Ten Questions: Smartcasual

Ten Questions: Smartcasual

What you need to know

The News Lens International’s 'Ten Questions' series takes a closer look at the budding start-up scene in Taiwan and further afield.

A new Asia-focused job-search platform utilizes social networking and encourages companies to showcase their company culture and values rather than provide only job description and salaries. Hong Kong-based Smartcasual, founded by Ignacio Martin and Takeshi Hui, aims to help job seekers find the perfect workplace where they share the same values and are willing to commit to the company’s goal. The co-founders believe a perfect workplace match will benefit not only the employee and the employer but, ultimately, the company itself.

The News Lens International (TNLI): Can you briefly describe what the company does and how it makes money?

Takeshi Hui: Smartcasual@Work is a social recruiting website that helps companies showcase their vision to attract passionate candidates. We make money offering technology to companies with features that use social networks.

TNLI: When did you come up with the idea for Smartcasual?

Hui: We started off doing a professional networking mobile app. At the same time we found that genuine human relationships are the key to building strong business relationships. However, when it comes to the relationship between companies and job seekers, current HR [human resources] technology solutions are not really up to standard for offering authenticity and transparency that connects the two interested parties. So, we built a place where companies can easily communicate their vision and work culture to attract passionate candidates.

TNLI: What is the current company status, including the scale, employees, customer numbers of Smartcasual?

Hui: Our company is at the seed stage, and is a startup. We see rapid growth on job seekers joining our website, as well as companies enquiring us about our services. In the first two months of operation we already have over 100 applicant companies in Hong Kong.

TNLI: What is the target market in terms of demographics and locations

Hui: Our focus now is on Asia, and Hong Kong is the first place to start.

TNLI: What makes Smartcasual different from other existing job-searching platforms?

Hui: Our platform is not a typical job board that focuses on the job description. Rather than attracting job seekers through extrinsic value like money or benefits, we focus on intrinsic values like believes and passion. Businesses are run by people, and we would like to bring more transparency between companies and job seekers. As our features roll out, that will be evidential.

TNLI: What have been the biggest challenges, both personally and professionally, of founding the company?

Hui: The biggest challenge is the limited resources that we have. We have a million things that we want to do, but a limited amount of time and manpower to do it.

TNLI: What have been the biggest success stories to-date?

Hui: Our biggest success is the speed. From ideation to product launch and to a real company hiring people through us only took about three months, and of course, our clients were very happy about that.

TNLI: How much has been invested in the business to-date, and when does it expect to be profitable?

Hui: We are hoping and expecting to be profitable very soon. [He wouldn't disclose how much money has been invested].

TNLI: What are the company’s most exciting upcoming products or plans?

Hui: We’ll have more and more exciting opportunities listed on our website. In near future, there will be a dedicated service especially for internships for students.

TNLI: What does Smartcasual hope to achieve in the long-run?

TH: Our hope is to have everyone find their dream job and a great team to work for through our web service, and to slowly grow into other professional fields like online learning and B2B relationships.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole