I attended the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Meetup 52 at NYU Stern. Akihiko Okamoto gave a brief background of his company, Recruit Strategic Partners Inc., and gave a short presentation about its success.
Akihiko Okamoto joined Recruit Strategic Partners after a stint in banking. He started with online gaming, providing fantasy baseball throughout Japan. He moved to quickly state, “Recruit provides business promotion services across various verticals throughout Japan.” Recruit manages over 200 websites in various areas. They have released over 300 applications for smart phones and have acquired over 27 million downloads.
Okamoto iterated Recruit’s strengths into three categories. 1) Recruit is a market leader in Japan. There are over 45 million active users, or roughly a third of the population of Japan. 2) Recruit has a large sales network throughout Japan. They have a reach of approximately 260,000 clients. 3) Recruit has a 50-year experience in building businesses from the ground up. Okamoto proudly stated, “We beat Groupon in Japan with [our own product,] Pompare.”
Recruit is moving into the American market and has an office in Palo Alto, California. Their business model has four structures. 1) New lead generation: focus on partnership with company that wants to expand into Japan. 2) New customer media: focus on investing in companies that can invest into new media. 3) New solutions to existing clients: focus on new solutions that can be invested into existing clients. 4) New technology trends: focus on new technology trends that will increase Recruit’s vertical media and business domain.
Tobin Schwaiger-Hastanan of JobsNearby presented his startup. This particular app “makes it easy for jobseekers looking for jobs around their neighborhood.” It allows local business to find qualified help far easier than from Craigslist, where under qualified or non-qualified leads and scams are ripe, or Monster.com, where business pay top dollar for qualified help, but unnecessary for local businesses.
JobsNearby addresses these problems by providing a transparent, safe, and inexpensive way for local businesses to hire help. JobsNearby distributes listings to mobile devices, thereby using the user’s proximity to the job locations. Schwaiger-Hastanan currently has acquired over 200 listings, but plans to raise the current job listing to over 400 by the intended November launch date. He emphasized that JobsNearby would be for small business owners and targeted in larger metropolitan areas before expanding into suburbia.
Beatriz Cardona of Kuotus explained that it is “hard for travelers to book tickets and plan their itineraries before going on vacation.” A majority of the travel industry still relies on emails and phones, which are becoming increasingly outdated as the current technology trends become more and more advanced.
Kuotus is a method where travel agencies utilize this b2b backend system to quickly plan itineraries to schedule and book the traveler’s tickets in real time. “Using the internet,” Cardona said, “global providers become localized and travel outlets and travelers can be more efficient.” Kuotus will be first launched in Chile with the partnership of the National Tourism Board in Chile. Kuotus hopes to partner with more national tourism boards across the world to further advance the travel sector and increase turnaround and profits across the board.
Chris Russell presented CareerCloud as a service that would connect job seekers with recruiters through social media—Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus—and creating a social profile in the meantime. A social profile measures “who you are,” Russell said. “Companies can determine if you are fit for their organization.” He revealed that over 1500 companies signed up for CareerCloud. When questioned over the privacy issues of social profiles, Russell reassured the audience that there is an option to hide and filter data so that recruiters would not be able to see it. Russell put it as, “[only] pulling public data.”
Gerald Won of WillBe pitched his product and described it as a location-based platform — very similar to the popular FourSquare app — but with a twist. “What is time?” Won asked the audience. “Time by definition is where events take place and ordered past, present and future.” Currently, social media platforms that deal with check-ins only deal with the past and the present, but not the future. Won plans to release WillBe as an answer to that by allowing future check-ins.
“It will measure what users will be doing in the future. It also allows business to run promotions in the future to attract customers to their store. The future check-ins “lead to reservations [and the discounts from the future promotions.]” Won plans to charge a subscription to the businesses at $20 a month and plans to provide a proximity-based map, just like FourSquare, but using the idea of future promotions and check-ins.
Alden Levi presented MyBillRegistry. Levi revealed that Scholastic, who had approached him to create a registry for schoolteachers, backed him and his product. Levi pivoted from a college demographic to teachers and developed a classroom registry.
“Teachers use $400 of their own money on the classroom,” he said, “and sometimes, we don’t know where it’s going.” The Scholastic online store would only allow purchases on that platform, although there are no classroom essentials available like sharpeners or glue or paper towels.
A teacher’s wish list was formed in response and over 30,000 teachers have currently signed up due to the items (previously mentioned) not available in the Scholastic online store. Scholastic, according to Levi, projects the classroom registry to hit over 10,000 users by the end of December.