We had a chance to talk to Rui Zamith founder of Internwise, a startup based in UK that brings internship opportunities closer to the graduates. Check out this short Q & A and see what he has to say about their venture.
Who are you and what do you do?
We are known as Internwise (internwise.co.uk), a startup that connects UK companies with talented graduates looking for an internship programme – free of charge!
What year was the company founded?
Internwise was founded in September 2010
Who are the founders?
The company was founded by my friend Nuno Dhiren and myself.
How did you raise the money?
We funded the business through personal savings, and then invested our personal skills and experience in the business’ development.
How many employees do you have?
Right now it’s me and my co-founder Nuno, and we work with several freelancers and consultants in different areas of the business.
Is this a full time job for you or do you have other jobs?
Currently it’s a part-time job for us, but we intend to make it a full-time venture in the near future. I am a marketing manager and Nuno is a financial analyst.
Give us a brief history how you started out.
I first moved to London in 2008, and when looking at the internship market I saw a clear opportunity to build a reputable, rich and safe platform, something that was missing at the time. The idea stayed on my mind and in 2010, together with Nuno, we started tackling the project. After developing the platform, our first move was to contact companies individually to see if they would be interested in signing up to use our free website. And so it all started.
Off the top of your head, do you remember any of the initial companies you contacted? And what was the reception?
We started developing the business be contacting companies and presenting our project. Response was always tremendously positive, and we quickly started to grow our user base and the vacancies on offer. Among some of the first companies using our services are Cision, YouGov, Network Rail, Spoonfed and Yahoo.
What’s your current market share?
Hard to tell in numbers. But our clearly perception is that people see us as one of the “go to” websites when it comes to finding an internship. We have a great reputation within the university market, and we actually work closely with several universities, collaborating with them in different ways, such as live events and online initiatives.
Who are your notable clients?
We range from micro companies to blue chips. Some of the names that use or have used our website: Nike, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, Oxfam, Reiss, Fullers, Songkick, Reevoo, Wimdu, Mydeco, Red Cross or Doctors of the world. We also work with a lot of the companies from Silicon Roundabout.
Do you have any inbound marketing strategies – SEO, PPC, SMM etc.
We try to focus as much as possible on organic traffic. Most of our visitors come from generic search engines and job search engines. We have also developed strategies with other websites, such as forums, student portals, etc, that also send us some relevant traffic. Social media is an important part of our strategy as well. We have large Facebook and Twitter fan pages.
Do you intend to charge for your services in the future and if so, how soon?
We offer premium solutions to businesses that wish to get a larger number of applicants, and in a shorter period of time. Our main package includes pushing the vacancy to 10+ other job sites, sending email alerts to all the candidates in our database, and featuring the ads in our social media pages. Sponsoring a job at Internwise can increase applications by 70%.
Are you integrating in some way with social networks?
We use them wisely, to advertise our vacancies and some other content we post on our website.
Do you have any investors? If not, is it something you are thinking of doing in the near future? How will you go about it?
No, we don’t have any outside investors at the moment. We own 100% of the business. Currently, we are more focused on increasing our business, and we believe that we can still grow a lot more without the financial support from an investor.
What are the big milestones you have as a business?
We wanted to be a relevant player in our niche, which is something we’ve already achieved. We will now continue working in order to cement our position and become the largest internship website in the UK, and who knows in other locations as well.
What are the major challenges you are facing and what are the major lessons you’ve learnt so far?
We could not have achieved what we have without a lot of dedication and many hours of labour. Creating a new business can be extremely exciting and fulfilling, but good results only come with hard work. That was our major lesson.
Any other projects you are working on?
We’re also launching new projects, such as the new KapeTalent (www.kapetalent.com), an internship program package for EU students and graduates wanting to intern in the UK.
What is your advice to other budding entrepreneurs?
Be innovative, be creative, read a lot, constantly discuss new ideas and new revenue possibilities. Online businesses can be very demanding and competitive, and only the stronger will succeed.