Jobalo helps businesses and everyday people hire high quality, local students. Jobalo is great for placing entry level positions, such as local yard work or an internship.
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Product / Service Offering: High school and college student jobs
Co-founder Interviewed: Max Alway-Townsend
Other Key Management Team Members: Amit Kanwar
This article is part of our Business Startup Spotlight series featuring entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope that these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
I am a 17-year-old high school student from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My motivation behind creating this startup was because there was no large platform specifically for students to find various jobs. Students need some work experience at young ages so they can be prepared when they finish school. I have been involved in entrepreneurial activities of my own since 13, so creating Jobalo was an easy decision.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
I founded Jobalo in June 2016. The idea came about after two summers of looking for yard work, and then part-time jobs, and putting so much effort to get them. Many small businesses do not post their listings online. Most yard work help is not posted on Craigslist anymore. It was very difficult to find my initial jobs.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
We help businesses and everyday people hire high quality, local students. Jobalo is great for placing entry level positions, such as local yard work or an internship.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
We focus on the 16-22 age group only. We have part-time, intern, volunteer and contract jobs on our site.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
Technology is always hard to get out on time. We were about two months behind schedule on our iOS app, so in the end we had to delay a lot of features as we were just trying to launch. It ended up being fine, and we added on the extra features later.
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
We use all the normal “startup stack” tools: Trello, Dropbox, Slack, etc. Probably the more unique tools we use are Boolean for surveys and Yesware for sales emails.
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
We have raised $70,000 in pre-seed funding, and will be seeking a seed round in January 2018. If I could start over, I would have not launched an iOS app first. I would have started with a web app or something even simpler, which would have saved lots of money and time.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
I am not sure that I have had a hardest or biggest challenge. When running a start-up, you hit large obstacles just about every week. They all run together in importance and level of difficulty.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
We are working hard on user growth; however, we are about to launch our web app finally, which will fix that issue. We will be doing a lot more marketing these next couple months.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
Going out and speaking with customers has been extremely helpful. People really like supporting local, so at initial stages it is very important to speak with as many customers as possible.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
We are raising a seed round in January 2018 and will be expanding to 5 to 7 large cities in 2018.
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