Firing Squad: Willo's Euan Cameron
Video recruiting is red hot right now. All the kids are doing it, which also means only a few will get to sit at the cool table at lunchtime. Which leads us to Euan Cameron and Willo, a spunky startup from Scotland who thinks they can bring video to the masses. Automation? A.I.? Machine learning? Nah, that's not the play. Instead, free forever and an aggressive integration strategy are at the heart of this company. Sounds nice, but will it pass the Firing Squad?
Gotta listen to find out.
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Oh yeah. You know what the guns means? It's time for another Firing Squad. What's up everybody? I am Joel Cheeseman out of the Chad and Cheese podcast, joined as always by my faithful sidekick Chad Sowash and today, we are pretty excited, pretty excited to welcome Euan Cameron of Glasgow, Scotland. And he's also co-founder and CEO of a startup called Willo. Euan, hopefully I'm saying that correctly, how are you?
Euan (1m 28s):
Hi Joel. Hi Chad. I'm good. Thanks. Thanks for the intro there. I'm all good.
Joel (1m 33s):
I mentioned Scotland, but give us sort of a quick Twitter bio on you and we'll get to the good stuff.
Euan (1m 40s):
Sure. So living in Glasgow, being in Glasgow for 15 years, my background is actually in digital marketing and Willo will be my fourth startup. Co-founded Willo with a good friend of mine, Andrew Wood, and he's based in Manchester.
Chad (1m 55s):
Excellent. So who do, who were you cheering for during the Euro 2020? Were you in the Glasgow's square with an Italy flag?
sfx (2m 5s):
All things Scottish are crap.
Euan (2m 8s):
Well, obviously it started sponsoring or supporting Scotland, but that obviously didn't last very long. And then I actually controversially switched my support to England.
Chad (2m 19s):
I'm surprised they didn't kick you out of the country.
Euan (2m 23s):
Me too. Yeah, no England got my support so it was quite tense Sunday night for me and my household. Actually. What about you guys?
Chad (2m 32s):
Joel was rooting for Italy or for England because he has to.
Joel (2m 38s):
I'm genetically required.
Chad (2m 39s):
Some bullshit genetic 23 and me match that nobody gives a fuck about. And I've had several Italy jerseys because you know, they do soccer well. So I thought England was going to win though dude, it was a whole match, they had the easiest, they had an easier draw, I mean they had an easy throughout the entire thing and the keeper came up on the Italian side. That was just amazing.
Euan (3m 8s):
Joel (3m 8s):
Chad has a lot of Italian jerseys because he lives right by a Puma outlet mall. So don't make him think that he's some big Italian, he's Italian Jersey wearing because it's 75% off at the outlet. That's why Chad is wearing
Chad (3m 23s):
And they look good. Blue looks good on me.
Joel (3m 27s):
All soccer jerseys look pretty good. All right, Chad, tell him what he's won here on the firing squad.
Chad (3m 35s):
At the end of two minutes, you will hear that bell then Joel and I will hit you with rapid Q and A. If your answers start to ramble or you get boring, Joel's going to hit you with the crickets, that's your signal to move on and tighten up your game. At the end of Q and A, you will receive either a big applause. That's right. Prepare for launch baby. This rocket ship is going up. A golf clap. You're on the launch pad, but you're gonna need more elbow grease to get this baby into the sky or last but never least, the firing squad.
Chad (4m 22s):
It's a failure to launch, pick up a blue pill and try something different. That's firing squad, baby, are you I'm ready?
Euan (4m 29s):
I'm ready. I'm ready.
Joel (4m 31s):
Only the cheap scotch for you. If you get the guns Euan. In three, two, ding, ding, ding.
Euan (4m 38s):
So Willo is a one way or asynchronous video interviewing platform to help organizations hire candidates remotely at scale in significantly less time. As we know, the traditional hiring process typically takes multiple rounds of interviews and screening before a decision is made on new to hire. What's crazy is that each interview typically takes 15 minutes to schedule, rarely has any structure, and there's a huge opportunity cost for both the candidate and the employer. We also know that traditional interviews by their very nature discourage applicants from even participating. Candidates dread the interview because they've been asked into an office they've never been to before, to sit in front of someone that never met and ask questions have not been asked before, all whilst lying to their current employer by going to a dentist appointment.
