Giuseppe Belpiede of Listopro tells us about getting the best digital job.
First, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Giuseppe Belpiede: Everything is great, even though we are far away, I spent some months taking care of my family in the past months. None of my friends had serious issues, nor did my employees or clients. I consider myself lucky in both personal and professional life since we did not have to make cuts to the business and could actually grow to a more powerful solution.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Listopro.
Giuseppe Belpiede: I am Italian, 32 years old, who lived across 10 countries and speak 4 different languages. After graduating from the London School of Economics in 2011, I have joined the technology world where I over 10 years of experience, mainly in Latin America. Out of these 10, I spent over 4 with Rocket Internet. I was one of the founders for Linio (5th employee), a marketplace that grew from 5 to 800 employees in just one year, and also was part of the founding team for hellofood, growing it from 0 to more than 300 employees before its acquisition from Delivery Hero. At Rocket, one of my top responsibilities was scaling companies, and hence hiring a lot of talent. In December 2017, I decided to launch a business in the recruiting space, which has led to building Listopro. I am currently the CEO and co-founder of Listopro, the first platform in Mexico to hire top digital talent in the shortest possible time. We work with top corporates like AB InBev, OXXO, Bupa, Banorte, high-growth companies like Rappi, DiDi, or a lot of startups that are scaling their teams (including US companies looking to hire top LATAM talent.
How does Listopro innovate?
Giuseppe Belpiede: With more companies looking to digitize, hiring top talent in the digital industry is becoming a serious pain. Companies already in the past took over 8 weeks to find the right candidate, this problem is now becoming bigger. As digital talent is the most demanded, most of them already have jobs and are hence not actively looking for jobs.
Current solutions like job boards focus on bringing active applicants to your vacancies, however, this mostly ends up in hundreds of CVs that do not fit the job role, and lead recruiting teams to spend countless hours without results. Companies can also use traditional agencies (headhunters), which are generally zero tech-savvy and hence end up being quite slow, and expensive – moreover, most are focused on traditional industries and do not have particular experience with digital talent.
Listopro innovates this space by making the connection between companies and top candidates faster. Companies come to Listopro, describe their ideal candidate, and Listopro’s tech identifies the top candidates for the roles, based on salary and requisites required. Companies end up only screening a few profiles every week and inviting the best for an interview. We are effectively changing the job search, and it is to know the companies applying to the candidates.
Our proprietary tech not only screens our database but also proactively looks for similar talent across the web, does accelerate talent acquisition, and increases the chance companies make a hire
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Giuseppe Belpiede: We made strong changes to our business thanks to the pandemic, which I currently see as positive. Before COVID-19, our strategy was focusing on slowly moving in our higher-paid digital jobs and starting to approach corporates. Moreover, before COVID-19 we did not have a technology recruiting area.
When COVID-19 arrived, we realized our main business (low-level sales jobs) would have been seriously it.
We immediately steered to our longer-term strategy and did the following: 1. Immediately opened our tech recruiting area, 2. Started approaching corporates and successfully started working with the best in Mexico (which have become our anchor clients), 3. Lock corporates with our prepayment plans.
Realistically, we basically scaled a business almost by 7x year-on-year (mid-high) and lost one another big area.
We managed to grow in 2020 and be profitable, apart from raising a small pre-seed.
The remote change was super easy for us since we already were 80% remote before COVID-19, and we currently have at least 10 employees who we as founders as never met personally.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Giuseppe Belpiede: Being Italian and seeing the situation in Italy collapse, I started being paranoid and decided we had to make a massive cut, already at the beginning of March, about 10 days, before corona hit Mexico. Immediately we decided to cut down useless expenses, e.g. office, extra tools which we managed to build in a house in a couple of days and had to let go a few employees (who had a temporary contract or were not performing). The core team was kept well, and even though we ask a few to do some raises, we actually managed to pay all of them in full and this was super motivating.
Lesson learned: whenever you see a big issue, try to act as fast and decisive as possible
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Giuseppe Belpiede: We are freak tools. We use notion as our wiki and project management. Loom as our way to send videos or short explanations to avoid zoom. When we have Zoom calls, we always make sure content has been previously discussed via notion and there is an agenda. For talking to customers and candidates, we use front, our shared email client, and use a WhatsApp CRM tool to centralize our communication with candidates. Overall, we try having each leader at least communicate at the beginning of the week the main projects of its area and see results at the end. And finally use an app called Friday to have each employee comment on how he performed over the week.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Giuseppe Belpiede: Our competitors are traditional headhunting agencies like Michael Page & Korn Ferry, which generally do not use technology and end up being consulting companies. As we keep building automated workflows into our CRM, better technology for using our data better (through data science/AI), we are making hires faster and more efficient. This efficiency is enabling us already to offer better service at more competitive fees and will help us move companies into a more recurrent, predictable system, where companies end up paying less, however, Listopro will be able to monetize steadily via a SaaS (i.e. compared to a traditional model, where headhunters hire sporadically but charge super-high fees)
Your final thoughts?
Giuseppe Belpiede: Every difficulty has an opportunity and right now need to be adaptable to any situation.