Creating a resume is a process most people need to go through when looking for a job. Amid a sea of resume tools available on the internet, CakeResume allows users to easily build a more interactive online resume, or an “online personal brand,” as founder Trantor Liu (劉君羿) calls it.

The drag and drop editing tool provides 50 snippets for users to build a resume that best presents themselves. Multimedia elements such as photos, videos and charts can also be easily placed into a personal page. CakeResume is currently available in English and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

Liu, 26, was previously a staff web developer at another Taiwanese startup but quit last March to work full time on CakeResume. It is one of the startups showcasing in TechCrunch Disrupt NY this year.

The News Lens spoke with Liu to learn more about developing CakeResume as a one-man team and what future plans it has.

TNL: What inspired you to start CakeResume?

Trantor Liu: At first it was to solve a problem of my own. I wanted to create a web page about myself but I couldn’t find a good tool. There are a lot of resume tools available but they are very limiting in content — usually only work experiences are included — but I wanted more freedom. Other than showcasing my expertise, I wanted to display information like my interests, my photography or video work. Something more like a personal website, but that would be too complicated, so I developed a tool that was somewhere between a resume and a personal website for users to easily create their own online personal brand.

TNL: You mention that you wanted to share personal information other than work experience in your resume. How and when did you start thinking about this?

Liu: The first version of CakeResume was actually my last work before graduating from college. The current version is very different from the first one. The prototype back then was simple; it was like a Google Doc, only it published as a stand-alone webpage.

TNL: Why did you decide to quit your full-time job to work on CakeResume?

Liu: After starting my first job, I would use my free time to work on CakeResume. I posted an early version of it on Product Hunt (an online platform that shares the latest mobile apps, websites and technology products), and got over 260 "up votes." It was among the top three products that day.

Before sharing it on Product Hunt, the website would get an average of under 10 visitors each day, but afterward, the number grew to 50. I thought it was a pretty good opportunity because it showed that there were people who believed this service could help them. That’s why I quit my job to work on CakeResume full time.


Photo Credit: Taiwan Startup Stadium

Founder of CakeResume, Trantor Liu.

TNL: How many registered users do you have so far?

Liu: We currently have 50,000 registered users, but before I quit my job last March there were only around 3,000. Fifty percent are based in Taiwan.

TNL: What are the difficulties you have seen in developing CakeResume?

Liu: Probably how to get more users overseas. Though the marketing I have done so far, like posting on Product Hunt and Hacker News, have targeted the overseas market, CakeResume has still mostly received Taiwanese media coverage, so my main traffic source is still Taiwan. I do get occasional boosts in traffic from other countries, but not a lot and it hasn’t been growing fast enough.

TNL: How are you funding CakeResume?

Liu: With my savings.

TNL: How do you plan to make revenue?

Liu: We launched our advanced version around three months ago and have been making some revenue there. We currently also have over 1,000 job listings from 150 companies posted on CakeResume. Most of our users are on a job hunt so we are providing job listings. Our core value is the information of each user. This is something we can sell companies, so we’re letting companies post jobs listings for free now to attract more users to expand my talent pool. In the future, we plan to charge companies to search this pool.

TNL: What are the additional features of the advanced version? What features do you plan to add in the future?

Liu: With the advanced version you can create an unlimited number of resumes. You can also use all of our 50 resume snippets for free. (Currently, only 30 out of the 50 snippets are free.)

As for future plans; I don’t have any ideas for the editor function yet. The most I will probably do is fix some bugs or make some tweaks. But lately I have been thinking about what I want this product to be ultimately. In terms of being an editor tool, I want it to be something equal to Google Docs but it's not only going to be for building resumes. In the internet era, you probably need more multimedia elements if you are creating an online document, which is hard to layout with Google Docs. If I can optimize CakeResume to be as stable as Google Docs, then it will be the editor of a new generation. Some of our current users don’t use our service to build a resume, but use it for creating a product introduction or a company analysis report because you can include charts or slides with CakeResume. It’s a more interactive online document.

TNL: Who are your competitors or potential competitors?

Liu: There are actually a lot because there are so many resume tools. But those are just resume builders. The resumes created with CakeResume are more like one-page personal websites. It’s a different kind of tool that allows users to include a lot of multimedia elements. This helps users, like hair stylists or fitness trainers, to present their features more easily.

TNL: What are your expectations of TechCrunch Disrupt NY?

Liu: I’m looking forward to finding potential business partners. For me, be able to find an investor within such a short time frame is unrealistic. Of course, I can build connections, but the top priority is to find business partners. The other would be to gain international media exposure.

TNL: What kind of business partners are you looking for?

Liu: For example, there’s a company called WayUp, a job listing site for college students. It might be possible for them to integrate CakeResume into their site so that students can apply for jobs on their platform after using CakeResume. So an ideal business partner would probably be companies that offer online job listings.

TNL: How do you think the government could better support startups?

Liu: The advantages of launching a startup in Taiwan is that daily expenses are very low. Lawyer and accountant fees are also inexpensive, and these are more beneficial to startups that have limited funding. We also have organizations, such as Taiwan Startup Stadium, that provide useful resources for expanding overseas. The disadvantage would be the lack of investors.

What the government can do to help is amend the Company Law. Under the current law, startups usually have to open an offshore company to receive money from investors. But doing so is very expensive, and is a challenge for startups only looking for a small angel investment of around NT$3 million to NT$4 million (US$99,500 to US$132,600).

The News Lens was sponsored by Taiwan Startup Stadium to attend TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017.

Editor: Edward White