What do you get when a former NBA player launches an applicant tracking system? Gotta listen to find out if Eddy has what it takes to survive Firing Squad or not.
Enjoy this Talroo exclusive.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
Chad: Hey, Joel.
Joel: What up?
Chad: Would you say that companies find it hard to attract the right candidates to apply for their jobs?
Joel: Well, Jobs2Careers thought so.
Chad: Jobs2Careers? You mean Talroo.
Chad: Yeah, Talroo. T-A-L-R-O-O.
Joel: What is that? A cross between talent and a kangaroo?
Chad: Haha, no. It's a cross between talent and recruiting.
Joel: Aha, okay. So it's totally data-driven talent attraction, which means the Talroo platform enables recruiters to reach the right talent at the right time, and at the right price.
Chad: Okay. So that was weirdly intuitive, but, yes. Guess what the best part is?
Joel: Let me take a shot here. You only pay for the candidates Talroo delivers.
Chad: Holy, shit. Okay, so you've heard this before. So if you're out there listening in podcast land and you are attracting the wrong candidates, and we know you are.
Joel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad: Or you feel like you're in a recruiting hamster wheel and there's just nowhere to go, right? You can go to talroo.com/attract. Again, that's talroo.com/attract, and learn how Talroo can get you better candidates for less cash.
Chad: You are a simple man.
Announcer: Like shark tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, and baddest startups through the gamut to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover, kids. The Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole other level.
Joel: All right. Been too long for Firing Squad.
Joel: Glad to be back. Chad, how you doing?
Chad: I'm doing awesome, man. It's nice to be home for a minute, right?
Joel: It is nice to be home. It is nice to be home. So we have a treat today on Firing Squad. We have a former NBA player, I think, which is a first for our show.
Chad: It is.
Joel: Travis Hansen, welcome to the show. Former Atlanta Hawk, BYU, overseas player, welcome to Firing Squad.
Travis: Thanks, guys. Chad and Cheese, happy to be here, man.
Joel: Travis is CEO, and I'm assuming, founder?
Joel: Of Eddy, E-D-D-Y.com. Who's your favorite Eddy, by the way?
Travis: Oh, my gosh. Christmas vacation Eddy, right?
Joel: Oh, yeah. Cousin Eddy.
Chad: Cousin Eddy.
Travis: Cousin Eddy was the best.
Joel: Yeah. I'm going to go Eddie Murphy for me.
Travis: I could do that. I like Eddie Murphy.
Joel: Chad's got some '80s song that he likes called [crosstalk 00:02:49] Eddie, or something.
Chad: Yeah, just popped into my head. Charles and, yeah. Charles and Eddie.
Joel: So aside from the NBA angle, what else should we know about you?
Travis: Oh, man. Born and raised in Utah, great parents. Mom was an amazing mom, died of pancreatic cancer when I was 17. Little brother overdosed prescription drugs. Gone through some hard things in my life. Wasn't always the greatest at basketball. I was athletic, I was tough, driven. But there's guys that are more athletic. I made it to the NBA, did a 360, and then I see Josh Smith do a 720, so I think a lot of things, when you work hard, good things happen, sometime great things, sometimes incredible things. Ended up playing for the Atlanta Hawks, and then went over to Rio, Madrid. Played for the basketball team over there. Lived next to Cristiano Ronaldo in Caca.
Travis: Ended up going to Moscow, Russia, met Vladimir Putin. They gave me Russian citizenship to play on the national team. David Blatt, who was a Cleveland Cavaliers coach, was my coach.
Travis: Retired, came home, and had a chance meeting with a good friend who started Nu Skin. He was a billionaire and he said, "You know what? What are you going to do with your life?" It was awesome. He looked me in the eyes, there was no one more important in the room than me at the time, which taught me a lot of cool lessons about someone that had been that successful. And he said, "Building businesses could be the most charitable thing you do if you do it the right way." And that's when I knew, after basketball, that that's what I wanted to do with my life.
Joel: My mom sold Nu Skin for about a week. She was on the train, baby.
Travis: Blake Roney, the founder, and he always says, "I'm a lotion salesman."