Euan (5m 23s):
So we decided to change all of that and give candidates control with a remote friendly virtual interview process, which can be completed anywhere. With Willo people answer questions and record video in their own time to create the most enjoyable interview experience ever, no scheduling, no travel and no stress. One of the key ingredients of Willo is our focus on device and browser compatibility. The platform works in 99% of browsers and devices as well as solid genetic connections and we've removed all that technical jargon so that it passes the mom test. We also decided to make Willo free, this gives small business owners, a chance to experience the benefits of Willo. Finally anyone can integrate with our public API.
Euan (6m 4s):
We have a number of users who white label the platform and embed into their own applications. All of that has resulted over 4,000 customers in 135 countries using Willo everyday. From our passionate team across Europe since day one, we have tremendous focus on turning customers into loyal fan and users and apologies for my dog in the background. It wasn't actually my dog, it is someone else's dog which is even worse.
Joel (6m 34s):
Are you done?
Euan (6m 34s):
I am done.
Joel (6m 35s):
All right, where can they find out more?
Euan (6m 38s):
Find more? Willo.video. So it's WILLO.video.
sfx (6m 41s):
ding, ding, ding.
Chad (6m 44s):
So Euan, you used to be called, was it? It was Weave so why change to Willo, especially with Willo, without the willo.com is a kid's robot toothbrush. I don't understand the actual, I don't want to understand the change of the name when you couldn't get the.com.
Joel (7m 6s):
It's also in his wife's dresser drawer, but that's another podcast?
Chad (7m 8s):
Euan (7m 10s):
So we'll give you a background on Weave first. So Weave was a really nice name. We thought, you know, Weave building things, bringing things together, weaving things makes things stronger, right? So we thought we'll build teams and make teams stronger with our technology. Weave then it comes up with a trademark issue in France. So we didn't have any choice, unfortunately. So we had to change it quite quickly. I think we were like three months before launching to the world. And it was like, we needed to pick a name that would actually work. You know, what names are like is difficult to find the name we'll find a web address in particular. So we actually ended up going with Willo and Willo was basically, it's really not very exciting story but I'll tell you anyway, because we haven't got any better to talk about then this stupid name, which everyone always asks.
Euan (7m 57s):
And I really needed some of the better story for this, but basically it was my co-founders street. So you lived on Willo Lane.
Chad (8m 2s):
Without, without the w?
Euan (8m 3s):
No with the w. It would be cool if it was without the w, that would be a good street name without the w.
Chad (8m 9s):
Well, nobody would be able to find it because that's not how you spell Willow. Why did you change the name again? I know it's hard to find a brand name, especially when you're talking about in Europe, because you have to think about multiple countries, but overall, I mean, that seems like a snap judgment are, let me ask this question instead, are you open to changing the name to something that is, that is spelled correctly and has a.com?
Euan (8m 39s):
No, anytime soon. That was a good question, but no, not anytime soon.
Chad (8m 42s):
Joel (8m 42s):
With the right amount of investment money, he'd be more than happy to change the name. I'm sure.
Euan (8m 46s):
I hope the VCs they're listening. No, no. It's Willo for sure, for good. I mean, Willo is a nice, short name is one syllable. It's quite tight, we like that.
Joel (8m 56s):
To exacerbate this you're a marketing guy, right? It would be one thing if you were just some geek and just pulled some name out of the air, but you're a marketing guy. So one I'll get off the Willo name cause I think we've beaten that dead horse, but I'm curious what makes a marketing guy sort of have the ability to come into the recruitment space and create a company that's successful? That seems like a really big void to cross.
Euan (9m 20s):
Sure. Yeah, I guess that's a good question. So we came at it from a different angle. That was really the kind of the thing that I brought to this business. So between me and my co-founder, my co-founder, his background is recruiting and my background being product, conditional marketing, I said, let's come at this from a different angle. So my angle was really how do we make the best solution to a problem? And I obviously understood the problem of recruitment and hiring, having hired people over my career. And I'd always find that it was a real pain point of mine. I had to, you know, invite people out to this office. I used to work in a really like random remote office that was out of the way, it was outside of Glasgow. And it was difficult for candidates to get to and I always felt like that was a real barrier to meeting these candidates that had to start dragging them out of the city to come and meet me for an hour, for a job that they potentially wouldn't get anyway.
Euan (10m 12s):
So that was always a bugbear of mine was this whole interview process. It felt really crappy to me. So I understood the problem. And then obviously joined up with Woody and decided that our skill sets actually could build a solution to the problem that was a bit different from what was already out there. That was really key. The key thing that we wanted to do was create something that was different. Obviously there is other video interviewing technologies out there. We wanted to put a different spin on it.
Joel (10m 36s):
We'll get to that in a second. So you've, you've raised about $200,000- 250,000 in seed, is that correct?
Euan (10m 42s):
Yeah, that's right. 250,000 pounds. And we're just,
Joel (10m 46s):
Is that like 400,000 in US?
Chad (10m 49s):
Joel (10m 50s):
$375 I'm pretty good. Okay. My math is awesome. So what have you sort of done with the money? I assume there's going to be a real round here in the future. Talk about the money situation and what you're planning on doing with it.
Euan (11m 5s):
Sure. So huge amount of that money went into product marketing, as you would expect. Obviously my marketing background is really all about pushing the marketing. And I'm trying to basically just tell as many people as we possibly can about our offering, our product. Our product is strong, but we're happy with the product, it is in a good place, but we need more eyeballs on that product to really push it forward. So a large, a large amount of money is gone in those two areas and it's all been digital marketing and our core markets be UK, US and Australia for us.
Joel (11m 33s):
What's been the most effective marketing on the digital side, like as a certain platform that's performed really well or?
Euan (11m 39s):
Yeah, that's a good question. I think the key platforms for us are really Twitter and LinkedIn and we get a lot of our customers are small to medium sized businesses and I find a lot of them on Twitter. And then we do a lot of outreach on LinkedIn as well.
Chad (11m 53s):
So why asynchronous only?
Euan (11m 55s):
Asynchronous only. So they come back to the problem is I've discovered the interviewing and the problems that interviews have just in general. When you switched to an asynchronous interview, you take away a lot of the issues that candidates have a lot of the frustrations the candidates have. And so we spent 2019 and 2018, basically speaking to candidates and the over the overwhelming majority of candidates to make the interview better for them, wanted to be in control. And the easiest way of putting people in control in the interview process for us was to make it asynchronous. So they are in control of when and where they're answering those questions. That was really the biggest learning curve for us.
Euan (12m 36s):
So it was all about control.
Chad (12m 37s):
Okay, well, I've also seen that the questions are text-based, which pretty much means that it feels like as a user you're talking into a void, or are you looking at perspectively allowing hiring managers to record themselves and asking questions on video to be more personalized, more human, to provide a better experience?
Euan (12m 57s):
Yeah, you almost, you almost said it like I was going say it. Yes. Is the answer to that. And it will provide a better experience and it will remove a lot of the talking to the void. The reason we haven't done it yet. And tthis may be interesting to you guys, the reason we haven't done it yet is that we're trying to implement it in the most accessible way possible. And the moment you can, for example, use screen readers with text-based questions, and at the moment, you can also, for example, change the contrast on those questions and make the font bigger, doing that with a video based question or an audio based question is more difficult, introduces different accessibility challenges and that's what we're working on now.
Chad (13m 31s):
So subtitles, I mean, that seems like a pretty easy answer to a video providing subtitles.
Euan (13m 39s):
That's pretty much like 99% of how we're going to achieve it is actually allowing the user to edit those subtitles, make sure they can type them in how they want. And because then what we do is we actually allow them to translate that into different languages as well. So there's a few different pieces that we need to kind of figure out there, but that's the roadmap for the future.
Chad (13m 55s):
Okay. So you're still currently the founder of EAC, a digital marketing agency. Is that on the shelf right now, while you're building Willo, are you trying to juggle both at the same time?
Euan (14m 7s):
It is on the shelf, unfortunately. It was not possible for me to continue doing that at the scale I was doing it before, especially after the past, you know, the past year digital marketing has become something that's really in demand. And so I wouldn't have been able to juggle both. We both went full-time in Willo in October of last year and I dropped everything else to go full-time with Willo and go all in and make it a success.
Joel (14m 30s):
Talk to me about from a job seeker's perspective. When do I, or when or how do I engage with the product? Is it an email with a link? Can a recruiter just send a link anywhere, like through text message?
Euan (14m 42s):
Joel (14m 43s):
Is it in a job description, like talk about how a job seeker would typically engage? And this is also probably a good bridge to talk about your integration strategy, which is pretty robust.
Euan (14m 54s):
There's two specific, specifics or areas that you could use Willo in. The first is right up front, so at the kind of application stage for a lot of our users will fit Willo in the actual job posting. So behind the apply now button, or as a link in indeed ads or LinkedIn job ads, and that takes them straight into Willo. And then you're actually using Willo more as an application process, which is really cool because that's right upfront. And that's actually removing a lot of the traditional application frustration barriers that are in the process. The other place that you're most likely to interrupt Willo is on that first run of interviews. So you've got a bunch of CDs or applications then the recruiter is then going to invite a number of those applicants or sometimes all of those applicants.
