Our Evenbase Journey

Photo

Yesterday, we announced the acquisition of Jobrapido, one of the worlds largest Job search engines which adds to our fast growing portfolio of global “Digital Talent Acquisition” businesses at Evenbase.

I thought I’d update my blog with the journey we have made so far, giving you some “behind the scenes” insight into our thoughts and actions along the way. For some great strategic insight about the fit between Evenbase & Jobrapido, please refer to Felix’s excellent blog “Why Jobrapido?” at www.felixwetzel.com

Our passion for Job search engines started in 2001 when Manpower (who were one of our shareholders at the time) introduced us to Flipdog.com, a Utah based startup, who had built some groundbreaking technology to scrape employer websites for job content. Graham, Nick and I took a trip out to Salt Lake City and we spent a few days staying at Robert Redford’s “Sundance” getting to know the team. Their software was very exciting but we soon realised that they had some way to go when we entered the room where the “anomalies” were processed. We were greeted by about 50 part time, college students who were manually processing the vacancy data. They sold out to Monster soon after our trip.

We immediately launched the “Black Widow” project (2001) to make sure we had the scraping technology in our grasp and set a watching brief to see how the engines would pan out. After Flipdog, job search engines were everywhere and soon they were in Britain scraping our own sites and delivering huge content feeds to candidates. There was one problem though, duplication. Candidates were being sent the same jobs day after day. This needed to be solved.

In 2010, I noticed Jobrapido making very good progress across the globe and sent our M&A representative, Stephen, out to Milan to speak with their CEO & Founder, Vito (who I’d managed to track down). A few days before Stephen arrived, Felix sent me an email (I was in the States) telling me how interested he was with Jobrapido. Great minds were thinking alike and I put him in touch with Stephen to join him in Milan. Felix came back really impressed and so we all got talking. It became apparent that there were only really two truly global players in this space and wherever Jobrapido went, they swiftly grew enormous traffic. Jobrapido were amassing 100’s of millions of candidate visits per year and had become the number 1 player in many countries.

Anyone who has bought or sold a business will know how complex deal making can be. It took us 18 months to acquire Jobrapido and we were in and out of exclusivity periods throughout. Trying to buy a company that was doubling in revenue before our very eyes presented us with a real challenge. We got there in the end and the day came last week when we would ink the deal. Damian, Felix and I flew to Milan separately as I was in the States. It’s not an easy town to get to from the U.S and so my journey was about 18 hours. I arrived in the hotel at 10AM exhausted and without much sleep. As I started to unpack, the phone rang – “Keith, it’s Felix, we are downstairs and Vito’s picking us up in 15 minutes to sign the deal”. I quickly dived into the shower, got dressed and shot downstairs. Three hours later we were celebrating with Vito & Bjorn in a restaurant five doors down from the lawyers office. The deal was done and so nothing was going to stop us from eating Milanese fish and chips!!

Evenbase has made no secret of it’s global ambitions and this week we demonstrated that, with our acquisition of Jobrapido. As you’ll see from Felix’s blog, it’s a perfect strategic fit for us but what I am looking forward to most is working with Vito and his incredibly bright team to help us shape the future of digital recruitment. For us, the future is a multi channel approach utilising social, mobile and web. We are getting there fast and have some more big news for you soon. Watch this space.