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[zz]New York Startup OneWire Goes After LinkedIn, The Ladders


ONEWIRE is a novel take on job networks

ONEWIRE is a novel take on job networks

Founders: Skiddy von Stade
What it does: OneWire is a novel take on job networks, focused on the finance industry. OneWire is entirely recruiter facing, and uses structured data and a referral incentive system that allow it to guarantee filling any vacancy in finance within a few days. Read more about how OneWire works here.

How it’s going to make money: OneWire charges recruiters $15,000 per license.

Investors: 67 individual investors ($17 million)

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New York Startup OneWire Goes After LinkedIn, The Ladders


Nick Saint | Jan. 29, 2010, 11:52 AM | 3,522 | comment 8

Photo from linkedin's office

With over 50 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is the unrivaled king of job networks. But New York startup OneWire — premised on the idea that LinkedIn has it all wrong — is rapidly establishing itself as a recruitment tool for Wall Street firms.

67 investors have bet $17 million that it knows what it’s doing.

OneWire now has over 40,000 "candidates" (that is, individual accounts rather than firms) signed up, but president Brin McCagg tells us that isn’t a number he cares about. The service’s strategy for growth is entirely focused on recruiters. OneWire has 61 firms on board, including, he says, "just about every big bank you can think of."

The company is generating revenue by charging firms $15,000 for accounts. The company has just begun signing these firms up (it was free at launch), but already one firm likes OneWire enough to pay up for 11 licenses.

Why would a bank pay $165,000 for this? Essentially, there a three ways in which OneWire is different from its competitors:

  • OneWire works almost exclusively with "structured data". Candidates provide lots of information about their education and employment backgrounds, but all of their responses — down to job title and specific responsibilities — are selected from a discrete number of possible answers. So no search engine — in the web sense — is needed; recruiters set what they’re looking for and how heavily to weight each criterion, and the service returns the candidates that match most closely.
  • OneWire is entirely confidential. Unless they specify otherwise, candidates’ profiles are never made public. When a recruiter does a search, she can see a list of profiles that matched her criteria well, but can’t see the profile or get any further information about the person. Instead, she can email matching candidates about the job and request that they reveal themselves.
  • OneWire uses a bounty system to produce better results. Recruiters who don’t find a candidate they love in the first iteration of their search can set a bounty on the position. They then send this information out to good — but not good enough — candidates. Whoever refers the person ultimately hired can collect the bounty — without ever revealing herself. If referred candidates still aren’t good enough, they can be offered the bounty themselves, and a new wave of referrals comes in.

This last feature is why McCagg isn’t worried about candidate numbers; if the right person for a job isn’t signed up already, they are still accessible to recruiters through OneWire; good candidates are likely to know great ones, and they are happy to help when there is a cash incentive. McCagg says he will happily refund any recruiter who can’t fill a position in finance within a matter of days, after a few iterations of referrals.

We sat down with McCagg and looked at this process in action from the recruiter’s standpoint. It really is quite impressive. McCagg thinks it will kill off headhunters, sites like LinkedIn, and applicant tracking software (and more — McCagg hints that ultimately, jobs represent only 20% of the revenue OneWire could generate) all at once.

It’s hard to predict that kind of success for any startup. But as OneWire expands into other industries, we can say this: if it this company doesn’t succeed, it will be because other recruitment services are doing a much better job than they are now.

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