on a day to day basis, before finishing your university formation and actually starting your first job.

The teamwork: Developing the business model, the launch plan and the website for the professional orientation platform

The team consisted of people who could intuitively relate to Ludovica’s experience that jobs turn out to be completely different from what you imagined, once you’re working in them. Ludovica was supported by Simona, Jonathan, Vito, Stefano, Alessandro and me. With backgrounds in HR recruiting, organizational psychology, business and legal, as well as a developer, we elaborated the value proposition and business plan, a platform launch plan, as well as a website MVP.

The users, the young people in phase of professional orientation, find a career test on the website, assessing their personality and directing them toward jobs that will likely be more a vocation than a profession for them. A career community with gamification aspects makes it attractive to keep returning to the website. I purposefully did not push the idea toward this, but sooner or later we arrived at: who will pay for this? … and ended up targeting recruiters as the paying customer segment by offering recruiting services.

The MVP consists of the website with a basic professional orientation test, recruiting services, and a community. Further down the roadmap, the career matching algorithm shall be refined to be applied to user behavior in the community. Online courses, a video database portraying jobs, and a matching service allowing young people to shadow a professional for a couple of days will enable young people to develop a deep and realistic understanding of the jobs they choose. Recruiters will find highly profiled candidates on the platform. Partnerships with companies and advertising will add further revenue streams.

Nicole’s experience and contribution: facilitating the lean startup process

Before the Startup Weekend kicked off, I was at Talent Garden Milano co-working space and captured the essence of Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit for me. On my drive from Frankfurt to Milano, I listened to Adam Grant’s Give and Take. So, I came to the Startup Weekend with the mindset that from a startup coach perspective, I wanted to hold myself back with show and tell, and just facilitate the process, contribute where I can, and see what happens.

I was stunned by the young people in my group: although some still very young, they were all driven and highly talented. I held myself back and intervened only occasionally. And what they came up with as well as their collaboration to get there left me speechless.

For example, they created a mockup of the personality test in a simple and intelligent way: Start from several well-known, distinct professions, make a job analysis to find 3-4 job tasks and work styles that you should be inclined to in order to do these jobs well, and then create a multiple choice test with images conveying these job tasks and work styles. Then make the mockup of the personality test lead to the predefined professions. The job dimensions they came up with were well-grounded from an organizational behavior point of view.

All this resulted from Ludovica offering her startup idea and being open to ideas that shape the business, yet driven and focused to get things done.

Who am I to give advice here? So, I purposefully held myself back from telling and showing, and contributed to the development of the value proposition and business model, and offered some guidance in the lean startup process.

To wrap up my weekend in Milano, I feel I have learned more from the people I met than they have learned from me, specifically that I don’t have to be in charge all the time for things to work out fine. And I have made contact with some of the nicest people I have ever met.

The result: a validated business model, a launch plan and a website MVP for the HR Tech startup

Ludovica now has a business model and a launch plan for her HR Tech startup offering a professional orientation and recruiting platform, that are both verified and well elaborated, as well as a website MVP. She can now pursue her startup further by launching the service in Italy and the UK, and by developing the career matching algorithms, the platform and the offered services.

When young people have a clear idea of what it will be like to work in the profession they are choosing, everybody wins – the young professionals and the recruiting companies.

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