Alex Hanson-Smith, co-founder & CPO of inploi, joined us for dinner with The Food Corporation recently, when they spoke on the topic of succeeding in the FoodTech industry. Here’s what Alex had to say about his company, inploi.
What’s the elevator pitch for your business?
inploi is an on-demand jobs platform that makes staffing in hospitality smarter, cheaper & more efficient. Our web & mobile apps connect job seekers with suitable roles allowing them to get hired, get paid & get reviewed.
What were you doing before you launched your company?
I worked for Ogilvy & Mather in Hong Kong providing digital strategy for brands across Asia-Pacific.
If you have co-founders, where did you meet them?
I met Matt (my co-founder) a few weeks after returning to London from Hong Kong. Matt is South African and had just completed a MBA at the Said Business School in Oxford. After many coffee-fuelled late nights of researching and brainstorming we decided to pursue inploi full-time.
What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?
We tried to save time and money by having our technology built in South Africa, with a twist of irony this ended up costing us time & money. Coordinating the build with a team you have never met in person on the other side of the world doesn’t work. Getting your technology stack right is essential and cutting corners will come back to bite you. We were fortunate enough to learn this lesson relatively ‘cheaply’ and have since brought on Chris – our CTO – who has allowed us to get to a place where we have complete confidence in the security, scalability & agility of our technology.
What will the rest of 2016 bring?
Launch! We launched the iOS & Web version of our platform in early July with an Android app following soon after. We are lucky enough to be working with some brilliant clients including Deliveroo, Bill’s, Daylesford & You Me Sushi and have been overwhelmed by how many job seekers have pre-registered to use inploi.
One piece of advice for someone starting a business in your sector?
Get a co-founder. I am in awe of anyone who starts a business on their own. Having someone standing next to you in pitches, sitting opposite you in the office at 3AM (this happens a lot) and picking you up when you are down is invaluable. You don’t need to be best friends (in fact, it is probably better if you aren’t) but you do need to be equally committed and able to be entirely honest with each other.
Convince someone to use your product/service in under 50 words
inploi will change the way staffing works, forever. Employers post jobs, for free, from wherever they are. Job seekers apply with a virtual resume with a video introduction. Employers view matches, hire the staff they like, pay short-term staff via the app and provide feedback. Job done.
What’s your favourite startup in your sector (not including your own)?
Well, if by sector you mean hospitality, I think Pronto is pretty cool. It is an online food delivery business with a great (and reasonably priced) menu. All their ingredients are high-quality & sustainable.
What’s your favourite London restaurant?
Barrafina on Frith Street, Soho. It is the best Tapas in London.
What’s your favourite meal?
I am part Danish so I have been brought up on smorrebrod or ‘open sandwich’. My favourite is with thinly sliced rare beef and crispy onions.
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