Hired .com raised $150M to take over the online recruiting industry.

We raised $10M.

Then we went to battle, head-to-head.

Here's the story (and a few critical lessons learned):
I founded Vettery in 2012.

Our goal was to bring the recruiting market online.

We relied on machine learning and a two-sided online marketplace to facilitate interviews at scale. Image
But we had one thing standing in our way.

A competitor with:

• 15x more capital

• 10x more employees

• a 2 year head start

Hired .com
Hired started in 2012, based in San Francisco.

They had an impressive founding team, raised $150M (at a $500M+ valuation) and had a staff of 300+ people.

They had a brand name EVERYONE knew.

They were positioned to win the entire market. Image
But their biggest strength cost them everything.

Having 15x more money eventually led to their downfall.

More money doesn't mean you win.
Vettery and Hired were both two-sided recruiting marketplaces.

We both had to acquire employers looking to hire (B2B sales/marketing) and candidates looking for jobs (B2C marketing).

Candidates + Employers = Marketplace
Qualified employers and candidates were on-boarded into our system.

Then the technology and learning algorithms suggested to employers which candidates could be a fit. Image
Employer and candidate growth was the name of the game.

The more qualified employers and candidates acquired, the faster your marketplace grew 📈
Marketplaces are better businesses when they get bigger (think eBay, Uber, Amazon).

That's because network effects get amplified.

This makes online marketplaces ideal for "winner take all" strategies.
Hired was growing hand-over-fist from paid ads.

Paid ads worked extremely well on social platforms, mostly Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The good news:

→ Ads were HIGHLY scalable (easy growth).

The bad news:

→ Ads were VERY expensive (high Customer Acquisition Cost).
Ads were the closest thing to drugs for Vettery.

Intoxicating, but we couldn't afford them.

Ads cost us almost as much as our revenue 🙃

That made it impossible for us to build a long-term profitable business with ads.

We needed another strategy.
Without the $150M Hired had, we had to get creative.

We settled on 3 tactics:

• Guerrilla Marketing

• Outbound Lead-Gen Marketing

• Outbound Sales via SDRs
Guerrilla Marketing

We came up with clever ways of getting companies to talk to us.

One of the best: physically mailing out a drone helicopter with a note to call us for the free remote control. Everyone was calling for this!

In one year, we shipped over 20,000 helicopters.
Outbound Lead-Gen Marketing

We built a team of marketers tasked with emailing qualified prospects.

We were converting with double-digit email response rates and using those leads to feed to our Account Executives to onboard clients.
Outbound Sales via SDRs

We built a team of Sales Development Reps tasked with cold calling and messaging qualified prospects.

We were making over 100 calls/day/rep and ended up scaling this team to over 100 people.
These strategies drove down our acquisitions costs by 10x.

Two structure advantages emerged due to this:
1. Vettery's service was cheaper

We had unlimited hiring subscriptions, which increased demand.

2. Vettery was less dependent on outside capital

Hence the 15x less capital raised.

Meanwhile, Hired was playing a different game.
Hired was running the traditional silicon valley playbook:

Raise a lot of money and spend it at any cost to acquire customers. Do that enough, and you win.

But we knew this wasn't sustainable.

So we bunkered down and slowly chipped away.

Then Covid happened.
Vettery was able to weather the storm and grow sustainably.

Meanwhile, Hired ended up running out of capital during Covid as companies slowed hiring down.
In 2021, Vettery acquired Hired and we changed our named to Hired. You can now find us at Hired.com.

I hope this threads helps other entrepreneurs.

I’m currently in stealth with my new startup.

Follow me @adcock_brett for more on startups and building companies, and like/retweet the first tweet below:
A few lessons learned that may help you:

• Large fundraises don’t guarantee success

• Disciplined operators win

• If you lack capital, lean on creativity and grit

• Play the long game

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More from @adcock_brett

Sep 24
My last company went from $0 to $2.7 billion in 3 years

Every weekend I spend my time planning

I use this simple 5-step exercise:
1/ What are the highest impact items to focus on?

2 years from now, what new actions TODAY will help the company achieve its maximum potential?

Write these down. Reprioritize.

Then go into Monday, discuss with your team, and execute like SEAL Team 6
2/ How can we de-scope and move faster?

Moving fast means you are learning more per unit time

This forces you to stay focused on the key company priorities - there's no time for bullshit

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I’ve built companies for two decades.

One sold for $110 million.

Another did a $2.7 billion IPO.

5 powerful lessons I learned along the way:
1. Execution isn't everything

Execution is critical.

But execution isn’t ALL that matters.

Your idea is the seed of success. It impacts:

• Hiring

• Raising capital

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To build something big, swing at big ideas.
2. Speed matters

Time kills companies.

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The faster you learn, the faster you iterate.

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The companies that win move fast.
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Sep 12
In 2012, I founded an online recruiting marketplace.

In 2018, I sold it for $110 million.

Here are 7 lessons to help you build a 9-figure company:
I founded Vettery in 2012.

My goal was to bring the recruiting market online.

We relied on machine learning and a two-sided online marketplace to facilitate interviews at scale.

It worked extraordinarily well.
Vettery grew to hundreds of employees, 30,000 hiring companies, and learning algorithms that matched 20,000 interviews per month.

In 2018, I sold Vettery to The Adecco Group, the world's largest recruiting company, for $110 million.

Here are 7 lessons from that experience:
Read 14 tweets
Aug 22
🧵Things I know at 36, I wish I knew at 20 👇
1/ The rules were all made up.

The world was created by people who are no smarter than yourself.

You, one person, can shape the world in incredible ways and technology enables this.
2/ Creating wealth is a lonely business.

Wealth creation comes from having a contrarian view of the world, not the consensus.

This often means the masses will believe you will fail. Don’t let the masses deter you from your internal belief.
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