Interview With Adam Gellert, Founder of HiredHippo
Elevate is looking to feature Canada’s most promising AI startups on stage at this year’s festival through our ElevateR Pitch.
ElevateR Pitch is a March Madness-style pitch competition where Canada’s best AI startup companies compete for the attention of international media, investors and global tech leaders. Finalists from across Canada will face-off with over $1,000,000 CAD in funding up for grabs for select finalists. On Tuesday, September 25 at the Sony Centre, the final four companies will get to pitch live on Elevate Main Stage right before Al Gore’s keynote.
We interviewed the founder of HiredHippo, Adam Gellert, who is changing the way companies hire employees. HiredHippo has also applied to the ElevateR Pitch. Do you think they have what it takes to become a finalist? Read their story below.
Full Name | Adam Gellert
Company Name | HiredHippo
Where is your company HQ | Toronto
What year were you founded? | 2017
How many employees do you have? | 7
How many users do you have? | 200+
What problem is your company solving and how?
HiredHippo is changing the world of work one less resume at a time. We’re taking out the noise and friction that exists in both the candidate and job discovery process, by eliminating the need for resumes and job descriptions. HiredHippo connects employers directly with the right sales candidates faster than ever before. We align what candidates are looking to do next in their career with what an employer is offering. Using HiredHippo, companies put their brand in front of a recruiter’s network of pre-screened, pre-vetted sales talent interested in working for them.
Tell us about your lightbulb moment where you came up with the idea.
I’ve made it my life’s work to help companies hire better. Spending the last 15 years in recruitment has taught me a few things: Great people don’t need resumes to get hired, and companies need a better way to connect with passive job seekers. Recruitment agencies exist to align candidates to companies before entering the interview process, at a high cost. I wondered, ‘How can I give companies access to a recruiters network of candidates, automating the process to save everyone time and money?” That’s when HiredHippo was born.
What was the biggest challenge in your first year?
I think with any business, you need to be disciplined when bootstrapping to get to market. Transitioning from a service-based recruitment business to SaaS, I’ve had to understand what are the ‘nice-to-haves’ versus ‘must-haves’ when it comes to building a beautiful platform that adds value to clients in our minimal viable product stage. When you’re passionate and emotionally invested in your own product, it’s important to stay disciplined so you’re not burning unnecessary capital before you’re either generating revenue or can prove to investors why this is the next best thing.
What was your turning point?
When you’re building a business, there’s times where you feel like the whole world is only on your shoulders. Don’t believe you have to figure out everything on your own. There are many people with experience who have tried, learned, failed or succeeded before and are willing to lend advice and offer their expertise to assist you in your journey. Seeking advice or support is something you should never shy away from in the process, and something that has helped me immensely with HiredHippo.
What is your biggest challenge today?
HiredHippo uses a proprietary graphical-data algorithm to fuel it’s artificial intelligence. It was made by our own team of data scientists, so it has required lots of trial and error, iteration, and patience. Technology is complicated as it is, but when you’re building something from scratch, it’s required the team to be very solution-minded when unexpected problems arise. Keeping everyone motivated through this process can be a challenge, but I think at the end of the day when you’re connected to something with purpose, you can discover solutions to any problem.
Best advice you’ve received:
I’ve taken pieces of advice throughout my career but what has always stuck is that with focus, passion and determination anything is possible.
Worst advice you’ve received:
I get told this all too often “Don’t work too hard”. To me it’s not work when you love what you do, and I am invested in this because I believe our team is working towards something incredibly special.
Best perk of your job:
Every day I get to work with the people I love, and together we are all working on a challenge we’re passionate about. That is the ultimate goal of building HiredHippo. We want to help the world hire easier, help people discover jobs faster, and build a culture of people innovating with purpose.
Your latest tech discovery:
Ever felt frustrated going back and forth with someone trying to book time for a meeting? I have, until I discovered Calendly. It’s technology that makes scheduling appointments hassle-free, for me it’s been a game changer!
One piece of tech from your childhood that you miss:
Sometimes I miss the simplicity of what technology once was. I get nostalgic thinking about playing SEGA, or NHL 96 growing up as a kid.
One thing that excites you about the future of tech:
I’ve seen a lot of great tech companies emerge that allow standard, mundane tasks to be automated with AI, giving people more time to add their human value to the workplace. I think we should all be excited about the time AI will allow for people to continue innovating and building.
Your advice to the next generation of startup founders:
I’ll leave the next generation of startup founders with 3 of my beliefs:
– Don’t let the opinions of too many people deter you from pursuing what you believe in.
– If you’re in it just for the money, don’t do it.
– Surround yourself with people who make you better every single day.
What are you most looking forward to at Elevate?
I think Elevate is an awesome way to discover what’s on trend and see how companies are disrupting industries. It brings together a large group of likeminded individuals, and provides a platform that enables networking, great conversation and collaboration. This will be my second year attending, and I’m very much looking forward to being there.
Join us September 21-27, 2018 in Toronto to be a part of a diverse and inclusive community at the forefront of innovation. Buy your tickets here.