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EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES : Zapwork takes the strain out of a successful start-up.

Byline: By Martin Faint

With geography less of a barrier than ever, Advantage Business Angels is involved in the quest for finance for a Brighton-based start up that promises to take much of the cost and risk out of recruitment.

The company, Zapwork, has harnessed the power of the internet to save employers money, while putting them in touch with the right person for the job.

"This is basically a new online recruitment website with the major difference that it is a pay-on-results service," says managing director Mark Mitchell. "It should change the way people recruit on line."

Mark believes it will prove some 93 per cent cheaper than traditional recruitment options and two thirds cheaper than current online recruitment models.

"I worked in the IT industry for ten years and it seemed that recruiting people was always a huge problem. It could cost ten to 30 per cent of their annual wage," says Mark"That process impacts on the actual employee too. They are going to be paid less if the money is siphoned off to a service company."

The Zapwork method means that instead of paying for a list of people who may or may not be relevant, the employer only pays if they find people who are considered interview candidates.

The system is open to both recruiters and employers, meaning that it taps into pre-existing employment networks and offers commission to agents who use the system.

"This can make new revenue streams," says Mark. "It gives people alternatives to the current ways of recruiting. We can work with agents and businesses who want to work with us."

The system charges nothing to post a job to begin with, and as the fee comes further down the line - and is dependent upon successfully finding likely candidates - the system is relatively risk free for all its users.

Zapwork has set its sights on covering all job types - except those involving potentially vulnerable people. The team is already looking at the possibility of international expansion.

After three years work the IT backbone is now complete, enabling Mark and his four colleagues to launch the search for finance.

"We wanted to leave speaking to investors until we already had some value," says Mark. "After the dot com bubble people were distrusting of net startups."

The team at Zapwork, which is already experienced in the IT business field, is looking to raise a total of pounds 1.2 million, and is interested in hearing from investors who are willing to put up at least pounds 25,000. The first pounds 225,000 will give it the marketing budget to launch with a big splash.

"We only need a one per cent penetration of the online recruitment market to make a good return," says Mark. "The size of that market is at least pounds 500 million, it's massive.

"You've got to keep moving ahead regardless of what everyone says. You can get distracted so quickly, but you've got to keep that focus
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 14, 2005
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