Mr. Ngoc Dinh Nguyen, CEO of the Vimatt International Investment and Consultant Corp., often had trouble managing the profiles of candidates for job vacancies at this company. “It’s difficult for our human resources (HR) staff to sort out profiles when recruiting,” he lamented.

It’s also a major challenge for many other enterprises around the country. Recognizing the problem, 29-year-old Mr. Kevin Tung Nguyen, who graduated from the University of Arizona and played a role in founding the San Francisco-based K-Source, a software firm with over 200 staff, decided to get the JobHop startup off the ground in his home country.

JobHop uses an applicant tracking system (ATS), a cloud solution, to help companies manage candidate profiles from all recruitment channels, such as Vietnamworks and Jobstreet, which then filters profiles for enterprises. It was rolled in July last year. Mr. Nguyen emphasized that the advantages for JobHop is managing profiles, monitoring recruitment, making judgments and evaluations, and collecting further information when required.

The idea came to him when he returned to Vietnam in 2012 and worked for a major corporation as a management consultant, where he realized that employment agencies had problems locating staff for their clients. With his experience in the US, he cooperated with two friends, one an engineer at Google and the other a director at the virtual-gift-exchange protocol Gifto, to start JobHop.

In the early days it mainly served as a staffing app for the service industry but now has integrated tools for all fields. He told VET that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) pay VND700,000 ($31) per month for JobHop to manage 3,000 candidate applications while large corporations pay an average of VND3 million ($132) per month under a one-year-contract for the same number of applications or VND5 million ($220) per month for an unlimited number.

A year after being launched, JobHop has found two prestigious partners, En-Japan and Getlinks. It provides management tools for major enterprises in Vietnam such as Vietnamobile, Viettel, Zara Vietnam, Fossil, Vingroup, Elle, HSC, FamilyMart, KyberNetwork, and Kambria. “These initial achievements provide motivation for our young team,” he believes.

Although some degree of success has been achieved, JobHop must still cope with certain issues. The first is how to build an app that enterprises will use regularly and properly. The concept of recruitment management software is still new in Vietnam, especially for SMEs, and sometimes the JobHop team must train clients in how to best use it. Another challenge is finding the right team. JobHop is social enterprise, so it can be difficult for employees to understand its mission. It now has eleven full-time employees and four interns.

It also possesses a number of advantages, however. Overheads, for example, are quite low. “We spend about $10,000 to $12,000 on salaries each month,” Mr. Nguyen said. “The two other co-founders and I do not receive a salary.” Marketing to seek partners has also proven to be inexpensive. “Our biggest partner is Vietnamworks, which has 15,000 enterprise clients in Vietnam and they connect us with these enterprises,” he added.

JobHop has major plans to develop. Its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technology is constantly being improved with better artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to help HR teams have access to better hiring metrics. “Recruiters use predictive analytics to be more efficient in their hiring processes, from choosing which candidates to contact initially to comparing their job postings,” he explained.

This year, the app is expected to recorded $330,000 in revenue, serving 1,500 enterprises around Vietnam. Annual recurring revenue (ARR) is expected to reach $1.4 million by late 2019. “By leveraging our partnerships with En-Japan and Getlinks, we will focus on inbound marketing and educational workshops for HR teams to learn and understand more about our ATS,” Mr. Nguyen said. He will also fundraise in the near future to find strategic partners to improve and upgrade JobHop.

Contrary to usual strategies, he has already declined several offers of support from investors. “A popular conception is that a startup has to get lots of investment to be successful,” he said. This is completely wrong, he believes, because nearly 70 per cent of startups around the world that took this path now no longer exist.

Investors look to recoup their investment in as short a time possible and this sometimes results in products being created that are not overly beneficial to customers and the startup begins to diverge from its original goals. “Without experience, a successful startup can end up falling into the hands of the investor,” he said.