Joel: All right. She had it all, man. Shampoo, lotion, yeah. All that stuff. All that stuff. All right. Well, before we get into Eddy, Chad's going to run down the rules for the newbies out there, and then we'll give you the two minutes to pitch your product.
Chad: Okay, here we go. So you're going to have two minutes to pitch Eddy, and at the end of the two minutes, you're going to hear the bell. Then Joel and I are going to hit you with rapid-fire Q&A. If your answers start to ramble, Joel's going to hit you with the crickets, or maybe even the bell, who knows? And then we're going to just push you along, give you kind of the signal to be more concise. Who's eating stuff?
Joel: Not me.
Travis: Cheese. Cheese was eating.
Joel: It's not me, bruh.
Travis: It's the dog. The dog.
Chad: At the end of Q&A, you're going to get one of three grades, either big applause, which means you killed it, golf clap means you need to tighten your game up, that's my favorite. Or the firing squad, no! You should probably close up shop, pull out the drawing board because this shit's just isn't working. So that's Firing Squad. Are you ready?
Joel: And the guns are still fresh from our last episode, so no pressure, Travis. No pressure.
Chad: She got double-gunned.
Travis: Let's do it.
Joel: All right. At the bell you got two minutes starting ...
Travis: Eddy.com. We built a few different businesses, and used a lot of HR tech, and it sucked. It wasn't good. It was old, it was old technology, and we love, coming from the NBA, we know building championship teams is hard. It's much more art than science, and so we set off to make some killer software, cloud-based human resource management software that is designed for small, medium businesses, and it allows you to find and hire the right recruits, and then maintain them and keep them in your business.
Travis: Everyone knows that hiring is super-hard. It's hard to ... It's like dating. A couple read a resume, text, meet them twice and then you're supposed to know if you should marry them. And so we set off to build software to automate, to understand personalities and resume parsing, and make it fun. And we've hired, we've hid a couple Easter eggs in there. We hired eight engineers from Ancestry.com who are more than 60 years experience all together. And we think we can revolutionize the industry and build some killer software.
Joel: Now everyone ends this the wrong way. Where can we find out more
Travis: Eddy.com. E-D-D-Y.com. We launched, we basically been in startup mode for about, mmm, 14 months. We launched 60 days ago, we already put on, we're about 40 companies in 60 days that we've been able to put on our software.
Joel: You are fresh.
Joel: You are diapered and ready to go. Holy cow.
Chad: So these SMBs, these small and medium-sized businesses, are you
looking to try to take Eddy to the big leagues and do an uprise?
Travis: Yo, you look at Greenhouse and Lever, and they're the enterprise softwares out there, we're just as good. In fact, I think they have resume parsing and some, a little bit heavier reporting analytics, but that's not our mission, our focus. We want to be an all-in-one HR solution. It's really fragmented. You have to have an ATS, an HRIS, your own Zenefits, and then payroll. So we're bringing it all in one solution. So we will build what you need to have in each of those verticals, and have the best solution for a small, medium business. So our customers are typically, it's when you go to a breaking point because you're growing so fast, or you're so sick of the manually entry. You have 15 spreadsheets for every little thing that you have, and we bring it all in one.
Travis: So it's typically 50 to about 500 employees is when our customers start to look for a solution and find us.
Joel: So I can't get past the name. We talked to Myas and Olivias, and all kinds of female-oriented names. How did you come up with Eddy, and what were some of other names that got nixed?
Travis: Oh, man. We really wanted a female name, to tell you the truth. We worked really hard and tried to find a, there's a lot more females in the HR industry than there are males. But Eddy was, we loved Alexis and Siri, and so many people are naming their products names. Put it in Eddy or ask Siri, and we want Eddy to be that authoritative expert in the HR industry to help you do your job and make you a hero. And eddy, also, is a little whirlpool in the ocean. We, at our company, we all want to be surfers.
Travis: We office in Utah.
Joel: As everyone from Utah.
Travis: We office in Utah but our heart's in California at the beach, so our whole office is basically designed and decorated as if we were at the beach, so it helps us get through the Utah winters. And so an eddy's a whirlpool, an eddy basically goes down, grabs all the nutrients off the ocean floor and then brings them back up so it's a good ecosystem for the fish.
