Adzuna is a search engine for UK jobs, property and cars. The company was set up in 2011 by Doug Monro, formerly of Zoopla and Gumtree, and Andrew Hunter, who also worked at Gumtree before moving to Qype. Adzuna trawls 1000s of sites to list every job, property and car into a single classifieds search engine. It incorporates social search by connecting with LinkedIn and Facebook, allowing users to map their friends to find, for example, where to live. The site also generates huge amounts of data, which can be sifted through with tools such as price and salary comparisons.
Founders: Andrew Hunter & Doug Monro
Launched: July 2011
Funding: Backed to the tune of £800,000 by Index Ventures, Passion Capital & The Accelerator group
What problem do you solve?
Job, property and car ads are fragmented and too complicated to navigate. Users want to search all the ads in one place, which is what we provide at Adzuna — a one-stop shop. We then make the search experience better and empower our users to find the right ads for them, by layering on innovations in social and data.
How do you plan to make money?
We make money already by referring traffic to certain jobs, property and car sites that we list, and from contextual advertising. Ads are listed for free in the organic index, with companies and portals having the option to buy premium listings which they pay for on a cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-acquisition (CPA) basis.
Who do you view as your competitors?
There are a number of other vertical search engines that aggregate content in a similar way, but we’re taking the market to the next level by bringing innovations in social and big data to bear. Some sites are very US focused or solely job driven or are simply out-dated. Indeed.com are a large US job search engine who we think are doing a reasonable job, but they lack the social layer. Trovit cover jobs, property and cars, but their product is thin.
How many employees do you have?
Ten. Management and marketing are in South West London and our core development team in Athens, Greece.
Where did you get the idea for the business?
Through our experience at Gumtree, Qype and Zoopla, we were deeply involved in the online classified ad market and with the maturing world of social networks and big data, spotted an opportunity to create a next-generation vertical search engine in early 2011.
How would you sum up your company ethos?
Build a great user experience. Keep focussed. Make your mother proud. And all employees must wear flip-flops if the temperature is above 20C.
What’s the biggest misconception about your business?
That we’re a portal where you can post ads (like Monster or Gumtree). Adzuna is a search engine (like Google).
Can you express in some tangible terms how the business has developed?
We’ve grown from a team of two to ten in under a year with employees from the UK, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Sri Lanka. Traffic is booming, we have about 50 paying customers in the UK and revenue is growing 50 per cent a quarter, pushing us rapidly towards profitability. Our next big step is international expansion, we plan to start to expand globally in 2013 which is incredibly exciting but a huge challenge.
What has been the most challenging time for the company?
Since Andrew and Doug aren’t techies, and building a search engine is a massive technical challenge, putting together a crack squad of engineers to get Adzuna off the ground on a shoestring was tough. It took us a while to find the right “founding developer” for Adzuna and we were starting to stress that we might have to settle for expensive (and not brilliant) contractors and freelancers.
How did you overcome that?
We managed to track down George Karpodonis (one of the sharpest developers in Europe, who’d we worked with before at Gumtree), and after kidnapping his family and employing a number of Jedi mind tricks we eventually persuaded him to quit his job and join us. George built version one of Adzuna and has hired an A1 team around him in Athens to build an increasingly awesome product.
Do you have any advice for dealing with potential investors?
Be honest, open and make sure you can deliver a clear elevator pitch (what you are doing, why it’s interesting and how you’re going to make money) in less than 30 seconds. If you are fortunate enough to be able to choose investors, make sure you go with people you trust, your interests are aligned and you trust each other, you’re likely to be working with these people for a number of years through good times and bad.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
If you want to build something massive and amazing, get something small and cool out there that people can use and play around with as soon as possible. Don’t be precious about version one, it’s not going to be perfect. Getting early feedback (from real people, not your mum) is absolutely critical.
Which business person do you most admire and why?
Steve Wozniak — the brains and technical genius behind Apple’s success and much of computing as we know it today, who did it with integrity and without self-promotion.
What is your biggest barrier to future success?