Before CVSeeMe.com, Keith Chaplin-Mabbutt fronted one of the UK’s leading online graduate recruitment consultancies, selling the business in October 2009 to a multi-million pound turnover group.
In January 2010, he successfully raised a six-figure angel investment and assembled a multi-million pound shareholder syndicate to officially launch his third business, CVSeeMe.com. CVSeeMe.com was the first UK job site to utilise the concept of ‘video profiling’ in the online recruitment process.
Chaplin-Mabbutt is a panel expert for the Guardian and is also a partner and investor in a new training and development company that specifically helps entrepreneurs secure business funding.
Q: Describe what CVSeeMe.com does?
A: CVSeeMe.com is a web-video enabled recruitment advertising service. It gives recruiting companies of all sizes from any industry sector the chance to promote both their business and work opportunities immediately to our online job seeker community comprised of millions of individuals spanning all experience levels. CVSeeMe.com does however, specialise in attracting entry level, graduate talent nationwide.
Q: What makes CVSeeMe.com stand out in the market? What is your USP?
A: CVSeeMe.com is the only graduate recruitment website that provides both a video service to businesses to promote their company in addition to their advert; and uniquely, gives job seekers the opportunity to create a 60-second video profile or “video CV” to assist their text-based application.
Q: How did you fund the business?
A: Before bringing CVSeeMe.com to market, I was running a graduate recruitment consultancy that I had funded myself in addition to a small lending facility from our appointed bankers. Having conceived the idea for CVSeeMe.com back in 2007 it was in 2009 that I decided, post R&D, that it was time to get the website ‘out there’. In October 2009 I managed to successfully sell the recruitment consultancy to a £1m turnover group company and during the following few months I put together an investment dossier for CVSeeMe.com before going on to meet with a handful of interested angel investors. These meetings saw me formally present the CVSeeMe.com concept to these individuals and successfully go on to raise six-figure funding.
Q: What have some of your biggest challenges been so far?
A: First off, it was the realisation that I was now running an IT services business, rather than a recruitment company. We do not get involved with the arrangement of interviews and certainly don’t have a hand in any appointment decisions. Things I was used to when running the recruitment consultancy. An even bigger challenge for me has been managing a multi-million pound shareholder syndicate. Our shareholders are all very well respected business people. The dynamics of our business however, has meant that on occasion there have been differences in opinion on our development strategies and as managing director I’ve had to bring these valuable thoughts and suggestions together to decide on the best route forward.
Q: What is it like being your own boss? Are there any downsides?
A: Well, it’s not for the faint-hearted. Being your own boss comes with immense responsibility. It can be fantastic, despairing, exciting, worrying, fun, stressful; the list goes on. A downside I suppose could be that it can be lonely. You may have friends or loved ones that get up and go to work, mix with their colleagues during the day, share their evenings and weekends and engage in general ‘office banter’. You, on the other hand; may wake up and have a day ahead working entirely alone. However, this is not necessarily a downside; being the boss can be a genuine thrill - it’s a privilege.
Q. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs currently starting a business?
A: Check your attitude before anything else. Do you really want to be an entrepreneur? Do you know what it means to be an entrepreneur? If yes to all the above, are you then prepared to work tirelessly to make this work? If yes again, it bodes well. Generally, sit down and make a check list of all the things you can think of that relate to your business idea. Appraise yourself. Identify your strengths and question any weaknesses. Then ensure you have a road map. Concentrate on your plan and the execution of it. Work backwards. Have building blocks to what you determine as ‘success’. This might be an exit, acquisition, or your first £1million in sales. Whatever it is, try to map out your plan with your end game in mind.
Q: What are your plans for the business moving forward?
A: I’ve recently concluded successful negotiations with the UK’s largest portfolio of specialist job sites, Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment, the digital arm of Trinity Mirror PLC. We are entering into a joint venture agreement with TheGraduate.co.uk to immediately launch our newly combined ‘Graduate Solutions Channel’. CVSeeMe.com will link its service offering with TheGraduate.co.uk, which is already a well established brand in the graduate recruitment advertising space, to provide recruiting companies of all sizes leading graduate attraction and engagement solutions online and across video, mobile and social media. Going forward, CVSeeMe.com is now part of a large and growing digital multi-platform media group and I’m looking forward to a strong future for the business.