Joel: So should we be expecting a voice assistant, as well, in the future?
Travis: Absolutely. A lot of automation, a lot of AI. So in theory, Eddy helps you go find the talent, the A+ players, the PLUs, we call them the people like us that are driven, that are genuinely kind, that will make your business go from a garage startup to an enduring business that lasts forever, which every founder wants their legacies, they want their business to survive. And the only way to have your business survive is to continue to find great great people to work at it and run it, and help you. And so we, Eddy, specializes in going to find that talent.
Chad: Okay, so let's dig down deep into how. How does Eddy actually help companies source talent?
Travis: So it allows you to create a job post integrated with all these job boards out there, so it allows you to cast a huge fishing net to find the right talent so that you're just not manually posting to job boards. We do it in a very unique way. The key words, the characters, the templates, we really have taken an authoritative and expert approach in bringing in HR consultants to help you write the perfect job description, and to tweak it, and to be creative and innovate on that job description.
Travis: So we are a people platform. We are not just for the HR admin or for the co-founder, we're also for the candidate, to allow them to have a really quick, fast, mobile-friendly user experience. Most businesses don't even have a careers page. If you go to their website they don't even have a perks, or what's our business like, or what is it like to work there, who am I going to work next to, and all these different questions that candidates have. And so most companies just don't get to the best candidates quick enough with under 3% unemployment in the US, it is a competitive market. And if you don't have the right solution and the right systems and processes to attract this
candidate, you're going to lose.
Chad: So do you help every single client write all their job descriptions, because, I mean, we were actually just at an AI and automation summit, and one of the things that we talked about was garbage in, garbage out. And in most cases, the job descriptions that companies have today, are garbage.
Chad: So, yeah, they totally suck, and they've sucked for decades. So do you, is this a differentiation, where you actually get in there and say, "Look, the data has to be not garbage. It has to be good." Do you help every single company rewrite their job descriptions to be relevant to today, and also the requirements for that job?
Travis: We provide the tools for you to not copy and paste a job description and regurgitate the job descriptions that are out there. So we provide tools for you to innovate and create new job postings based on your culture, based on your business, that will attract the right candidate.
Chad: But it's up to HR to pretty much rewrite their shit, right? Because they just, in most cases they just won't do it.
Travis: Almost all of our companies, I would say 95% have all rewritten them and are tweaking them and testing them because they have the tools. I think before, historically in HR tech it's so old and it's so boring that no one has the tools. They have a ton of functionality.
Chad: What are the tools? What are the tools that you're providing them that they might not get in any other ATS type of platform?
Travis: So our chief product officer's Kenny Freestone.
Travis: Our head of the US is Josh Calloway, and our CTO's Greg Burgess. These three guys were the first employees. Greg Burgess was the second engineer at Ancestry DNA, which turned into an unbelievable company, organization to help a million people around the world connect to family members. And so they're very thoughtful in their process, number one. So a ton of research, a ton of beta users and understanding what works and what doesn't work, and what works with a candidate, number one.
Travis: Number two, user interface. It's a clean, organized, beautiful design that's easy to use, fast to use, and allows you to create a job posting really quickly, but also gives you enough guidance to help you be innovative, because most people, too many of us aren't. We're not creative, we don't know what words to use, and so we built the tools, enough to hold your hand and to help you down this path without being too authoritative, and not too back off.
Joel: Travis, it goes without saying that this is an incredibly crowded space, and listeners will know that big gorillas like Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, et cetera, are getting into the ATS market. ATSs, bigger ATSs are trying to figure out what are we going to be, were seeing acquisitions in the space, people trying to be a one-stop shop for employers. Curious, where do you guys fit in the whole universe of ATSs? What's your unique selling proposition to folks that you talk to, because I'm sure you're not the only ATS that they've spoken to. What does that conversation sound like with prospects?