Euan (15m 34s):
And through Willo, they just invite them through like a CSV upload or they can invite them with a common link, which they can just share with all the candidates.
Joel (15m 42s):
And your integration strategy. Talk about that.
Euan (15m 44s):
Yeah. So integrations has always been core to what we're doing. We don't want it to become, for example, an ATS. We don't want it to become a larger part of the hiring process because we know that every company has a different hiring process. We don't have the authority maybe to change those hiring processes so our integration strategy is to become part of a bigger process. And the easiest way of doing that obviously is to integrate with what people already use. So we have, you know, for example, the Workable integration, the Greenhouse integration, which are both native and we're working on Team Taylor at the moment, which is another nice one coming up. And then we have our Zapier integration as well. So you can actually plug Willo into your process depending on how your hiring process looks, which I think is the most flexible way of doing it.
Euan (16m 26s):
You know, when we have sales calls, people often ask us, you know, how is this going to work? I do this and this and this. Cause they're really maybe set in their ways with the hiring process and they're happy with it. And we can always come back and say, well, you can plug it in here and you can also plug it in here and this is how other people use it. And it just makes it really flexible.
Chad (16m 42s):
So how big is your team currently?
Euan (16m 44s):
So at the moment, our team has 17 people. Four of them just started, so they're salespeople, but yeah, 17 in total most what most of them in the UK have got a couple of people in Europe.
Chad (16m 55s):
Okay, how many clients are actually using the platform right now?
Euan (16m 59s):
Good question. So at the moment, as in like right now, today, just under 4,000 and that's across 135 countries,
Chad (17m 7s):
4000 recruiters, meaning seats or 4,000 actual brands?
Euan (17m 12s):
That is seats.
Chad (17m 14s):
Okay. So out of those seats, how many brands are out of those seats?
Euan (17m 19s):
That was a very good question, which I don't have the answer to it on the top of my mind.
Joel (17m 22s):
Okay. Are you profitible then because with that many people at only 250 seed money, either you're bootstrapping the hell out of this thing or you guys are pretty profitable?
Euan (17m 30s):
No. So we won't be profitable until the later part of 2022. And to answer your funding question, we are fundraising at the moment for our next more significant runs. And that allows us to basically to grow the team that that's all about salespeople and customer support and stuff.
Chad (17m 48s):
gotcha. So what version gets more usage from candidates and recruiters, mobile or desktop?
Euan (17m 54s):
So last month, 80% mobile, which is quite high. When we started last year, it was about 60% mobile, but it's been creeping up really quickly for the past six months. So we're looking at 80% mobile in July or sorry, June.
Chad (18m 9s):
Gotcha. Are those mainly through your platform directly or are they using this through an integration through a core platform, like an applicant tracking system.
Euan (18m 21s):
Again, going back to the June numbers, they just run those recently. 20% of our users are coming via an integration, which I don't know what the statistics are, but that feels like quite a good number. You know, we're, we're trying to grow that obviously, but to be integrated around 20% is a good place to start. We know that obviously integrations are good, more sticky, more loyal customers.
Joel (18m 41s):
I've always considered video to be more of a feature than a product defend this as a product, or is it a feature that you just either hope to flip it one day or just become a piece of all the ATSs that you possibly can? I mean, do you think of your product as a feature?
Euan (18m 58s):
And that's a good question. We think of it as a product at the moment, it doesn't mean to, it can become a feature in the future, depending on how the ATSs treat it and having to integrate more with them natively. But at the moment we see as a product and the reason we see it as a product is that the majority of our users are using Willo as a standalone solution to their hiring problems. So obviously I mentioned 23% are integrated. The others are not integrated they typically don't have a solution. So you'll know that lots of obviously lots of businesses hire from a spreadsheet or they hire from Trello. And so Willo is actually replacing a lot of those really rudimentary solutions to hiring and managing your candidates. So we see it as a product at the moment.
Joel (19m 38s):
In terms of threats. What are, I guess, what keeps you up at night? I mean, cause you know, I look at the chat bot space, that's getting into more video, I'm looking at other standalones, like Vervo that are specializing in video. And obviously you have the big daddy, you know, HireVue and others, like which of those keeps you up at night? Or are you a totally unique animal?
