Meet our Premium Member Ranjit de Sousa – Co-Founder of FOUND
Please tell us about FOUND.
Over the course of our careers, Georg Hirschi, my co-founder, and I have partnered with hundreds of organisations globally to solve their talent and workforce transformation challenges. We’ve been involved in placing and coaching millions of people in jobs at all levels in organisations and in all types of businesses. That’s why we know the recruitment process is stuck in time. It hasn’t changed in 200 years despite the world of work changing at pace. It’s simply not working for people looking for their next opportunity, nor for those hiring. Employers are struggling to find the talent they need to grow their business in a digital world whilst most talented people are unhappy in their jobs, ready to move for the right opportunity but frustrated by tedious job processes and their applications going into black holes.
That’s why we’ve set up FOUND to lead the revolution in hiring. We’re turning the recruitment process on its head and having top employers pitch their opportunities directly to the very best talent.
We started FOUND in October 2022, went live with our MVP at the beginning of March and currently have a core team of nine people, spread out between Zurich, London, Amsterdam and Wroclaw.
Tell us more about your plans for 2023. What is your long-term vision?
As we refine our service offering to make sure it offers an exceptional experience for both talent and those hiring, we’re focusing on matching top product managers with companies in Switzerland looking to take their product to the next level. By the end of the year, we will grow this coverage in Europe and expand our talent community to include not just product managers but also designers, digital marketers, and customer experience experts. Beyond 2023 we’d love to take this revolution in recruitment globally so that everyone can benefit from a hiring model fit for the world we’re all living and working in today.
What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?
Having had such an amazing response from top talent in the market and signing up great innovative, high-growth companies to our platform in such a short period of time has strengthened our belief that the appetite for hiring differently is huge! This early validation of product/market fit has also helped us hire a strong core team at FOUND. A team with great experience, a shared belief in the value of our proposition and a commitment to building something truly different and impactful. Oh, and the enthusiasm and resilience that all startups need!
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?
When working with external suppliers, whether that be agencies or freelancers, I’d make sure to be explicitly clear about what the expectations are. I’d agree on metrics and measures of success and where possible, work with partners that have prior experience working with startups. Time upfront clarifying the purpose of the work, aligning on outcomes and review points will reap rewards later.
What motivates you to continue your business every day?
I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact great careers have on people’s lives. But I’ve also seen how often careers get stalled and waylaid by poor hiring processes and decisions. Knowing that FOUND can play a role in tipping the scales in the right direction for talent and companies is rewarding, motivating, and energising. The feedback we get acts like fuel for me and the FOUND team to push ahead.
One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?
Focus on building a strong product or service that solves a big problem for your customers. You and your team may think you have a good idea for a business that sounds brilliant in a pitch deck and is really unique but unless your target customers perceive it to be a real solution to a burning problem they have, it simply won’t gain traction in the market. Listen to their feedback, iterate, and keep improving your product in line with what customers want, value and will pay for. Don’t rely on a hunch or instinct but test, listen, iterate and repeat this cycle often.
What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association?
It means being part of a vibrant community of diverse Swiss startups committed to seeing their innovations make an impact whilst supporting others to turn their ideas into successful businesses too.
Would you recommend joining the Swiss Startup Association?
Absolutely! Having access to a network of people who truly understand the journey you’re on is invaluable. Being able to share stories, experiences and ideas with others who just get the life of a startup sparks different ways of thinking, gives you a different kind of exposure and inspires you in the challenging moments isn’t something that’s on tap elsewhere. It’s a unique group that can really help accelerate your growth- both personally and that of your business.
Have you ever visited the events of the Swiss Startup Association?
I’ve not yet had the opportunity to attend any events, but my co-founder Georg went to one recently hosted by startupticker.ch that he enjoyed and found useful, particularly in terms of connecting with people further into their startup journey than us. I have signed up for some of the scheduled ones coming up and am looking forward to meeting other members there.
Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you would like to share with us/the community?
It would be remiss of me not to say that if you’re looking to hire top product talent for your business and you want to join other forward-thinking companies in trying a better way of hiring then get in touch. Other than that, I look forward to meeting many of you in person over the coming months.
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