Business Startup Spotlight: Monikl, Inc.

Monikl

Monikl is often called the dating website for finding a job. They match candidates to careers based on skills, personality, and workplace preferences.  Personality and workplace preferences create a happier employee, which creates much lower turnover and less training and re-training costs.

Monikl

Co-Founder, Zachary Senz-Kamler

Name:  Monikl, Inc.

Location:   Tampa Bay, Florida

Website:  http://www.monikl.com/

Product / Service Offering:  Candidate and Career Matching

Co-founder Interviewed:   Zachary Senz-Kamler

Other Key Management Team Members:  Ken Pomella

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.

My name is Zachary Senz Kamler, and I am the CEO of Monikl, Inc. I am originally from South Florida and moved to Tampa for college. I am 22-years-old and already have over 10 years of experience in the staffing industry.  You’re probably thinking, “wait a minute, he would have to have started working at 12 to have that much experience”. You are 100% correct. My parents own businesses in this industry, so I grew up working at those businesses in various roles. When I moved to Tampa for college, I began working at another large staffing firm called Tri-State.

The current methods for finding jobs or hiring employees are outdated and inefficient. This really stood out to me. Job boards are no more advanced than a virtual cork board. While staffing agencies are more than willing to do a lot of the work for you, their expertise comes with a hefty fee. Since they only get paid when they make a placement, recruiters do not always have your firm’s best interest at heart. We created Monikl to fix these issues.

Monikl is often called the dating website for finding a job. Why? We match candidates to careers – whether a part time job, contract work, or full time career – based not just on skills, but also on personality and workplace preferences.  Personality and workplace preferences create a happier employee, which creates much lower turnover and less training and re-training costs.

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Signing up is simple and takes around 10 minutes. You create a profile, answer some questions and upload a resume and optional picture. Then you will be alerted to matches, as they are made, without the need for searching. Instead of seeing hundreds of jobs, you will get 3 to 5 quality matches. This profile can be updated as needed and will follow you for life or until you disable it.

When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?

I first thought of the concept towards the end of 2015. It was after 11 PM one night on Alligator Alley as I was heading back to South Florida to visit my family for the holidays. My friend, Ken, who later became my partner, and I did some initial research on the concept. We quickly realized no one else out there was doing this. Therefore, we started building an early prototype.

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By mid-2016, Ken and I decided we were serious about the concept and began building the Monikl platform, which we beta launched in January 2017.  We officially launched in March 2017 when we also rolled out our mobile apps. Our first market is the Tampa Bay area.

What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?

Finding a job can be a full-time job. As a job seeker, if you go on a job board like CareerBuilder or Monster, you must search through what seems like endless postings and apply to each one individually.  You can also list your resume and hope to be “found.” The average job posting gets so many responses that statistics show an employer only spends approximately 7 seconds reading each resume. 7 seconds is not enough time for anyone to showcase themselves. Over 75% of applicants never hear back from the job postings to which they apply.

Monikl

Employers really don’t have it much better. Their choices are:

  1. Use a job board where they face the same endless searching model as job seekers
  2. Post a job and hope a quality candidate sees it and applies (often called “post and pray”)
  3. Use a staffing agency and hope they can refill the position if the hire leaves within 6 months.

Turnover, even when using a staffing agency, is exceedingly high in today’s market.  This is partially due to bad matches made, based solely on skill sets. Employers can also try LinkedIn or other social media sites, but the results are often the same (bad matches, high turnover, high costs of training new hires).

What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?

Monikl is a one stop shop for all your hiring or job finding needs. We match candidates more efficiently and more accurately by using our technology to analyze skills, personality traits and workplace preferences to make matches.

Companies only pay a fee if we place a direct hire candidate at their company, and we are usually 4 to 6 times less costly than a staffing agency.  We are also able to payroll temporary and contract workers. Job seekers use our platform for free.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?

Rather ironically, especially for me with my background in staffing, is that our biggest challenge was hiring the right developers to help build our platform. At the time, conventional hiring methods limited us, so we got a firsthand look at how desperately this problem needs to be addressed in the market.

What resources have you utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?

BizSpark is a Microsoft initiative that gives startups free web hosting, along with access to other Microsoft products, for up to $750 a month. Additionally, you can apply to upgrade to BizSpark Pro which offers additional free web hosting for a longer period.

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 only raised our Friends and Family round of investment, and stopped this round when we were ready to hire developers.  Several said they would prefer stock as payment. Now that our product has launched and has an initial user base, we are seeking our seed round of funding to use for marketing, sales and growth.

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What questions have you had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?

There were always resources available when we looked for them, whether it is mentors, YouTube, or getting accepted into the WaVE accelerator program.

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What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?

We have 9 people on our team now.  Since I graduated college in May, I’ve worked full time on Monikl.  I have one part time paid intern. Everyone else on our team works full time and donates their weekends and nights to building Monikl. Getting funding will help solve the issue of needing more manpower.

What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?

In the early stages of starting a company, you need to work efficiently. Prioritization is key. A variety of things will pull you in many different directions, and there’s never enough manpower or time in the day to handle everything.  This is when automating or outsourcing a task is the smartest move. Then you can move on to the next task. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?

If you’re looking for a new job or need to hire an employee, please sign up at Monikl and give us a try.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Are you familiar with other startups you believe should be spotlighted?  If so, we would like to hear from you.  Tell us about them in the comments below!


Sandra Sloan

Sandra has previous supply chain and business operations experience which she is leveraging as an author with FundingSage focused on spotlighting entrepreneurs and their startup efforts.