Click here for Part 1 Building recruitment pathways between students and employers to improve hiring outcomes Matthew Longley is the CEO and co-founder of Visable, a hiring platform that helps companies better target and recruit college students. Visable was one of six startups AccelerateBaltimore, an annual business accelerator program, selected for its 2015 class. The company launched shortly after the program ended last spring. Offering services for students and recruiters alike, Visible aims to disrupt the job fair model of student employment by improving speed, searchability, and level of interaction for people on either side of the hiring process. The platform allows students to create profiles, identify their unique skills and experiences, and access an otherwise unreachable network of employment opportunities. EDWIN WARFIELD: How would you describe the experience of being involved in ETC’s AccelerateBaltimore program this year? MATTHEW LONGLEY: ETC has been a phenomenal experience for us. We came into this not being entrepreneurs and not really understanding what that meant. We learned very quickly, but a lot of what we learned in our first eight months we learned the hard way. Once we started spending time at the ETC, and ETC ran our AccelerateBaltimore cohort—and we’re still members to this day—our learning curve changed significantly. We are exposed to people there: the program staff at ETC, but also the companies they have in residence, some of the alumni companies. You can tell it’s effective because the alumni companies come back and spend time there too. And it has absolutely changed the way that we learned about startups and the way that we operate as a startup. We’ve gotten everything from sound financial advice to programming advice to questions about the way that we present our message. The ETC’s been just an incredible resource on that. We did AccelerateBaltimore in the spring of 2015. It was a very fascinating project. We’re not entrepreneurs by nature—we’re entrepreneurial—but we had no experience coming into this. I was a management consultant for HR functions, Charlie was a management consultant for the finance industry, and so when we first approached this we were very heads-down. We said “this is our project, this is what we’re going to execute on” and along with Ben, who’s our lead developer we just sort of started building stuff. We did conversations with recruiters and conversations with students and career centers, but we didn’t really talk to anyone within the startup space, which looking back now I think is one of the biggest mistakes we made when we first started. AccelerateBaltimore was really the first time we sort of poked our heads up and said, “What else is going on in the Baltimore tech community, and who else can we learn from, who else can we have conversations with?” Really, it’s been one the most significant differences in where we were a year and half ago and where we are now. The Baltimore tech scene is absolutely fascinating. It’s on fire right now. We have a really strong network of small companies that are just getting going and then we have a number of large companies that—OrderUp is the perfect example right now—large companies that are getting national attention, that are pulling in significant revenue that make them not just a great company for Baltimore but a great company for anywhere. And so, when you have that mix but still a focus on the new development on small companies, it’s a very inviting place as an entrepreneur. What do you think of the entrepreneurial community in Baltimore? Baltimore, and Maryland in this area in general, has a focus on higher education that is rivaled by nowhere else in the county. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re here. It’s one of the reasons why we decided to launch our company here, but also obviously it’s directly in our space. But even looking outside that and looking at other type of talent that you have coming out of the school systems here, who are now deciding that they want to stick around—I mean, whatever the opposite of a brain drain is—people from here, but there are also people moving here who either were brought here by the school system like me and loved it and decided to stick around, or who came here for opportunities and realized that there’s an incredibly growing and vibrant young professional network.
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