It’s no secret that referrals are one the best long-term options for your company’s hiring, but it’s often difficult to manage and pull off seamlessly. If your company continues to make unsuccessful attempts towards incentivizing internal referrals, you should consider Boon. The internal referral technology uses a unique matching algorithm to create the most comprehensive referral program for any company. With years of experience starting other other companies, the founders know what it takes to hire, build, and retain a stellar team and are committed to making sure you attract optimal talent through their platform.
LA TechWatch chatted with founder and CEO Dakota Younger about the Startup and the company’s most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Our investors were a collection of Angel investors who have pooled together $600K in Seed funding. We still have our convertible note open with a remaining $400K, which we plan to close quickly.
Tell us about your product or service.
Boon is a game-changing internal referral technology that helps companies hire the best talent in their organization’s networks. Powerful matching algorithms do the heavy lifting of identifying candidates and engaging the right employees, custom rewards and gamification inspire action, and deep integrations and stats dashboards provide clarity and integrity to a referral program – rendering referral recruiting the most cost-effective recruiting strategy for any company.
What inspired you to start the company?
I founded two successful recruiting firms in Los Angeles area before starting Boon. While operating those firms, my teams and I hacked together a system that would automatically identify candidates in their expansive networks, therefore creating an automated referral machine that delivered results. I quickly realized that this could be applied to companies referral programs and sought out to build a perfect solution.
How is it different?
Boon is different than most referral solutions in a few ways.
UI/UX – In order to get the kind of adoption needed to create a high-performing referral program, you need a seamless and engaging user interface. Boon has spent an exhausting amount of time and effort into perfecting the design of the platform, which has resulted in unprecedented adoption and usership.
All matching algorithms are not created equal – Boon has incorporated the expertise of many recruiting experts, data scientists, and machine learning technology to create an unequaled matching bot.
The “desk-less” workforce – It is common for Silicon Valley to be narrowly focused on the problems of Silicon Valley instead of looking outward. Boon, partnered with companies like Red Bull, have built a mobile referral app for the desk-less workforce. This application allows employees who more strictly use mobile and work in distribution or field sales to send highly-qualified referrals who would not otherwise be identified. This application has huge potential in healthcare, construction, entertainment, and retail industries.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Ultimately Boon is designed to be a ubiquitous recruiting disruptor across all industries and verticals. Globally, the recruiting industry is valued at $457B and growing 10% year-over-year. Our more nearsighted go-to-market strategy has us targeting the U.S. market specifically in industries like technology, healthcare, retail, and entertainment.
What’s your business model?
Boon follows the tried and true B2B SAAS model. Most of our revenue comes from monthly or annually paid subscriptions for use of the platform. We also gain revenue from integrations and services.
Why are referrals the most important method of hiring?
Referrals are the most effective source of hire; that debate is over. This is backed by a mountain of data showing that referrals have shorter hiring timelines, better hiring ratios, lower cost-per-hire, better job performance, and overall better return on investment. The real issue is how to hire referrals at scale. This is where Boon comes in.
What was the funding process like?
Fund raising is a full-time job. You have to play the long game in building relationships, countless phone calls and coffee meetings, and a hardened confidence because you will be rejected… a lot. The good news is that you only need a few people to “yes”.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Making the right connections. Ironically, investor matching is similar to recruiting in that referrals are the most frictionless way to find people who you can build a trusting relationship with. It took a lot of grinding effort, but we have built a strong network of supporters over our two years in this endeavor.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Recruiting is a universal problem. Our investors know this and they’ve felt the pain personally. They invested in us because they believe we have the right resources in place to change the dynamic and we have the metrics to prove it.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Some of the big milestones over the six months include the launching of our mobile referral app, reaching $1M in revenue, and opening up our series A round.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Start relationship and community building long before you need to raise a round. When you’re first starting out, make a deck and ask for a lot of advice. Find smart and connected people and get them involved. Get good advisors that can open doors for you. Treat fundraising like a sales process.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term we have a lot of exciting things going on. We plan to make some key hires to our development and design team. We are also launching a mobile referral app optimized for desk-less workforces. Look out for more on that soon.
Do you prefer hiking or surfing in LA?
Hiking for sure. We are from Alaska and New Hampshire, surfing is a bit foreign to us.