Travis: Yeah, it's a great question. There's a ton of ATSs, some of them are good, some of them are bad, some of them are old tech, most of them are old tech. We are not going to be just an ATS-only product. And because, I don't think that's the small, medium business solution. We have four other companies. We need insurance, we need payroll, we need job tracking, PTO, and employee directories. I need an app as a CEO to notify me when someone's birthday and when they have a work anniversary. And I need it to be really easy to pop up and say, "It's, Cheese has been here four years. Do you want to send a funny, classy, or professional text to him?"
Joel: He needs a raise.
Travis: And do you want to give him a raise?
Travis: Too many companies are on paper. They're on filing cabinets, they're noncompliant. They just don't know the right way to run a business. And so there might be some ATSs that are better than ours, but ours is easy to use, it's plug-and-play, it's well-organized, it's a very, the process has been very well thought out. It's a simplified pipeline setup, so you have a 30,000 foot view. It's a drag and drop, so once you've posted your job and the candidate comes in, it's a drag-and-drop, and as you drag and drop, kind of like a Trello, there's a bunch of automated stage actions that happen in back, so they get emailed or text, and-
Joel: We actually mentioned the Trello look and feel when we were talking beforehand, yeah.
Travis: Yep, absolutely. Integrated job sites, posting job ads, integrated with current careers page allows you to have, to just be a little bit cleaner, a little bit better. Because sometimes, it's not that your business is so good, it's that your competitors and businesses are so bad, is why you win. My dad was pretty successful, he had an insulation company. Sold it for a little bit of money after my mom passed away from pancreatic cancer, and decided that he needed to spend more time with his family and his kids and be there for them after such a hardship. She was only sick for like four months, so it happened pretty quick. And I said, "How were you so successful in business?" And he said, "It's not that I'm so good, Trav, it's that everyone else is so bad."
Travis: And I think there's a lot to be said in HR tech that there are a lot of people that are bad at this.
Joel: You just highlighted the success of this podcast.
Travis: Right, it's not that Cheese and Chad are so good, I mean, there's some crappy podcasts, and there's some crappy HR tech, and if we can figure out a way not to be crappy, to rise about the noise and the crap and be an all-in-one solution, and be able to help companies create championship teams, championship cultures, and to maintain them. Because people change and seasons change, and the candidates change, and to have a process. We've been with so many companies that don't even have an interview guide. And we've built this amazing interview guide with libraries that you can customize. Because as you hire these admins and recruiters, there's just, companies don't have a streamlined, structured process to ask questions.
Joel: They might not have recruiters.
Travis: Might not even have recruiters, right?
Joel: Yeah. How much-
Travis: I mean, your sister was the admin and you're growing so fast that you need her now to take on recruiting, and they just are not trained. And also there's a lot of founders that don't want to hire an HR person. They don't want to pay the $50,000 to $90,000 for an HR person. They don't want the other stuff that comes with it. They want someone they trust and they like, and it's usually an admin, and administrator that's been there, and so they promote them to take this on. And they are not technically qualified. And that's where Eddy can step in.
Joel: Let's talk about the differentiator of price, which you did not mention, and you have pricing. You have a pricing page but there's no prices on the pricing page. Was that by design? What's your guys pay structure? And I'm sure you're aware that a lot of solutions have a free sort of lightweight ATS, and does that factor into the pricing model?
Travis: Our website's terrible. We barely launched, we're a startup. We just barely hired-
Chad: Strange to say, that is great.
Joel: I love that.
Travis: We just barely, so we've been so focused on engineering and product the last year and a half, just convincing the best engineers in the world and product people to work for a washed-up basketball player was hell. We did it, we have a killer team, and we're starting to have a great product. We hope over time, the next 12 to 18 months, it'll become world-class, and so our sights and minds have just turned towards marketing and sales in the last 60 days. So we went out and hired, after two years recruiting off and on, we hired the CMO of Purple, purple.com mattresses. He went from zero to 300 million revenue, brilliant guy. He just started a month ago. We're totally revamping the website. We're revamping our pricing and trying to understand exactly what our customers want, and so that is in the works, and we'll get a lot better at that.
Travis: But right now we're just, we're giving killer deals. We're like, "199 to 399, have as many users as you want, get on the system, test it out." Because revenue's important, it's the lifeblood of the company, but right now the lifeblood of the company is, let's build a world-class product, and we need people in it, using it, getting feedback to help us do that.
