It pays to understand the people behind the company, in this case Matthew de la Hey, co-founder of inploi, in order to understand the corporate ethos of the company.
Coming from South Africa, he understood first-hand the unfairness of life and wanted to make a difference.
“South Africa is a very complicated place, as well as a very beautiful place, with one of the most unequal societies in the world. Growing up there and being exposed to its inequalities instilled in me a strong sense of social justice.
“I think if we are to survive as a society, we need to address how capitalism works. Capitalism needs to adapt, and we need to level the playing field and create opportunity for all.”
Part of that vision led de la Hey into becoming a council member of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism last year. He sees capitalism as being an extraordinary economic system for growth and innovation, but this vehicle needs to be harnessed for everyone; otherwise, society will buckle under its own weight and the inequality it produces.
“We need to build more equal, more productive, happier, healthier societies, rather than a race to bottom where some people get very rich and a lot of people have nothing. We need a more inclusive, more sustainable approach, that considers all stakeholders and upholds a social contract.”
de la Hey is also a sometime poet, and during the lockdown, he set up Ozymandeus, a literary platform publishing submissions of creative writing from everyone. He is self-deprecating and says this Covid project was really only a cover for him to publish some of his own poetry.
His own career trajectory was to win a scholarship to Oxford after studying accountancy as an undergraduate, where he did a Master’s of Science in African Studies followed by a Masters of Business Administration. The irony of moving to the UK to study Africa is not lost on him. Looking for summer work whilst couch surfing between his degrees, he found that it was very difficult to find and apply for jobs using the internet. Together with friend Alex Hanson-Smith who’d had shared experiences, and still couch surfing, they decided to really evaluate why online hiring methods were not working, for job seekers or for companies. That was in 2016, and they both decided this was more than a problem, it was a business opportunity.
Some have called inploi – Shopify for hiring, with its front-end solution – and Software with a Service approach – providing a new shop front to enterprise hiring. Rather than trying to disrupt the HR tech sector, they have set out to harmonize it. inploi began life as a software marketplace for hiring, modelled on the platform Linkedin. Over time and during Covid, they realized that the user experience for the candidates was just not working.
“The Covid pandemic could have been the end of us,” said de la Hey. “But we made it through, and part of the lockdown experience was the realization that so called ‘low skilled’ workers are in fact essential. Coming out of the pandemic the labour market has been historically tight, and companies did not have the technology or the expertise to navigate that. Fortunately, we’d spent the last few years developing those things.”
Realising that a big part of the problem companies face comes down to outdated talent attraction technologies – especially ineffective for reaching millennial and GenZ audiences- inploi moved from building a marketplace to creating a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for large employers. inploi integrates with existing back-end systems to transform the way companies reach candidates and convert them into hireable applicants.
The brands working with inploi are companies such as the Compass Group, Butlins, Wagamama, and Haven.
“We’ve done a lot of work optimising traditionally clunky application flows: hard to navigate, opening in multiple tabs, not working from a mobile phone, asking for CVs to be uploaded where they’re not needed – I could go on and on. The candidate experience is frequently awful. How and where companies advertise their jobs is often just as backward. inploi fixes this, streamlining everything from where to how candidates are attracted with a focus on conversion all the way through the talent funnel – from first contact with a job seeker to the point of hire – built on our own industry-leading tracking and analytics infrastructure.
Back in 2016, the company raised seed funding to build the first MVP. This year, they have secured £1.35 million to accelerate their growth. The funds will be spent on growing the professional sales function, investing in marketing, and to continue product development. Currently, the majority of the clients are headquartered in the UK, but they are expanding, with big clients such as the A.S.Watson Group, into Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Italy, and Switzerland.
“We are a technology company and so we’ll always be building. The market moves so fast and we’re committed to staying at the forefront of that, supporting our blue-chip clients. There is always room for innovation.”