Ever had an idea that you were irrationally obsessed with? A brainchild so brilliant, it held the key to solving a big, hairy audacious problem, yet left you wondering: how do I start?
Olivia Dyet found herself here. Then she decided to apply to Startmate’s Launch Club program. In a whirlwind of weeks, she validated and breathed life into her idea for Empathix, an AI-powered recruitment platform, and secured a highly coveted spot in Startmate’s upcoming Accelerator cohort.
Here’s her extraordinary journey.
The story starts with an idea and a leap of faith. “I always knew that I wanted to build something in the HR tech space that would make the talent acquisition process easier for organisations and candidates. When I applied to Launch Club, I thought that it would be a really good place to start to refine my idea, test if it would work, and see if I could grow it. It took me a couple weeks to find a product-market fit, but this was really where Empathix was born” Olivia shared.
In Launch Club, Olivia hit the ground running. Within the first few weeks she had a Facebook group with 400 members and had refined and tested the solution she wanted to build – an AI-powered platform that connected businesses to great talent in under a week. She then met her co-founder who had built a similar solution but needed someone who understood the HR space. With that, she discovered the final piece of the puzzle.
“Currently, the average time it takes to get someone from vacancy to interview is 4 weeks, and this costs small to medium businesses about half a million dollars every year. This is a particularly painful part of the recruitment process and something I experienced in my 15-year career” Olivia said, elaborating on the problem.
“We wanted to see how we could solve this problem in a way that was effective, efficient, and didn’t compromise on quality. We believed that if we could solve this problem, we could get good people to good businesses to do epic work. This is a space that we as founders are deeply passionate about and so we developed methodologies using AI to deliver high-quality candidates in a week and at a lower cost” she continued.
When Olivia started her journey with Launch Club, she wanted to test 2 things: if she could build something, and how quickly she could build it.
Reflecting on her experience, she said “I knew that I wanted to build something that could change an industry but I didn’t know how. I needed guidance and that’s what Launch Club gave me. After every session I would do a lot of research, testing, and get feedback.”
In week 3 Olivia was convinced that she wanted to pursue her vision for Empathix, and every session after that was focused on refining and growing the idea. Launch Club gave her the platform to connect with a wide variety of mentors and customers who gave her advice, feedback, and increased her surface area for luck to strike.
“There were three buckets of people in Launch Club that I could see: the first were people who knew they wanted to found something one day but didn’t know what it was; the second were people who were working on their business and needed help taking it to the next level; and the third were people like me who had an idea, were not sure if it could work, and wanted to learn how to scale it. With each of the streams it is up to the people to understand how they can fit the program to their business and build connections. The community will 100% help, but the biggest thing that has helped me is being able to share what I was working on and get the validation and feedback I needed”, Olivia shared.
Launch Club also helped Olivia address questions she had about entering the world of start-ups: how could she balance being a founder with being a full-time mum? What if a bigger company copied her idea? She asked these questions at the first session with Icehouse Ventures Venture Partner, Lane Litz.
“Lane is someone I really relate to. When I asked my questions, she broadly said two things that really resonated with me. First, you have to have the motivation to drive for your problems and solve them, and not many people do. That immediately made me feel better because I know that I don’t quit and that is something I can do. For balancing life with kids, she said ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’ and that was just what I needed to hear to say yes to following something that I really believed in” Olivia said.
Through the program Olivia made the most of every opportunity that Launch Club offered. She used the squad and coach systems to hold herself accountable and reached out to the community for one-on-one feedback sessions. She also learnt how to appreciate the progress Empathix had made, something she confesses she wouldn’t have done otherwise. The journey has been an exercise in vulnerability and courage, which Olivia builds on every day.
“I don’t think I could ever fail at this because to me success is trying. So, to me, as long as I try, I am successful. When people come up to me and say that they have an idea I tell them to just try, because what do you have to lose? Nothing!” she said.
Olivia’s hard work has paid off in spades. In week 7 of the Launch Club program, she and her co-founder decided to apply to Startmate’s accelerator, knowing it was the next step they needed to take in their journey as founders. The application was comprehensive and competitive, but they were successful and will soon be starting in the next cohort.
“The speed has been something I’ve had to get my head around. I am so excited and genuinely grateful to get this validation from the community, that they believe in what we are building” Olivia said about Empathix’s recent achievement.
Empathix’s vision is to be a global solution in the talent acquisition space. If their growth in the last few weeks is any indication, I believe we’re witnessing the start of a truly revolutionary company.
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