Chad: So customer acquisition. I mean, that's obviously key. You start looking at revenues and obviously making investors and even if it's bootstrap, everybody else happy because they're getting a paycheck. You have the Hired by Google's of the world who have three million companies who are already using G Suite, right? So they kind of have that baked-in base that they can get into. Where are you guys going? Do you have specific regions? How big is your sales force? What's the real focus on growth? Is it trying to grow nice and easy, and start small first? What is it? Or is it hypergrowth?
Travis: To answer your question I'd say I just got done attending Qualtrics' summit. Qualtrics is a survey company here based in Utah. Had Oprah come and speak. Oprah, I haven't heard from her for a while since her show, since she went to OWN network. Man, I'm a big fan of Oprah. Just a good-hearted, good human. Some of the stuff she said was just phenomenal.
Joel: Have you had her cauliflower pizza yet?
Travis: No. Gross.
Chad: Because Joel hasn't, that's for damn sure.
Joel: I refuse.
Travis: That's gross. Gross. I'm a man, I need meat on my pizza.
Joel: Oh, Jeez.
Travis: Oprah is, Oprah said she left her show, 25 million views, she had all these awards, Emmys, and she started her OWN network. And it was terrible. It started to do very poorly, and didn't have the views they needed, and producers were talking to her. And she said, "Okay. Let's stop trying to own the world, and hypergrowth, and get all these listeners and viewers that we don't have. Let's just focus on the viewers we do have." And so I think our approach is similar, that we're not trying to compete against all these other competitors. We're trying to take care of the customers we do have, give them the full solution to allow them to build an enduring company that lasts forever, and provide the software that allows them to do that.
Travis: And so I have no doubt we'll add customers. The customers we do add, we want to make sure we take care of them. So as far as hypergrowth, we do want to do a hero video, we do think when the marketing's been really boring, there's no solid brand, if anybody ever asks, "How do you do hiring recruiting?" They say, "Uh, Indeed. Uh, I think the ZipRecruiter thing", I mean, there's just no solid marketing brand that stands out in the space. And we hope, with some humor, some fun, and a lot of data and research, we can be that brand.
Chad: So you talk about Zip, and Indeed. How do you guys actually acquire candidates? Because you're talking about job distribution, and that's fairly standard for most applicant tracking systems. Are you doing anything from a programmatic standpoint, number one, and then number two, are you doing anything on the automated matching side of the house? We're seeing that with, again, the Googles of the world, and many of the other applicant tracking systems who are either partnering, or they're building that themselves.
Travis: Yeah, we'll partner. There'll be certain things we build ourselves. Anything we do we'll be A+ at. The things that we believe someone else can be A+ at, we will partner with them. So job boards are specifically one thing that we don't. We think Indeed, and man, KSL, and NewCo, and Glassdoor, and Google are really great at, so we've integrated those job boards. Now as soon as the candidate goes to a careers page, goes to apply, reads the job description, we want to own that. The first interaction, any type of experience with your brand, we want to own. And we want to own it all the way through, and not just an ATS, but onboarding. Onboarding is one thing that will take a little, we'll differentiate Eddy compared to, I mean Eddy versus all these other Breezy, Bamboo-
Travis: Yeah, Enboarder, Jobvite, blah, blah, blah, ApplicantPro, they suck at onboarding. And onboarding's such a critical piece to ensure that a candidate, now that they've accepted the job, they want to work for you, have an unbelievable experience, and then continue to have an unbelievable experience throughout.
Joel: Are you partnering for the onboarding experience?
Travis: No, we're building all that. So we will own recruiting as far as, as soon as a candidate goes to a recruiter's page, until they're hired, fired, or retired, right? So onboarding, benefits, PTO, HRAS, employee directory, payroll, we will own all of that piece. So ATS, the reason we started with the ATS is because it has low switching costs, it is really the starting point with your business. So as you start to grow you do need a careers page, you do need to have an unbelievable candidate experience and all these different things. And so we believe that's the starting point, and we will have a full all-in-one solution.
