Recruitroo puts skills at the centre of a European stage

As the next phase of UCC’s IGNITE approaches, we look at how alumni Recruitroo is taking a Europe-wide approach to talent.

Recruitroo is one of the recent crop of young businesses to emerge successfully from the IGNITE start-up incubator at UCC.

The incubator is looking for start-up founders to join the next programme commencing January 2023. The closing date for applications is 5 December 2022.

“Recruitroo is an online platform that hosts profiles of candidates and showcases videos of them demoing their skills ”

Recruitroo is tackling the labour shortages in Europe, primarily in construction, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality.

“Companies are trying to hire globally but it is an extremely difficult process finding skilled workers abroad and processing all the legal paperwork that is required to bring workers into the EU,” explained co-founder Stephen MacCarthy.

“We will work with several professions in the multiple struggling industries across Europe but in just Ireland alone we are going to need an additional 100,000 construction workers to deliver the National Development Plan.”

Talent marketplace

MacCarthy said the ambition is to create a marketplace for skilled international talent powered by Recruitroo’s relocation management software.

“Recruitroo is an online platform that hosts profiles of candidates and showcases videos of them demoing their skills (bricklayer building a wall, chef cooking food etc), shows their qualifications and equivalence with European countries and links them with client companies here in Europe. 

“Our software then knows exactly what process to complete based on client and candidate details and automatically processes all the paperwork and documentation needed and ensures workers are supported through the entire process so they can move to Europe with ease.”

Meeting a need

MacCarthy said that he always wanted to be an entrepreneur. “I have been interested in entrepreneurship in some capacity for as long as I can remember but was unsure of what I wanted to pursue so I decided to work after college to gain experience and was lucky enough to get to work in the Accenture Dock, where I built software products that automated complex processes for our clients. The skills I built there gave me the confidence to pursue my own venture. 

“Shane Kiernan, my co-founder is a serial entrepreneur who has built successful businesses here in Ireland and also in Nigeria and the Philippines. He returned home to Ireland during covid and was trying to see if he could help his friend who owns a bricklaying subcontracting business find workers in the Philippines as he was struggling to staff his sites and couldn’t take on new work.

“At the same time, I was working on a separate product helping companies’ source remote software engineers from around the world. I rang Shane this time last year looking to sell to him, and we tried to see if the product I had built would work for this different use case and as we began to explore the problem together, we realised there was a huge opportunity there to build software that can ease our labour pains here in Europe.”

Improved ecosystem

McCarthy says that the start-up ecosystem in Ireland is improving year-on-year. “The amount of free supports you can get is fantastic and it really feels that there are hundreds of people across Ireland willing to help you.

“I was lucky enough to take part in UCCs Ignite programme where we were given office space to work, lessons on everything we needed to know to build a business here in Ireland and abroad and access to a community of other entrepreneurs all at different stages of their journey for us to learn from.”

He explained the business is in the process of raising an €800,000 pre-seed round which it hopes to close before the end of the year.

He believes making mistakes and learning from them is a crucial part of building something new.

“The biggest mistake I made so far was not being 100% sure that customers would pay for the product I was building. You can get easily wrapped up in the greatness of your idea, waste 12 months building it and be shocked when you launch it that nobody is buying. Validation of a business before you build it is one of the toughest steps but is crucial.”

His advice for fellow founders is pursue relevance. “Although not as cool, building a product that supports businesses and proves a return on investment if they use your product is a far easier task than trying to sell to consumers. We are busy people here in Ireland and usually set in our ways surrounded by brilliant products for nearly everything and it takes a lot of effort, skill and luck to break into that consumer market.”

IGNITE is open to recent graduates in any discipline, from any education Institution in Ireland, who have the passion and ambition to work full-time on a scalable start-up idea that has potential for economic, environmental or social impact. The programme includes essential workshops and seminars, entrepreneur guest speakers, mentoring with experienced entrepreneurs and business owners, funding and workspace offered on a flexible basis so you get the skills and knowledge, advice and guidance you need when you need it.

Applications close on 5 December

Main image at top: Stephen MacCarthy and Shane Kiernan, co-founders of Recruitroo

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.



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