The Pitch: "Through Ivy Exec, companies have access to the most qualified professionals in the world. We are a hybrid between a job board and an executive recruiting firm: We use applicants' profiles to match them with jobs, but we also recruit candidates and conduct preliminary interviews, depending on each company's needs. Unlike other career sites, we screen each of our applicants as well as all companies and job postings. As a result, we offer a level of quality and security that's not found on sites like Monster, where anyone can post or search jobs or resumés. We don't post entry-level positions, and our members come from top schools and have at least five years of experience. Our site also offers advice from career coaches, and we have partnerships with business schools. We would like to raise funding to increase our sales and marketing and to improve our technology."
FOUNDER AND CEO: Elena Bajic
LOCATION: New York City
EMPLOYEES: Five full time, five contractors
2008 REVENUE: $160,000
2009 PROJECTED REVENUE: $315,000
NET PROFIT MARGIN: 25 percent
MEMBERSHIP FEE FOR JOB SEEKERS: $22 to $42 a month for all content, depending on package; free for career advice and select job postings
AVERAGE FEE FOR COMPANIES: $8,000
TOTAL PAID AND UNPAID MEMBERS: More than 20,000
TOTAL JOB POSTINGS: More than 3,600
FUNDING SOUGHT: $1.5 million
Identify Your Customers
Ivy Exec is meeting a significant need by helping companies screen applicants, but the site is only an incremental improvement in the recruitment process, not a groundbreaking one. I am not sure whether job seekers will be willing to pay for access to the site, given that there are free job sites. And when a company serves two sets of customers, it can lead to confusion. That's a strategic question Ivy Exec must address, because it has to make sure it is spending money on the right things to meet its core customers' needs.
New York City
Target the Right Markets
Ivy Exec has a capital-efficient business model with potential to scale. For the site to be successful, it needs to have a balance of job posters and job candidates in major cities. The company should start with a few geographic areas. As it expands, investors will be looking at how much it costs to acquire customers. Obviously, Ivy Exec doesn't want to spend too much to attract users. But it also has to be careful not to rely on channels that it can't replicate. For instance, word of mouth might work for advertising executives in New York but not for other industries or cities.
Offer More Free Content
The online job board market is already a crowded space, dominated by a couple of extremely large companies. My primary concern is whether Ivy Exec can differentiate itself enough. Building a brand can be a huge expense, especially when competitors have large marketing budgets. The site should open up more free content to attract users. When I visited the site, I couldn't view any of the job postings I clicked on. The company should also leverage its recruiting services in its marketing. Emphasize that there are people working there, not just computers.
Easton Capital Investment Group
New York City