Joel: Curious about funding. You've mentioned some heavy-hitters that are on the team. Have you gone out and raised money? Is this all sort of NBA dollar-funded? Are you looking to go raise a series A? What does that look like for you guys?
Travis: That's a great question. So I've just been super-lucky to have good mentors, and I've had probably 10 coaches in the NBA. Four were incredible, three were okay, and three were average. I've never really had a really terrible coach, but mentor-wise in business, I've had some unbelievable. Fraser Bullock, Sorenson Capital, Bain Capital, Blake Roney Nu Skin, just been so nice to me. And so, and they're very capable, so we know that raising on the idea compared to the team, compared to actual product, compared to actual customers is way different, way different evaluations. So we have bootstrapped and self-funded all this. We have other companies, and so when I got done playing basketball I got heavy into real estate. I did not want to be an Antoine Walker. Poor Antoine, or some of these other guys that have just lost all their money. And so I went-
Joel: Pippen. Pippen.
Travis: Yeah, Pippen. I got paid for running ladders, and getting yelled at, and I can't run ladders and get yelled at anymore, I'm too old. I just turned 40. I just protect the asset, so we got into real estate. We own now over 500 multi-family units, and then we have a property manager company. After that, we got into FinTech, which now we have a business that does about 10 million in revenue and has about 40 employees. Then we did a couple seed rounds and kind of did some investing, and now we started Eddy and Sass. So we are funded, whether we, we don't have the capital of some of these other large businesses to compete with, but we have enough to build a killer team. And then be scrappy, and be frugal and resourceful, which'll, we think, end up helping us build a world-class product.
Travis: And at some point we will want to bring on a strategic partner for growth, but we need to identify so many different patterns before we bring on that investor.
Joel: Do you feel like you're at risk of being labeled sort of a hobby or a side project versus a committed business because you have a lot of fires out there?
Travis: No, because each company operates independently. Each company has a different COO that runs it. This is all I do, particularly with our nonprofit, spend like 5% of the time with that, because I still love helping people, and giving money away, and helping people's really hard. But 95% of my time, and our whole team, 100% of their time is dedicated to this product and this company, and that's how we've done with other companies. So we know that this is going to be a five-to-seven-year hard run to build a world-class product, and we're committed to that, so I mean, time will tell, right? We got to go play, and the lights are on. But I think you're asking, am I Dwight Howard playing for the Lakers, and when the lights come on, am I going to get traded to the Bobcats?
Joel: I think, my curiosity is, if we talk in five years, what does this look like? Have you moved on to other projects? Are you looking to sell the company? It doesn't sound like you're going IPO any time soon. I guess that's what I'm trying to get at.
Chad: And there's a ton of money being thrown around in this industry right now. We're seeing acquisitions pretty much left and right. So is this built to acquire, or is this built for a legacy?
Travis: Well, I think every business should be built for legacy. If you get acquired and someone comes and you end up being a good fit, then so be it, but Qualtrics just got bought by SAP for 8 billion, but no way down the last 16 years did they ever build it to be acquired. So we want to build it to be an unbelievable solution for a small, medium business. We want to be best friends with the founders that worked their butts off, that grinded, that saved money, that became a business somehow, and now they're in growth mode and they need solutions to help them continue to grow. So we'll be, to identify the market, Bamboo HR, GoCo and Eddy are the only three players on the whole market that are all in, all-in-one HR solution for your company.
Travis: So within five years there might be a few more, but we believe between Bamboo HR and Eddy, those'll be the top two solutions for your company.
Joel: Good enough. We know what that bell means. It's time to face the firing squad. Chad, you want to do the honors?
Chad: Sure. Sure, sure. Hey, Travis, appreciate you taking the time, man. Going to start out with, man, you are competing against some very big names. Hiring in HR, HRIS systems are a hard business, just because every company out there believes they're so much different than everybody else, and their hiring experience and their hiring process is so different, so it's like a customizable, kind of like a labyrinth that you have to get into. And then there's the whole process of prospectively spreading yourself too thin. Being just an applicant tracking system, or being just an onboarding piece, is there enough focus in certain areas versus trying to focus on everything. But you get points for saying your website sucks, because I was going to tell you that, but you told me before I could say it.