Tinder co-founder backs viral Aussie job swiping app Getahead

Tinder co-founder backs viral Aussie job swiping app Getahead

Getahead CEO and founder Sam McNamara (centre) with Tinder's co-founder Jonathan Badeen (left) and founding team member Rosette Pambakian (right).

"There's no one I can't reach out to," says Getahead founder and CEO Sam McNamara.

The founder of a Brisbane-based job swiping app that has gone viral on social media says persistence was key to securing recent investments from Tinder co-founder Jonathan Badeen and the global dating app's founding team member and former head of marketing and communications, Rosette Pambakian.

With 35,000 job seekers joining Getahead in the last month and its viral interviews with everyday young people about their jobs attracting almost 350 million views in the past three months across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat, the startup has been slaying in what is often a staid and stuffy career marketplace dominated by legacy giants. 

Badeen and Pambakian have joined the Getahead advisory board after investing an undisclosed sum in the business as it gears up for a fresh funding round, adding to $1.2 million in capital raised previously with cornerstone investors including Michael Dempsey of Pipeline Capital and Queensland coffee icon Phil Di Bella.

They are topical additions to the shareholder registry given Getahead has frequently been described as a "Tinder for Jobs" since its beta launch at the end of 2022, with its dramatically different approach to job search striking a particular chord with the hospitality, retail and trades sectors.

@getahead.app You wouldn’t believe who we bumped into in Los Angeles ? #getaheadapp? original sound - getahead.app

Major hiring companies have joined the platform including Lorna Jane, Nike, Dominos, Samsung and Pizza Hut, attracted by its unique proposition that matches candidates with jobs in a way that is fun, fast and effortless.

Its vivid, engaging profiles allow individuals to directly showcase their talents, such as a barista sharing their coffee art or a retail worker detailing their customer service philosophy through video. It streamlines the application and interview process, getting the right candidates hired faster. 

"The employment landscape has changed and we’re meeting evolving demands of employers and jobseekers alike in a way that the legacy job search sites can’t," says McNamara, a two-time Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards finalist. 

"The incredible traction we've gained only cements proof that there is a huge demand for this product."

McNamara describes the business as currently pre-revenue, but sales have never been the immediate, short-term focus for the tech entrepreneur who has been far more dedicated to building a following, user base and reputation, with monetisation to follow in due course.

So how does such an early-stage startup get the attention of successful global tech leaders on the other side of the Pacific Ocean?

"I door-knocked Rosette for probably six or seven months...I just kept nagging, saying 'hey, I'm in town [San Francisco], can we grab a coffee?' I managed to get 20 minutes of her time on a Sunday morning before I flew out, and that turned into a two-and-a-half hour meeting," McNamara tells Business News Australia.

"She was so excited about the opportunity. It was an even bigger problem than I thought in the US to be honest - a lot of companies here will use Seek or Facebook groups or Gumtree even; over in the US they still seem to predominantly use Indeed, or have chalkboards out the front of their businesses.

"She saw the problem firsthand. Even the cafe that we were sitting at having a coffee had a board right next to us with 'Looking for bubbly staff' written on it."

McNamara says with the traction Getahead had experienced at that point of time in November 2023, it was sitting above Tinder in the App Store in Australia.

"We were above LinkedIn, we were above Snapchat, and we were literally a team of essentially four people getting hundreds and hundreds of millions of views," he explains.

After explaining to the Australian entrepreneur that she gets pitched to all day, every day about ideas and rarely jumps on board with one, Pambakian then took McNamara to meet Tinder's co-founder Badeen, and warned that he too is usually not interested in new ventures.

"But I managed to build a bit of rapport with Jonathan, had a bunch of meetings with him online, and ended up going over and spending a week with them, and they've managed to come on board, which is really exciting," McNamara says. 

The Australian company has already started with some TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat videos in the US, with Snapchat described as a "silent assassin that's doing really well" for Getahead. The plan is to set up an office in the US before the end of the year.

McNamara says with the help of Badeen, who built the revenue model of Tinder, Getahead has been testing its revenue model with new features set to be rolled out soon, allowing companies to filter based on different factors such as age, radius, working rights, keywords, and certain technologies.

"That's a really exciting thing for us to match people with exactly the talent that they're looking for as quickly as possible," he says.

"We've also got a video apply function that's coming shortly, and a lot of these features that will make the app work as efficiently as possible will be part of our premium model, but the app will always be free for people that just want to post a job or look for jobs as well."

When asked what recent experiences have taught him about entrepreneurship, McNamara says it's all about persistence.

"Michael Dempsey, one of the shareholders, suggested we go and meet with the founders of Tinder or the founders of Bumble, and I took that under my belt," he says.

"There's no one I can't reach out to. In the days where we've got LinkedIn and tools to help connect or get through to people, I made that my mission. Anyone is reachable and the knowledge is out there.

"That was the main attraction to reach out to Rosette and Jonathan and show them what we're doing and just ask for lessons that they'd learned to help us fast-track what we're trying to achieve."

McNamara adds that in Australia at the moment there is a lot of messaging around the environment being hard or venture capital and investment money being tight, but he doesn't buy in to that approach to business.

"It's booming fast. Our job-seeker market has never been stronger, our company market's tripling every month," McNamara explains.

"You've got to put yourself around the right people, and it's just refreshing talking to Jonathan and Rosette because they've been there and done it, and they see the potential at the end of this road."

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