Euan (19m 59s):
No, so I definitely don't sleep as well as I used to. The things that keep us up at night are mostly product related. So we always want to be ahead of the game in terms of product and innovation, but staying ahead in product and innovation is one of the most challenging areas for us. You know, there's huge amounts of money going to those areas and other businesses and competitors, is a biggest challenge for us is staying ahead and product for sure.
Joel (20m 24s):
Chad (20m 25s):
But, well, let's talk about sales because for the most part, that is one of the biggest nightmares most founders and CEOs have. So overall what's your sales strategy? Is it partnership through integrations? How's that actually working? Are you looking at direct to customer right out of the gate?
Euan (20m 45s):
So up until this month, our sales strategy has always been an inbound sales strategy. So digital marketing, generating inbound leads, and converting those leads. But what we're looking at coming forward as a partnership and unstressed piece of what that means is really going out by, and, you know, sort of the usual LinkedIn, phone, email channels, and also going out and doing more partnerships. Partnerships, not only with ATSs, but also partnerships with larger marketplaces for offering solutions to businesses and becoming part of a larger marketplace offering. So that's the sort of strategy at the moment.
Chad (21m 24s):
Excellent. So you have transparent pricing on the site, which I, I fucking love it, but it also says it's free forever. So why the pricing and I mean, to be quite Frank, your pricing, the way that it's set it's set right now, it's almost free? So it's like you're giving a free option, but then you're giving an almost free option. Why are you giving a free option first and foremost, I guess it would just be to try to buy. But if you're doing that, why is it so damn cheap?
Euan (21m 52s):
Okay. This is a good question. So let me talk about free and why the hell we did free. So when we started doing our research, this was just last year, very early on last year, what we realized was a video interviewing. And this obviously is not new to you, but as a concept video interviewing is a new concept to a lot of our audience, a lot of our business owners and managers that come to Willo. So what we decided to do was create this free version to actually help us educate and sell the concept. And once people have used, Willo a few times and made a few hires on Willo, they understand the concept, then they start to pay for it. So it's really, it's an educational acquisition strategy, which we're playing at the moment.
Euan (22m 37s):
It doesn't mean to say that it will be free forever because time moves on and video interviewing will become more of a commonplace thing.
Chad (22m 44s):
It says free forever on the website.
Euan (22m 47s):
It does. Well, if you sign up for free today, it will be free forever, but we may take that option away.
Joel (22m 55s):
So, by the time you hear this podcast it maybe.
Euan (22m 58s):
We're changing the website later on tonight, I know it will be, it will be free forever as far as we can, as far as we can really maintain that. But it says it's more of, yeah, it's more of an educational strategy. Like obviously a lot of the audience listening to this as well will be familiar with video interviewing, but honestly every single day, we're speaking to people, they have never heard of the concept. So trying to sell that into them is a hard thing to do. So making it free, it definitely just breaks down some of those barriers.
Joel (23m 23s):
Speaking of new concepts for people, I think you're one of the few startups, I think that have come on the show and not mentioned AI to any.
Euan (23m 30s):
Joel (23m 31s):
Any big degree.
Chad (23m 32s):
Joel (23m 33s):
But in terms of, yeah, in terms of, you know, automation, you know, transcription piece, it looks like there's some of that in there scheduling automation, like either if this isn't on the roadmap, will it be sort of where are you on some of those buzz terms around automation and AI?
Euan (23m 50s):
So I didn't mention AI because I feel like it's, everyone mentions, like you said, so we're leaving AI out of a conversation, but in terms of automation on AI, the things that we are looking at doing is all around scheduling is the only thing that we really want to be doing AI around at the moment, so scheduling most likely the next interview. So when you use Willo, for example, you're doing the asynchronous interview, we want to actually helps the recruiter and the candidate find a time for their next interview, which may be a two way interview over Zoom or Skype or Teams or whatever. So using that as probably the only area that we can foresee at the moment, there was obviously a lot of people out there doing AI around diversity and inclusion and even behavioral analytics. We are at the moment, not focusing on that because it goes against what we're actually trying to do here, which is obviously connect people with people and create opportunities and actually adding in a layer of computing and, you know, algorithms just doesn't really sit well with the offering at the moment, because it's obviously all about people.
Chad (24m 47s):
So using technology to improve diversity in the workplace, why do underrepresented populations have a better chance of getting a job with video interviewing? You can see that it's a female. You can see that it's a person of color. Why do you think that helps take bias instead of out of the process, instead of inserting it into the process?