It might have been inspired by the Founder’s quest to find part-time or freelance work to suit their unique needs. Or, it might be a broader thing, given our changing society. Regardless, HireMeUp got it right. By this, we mean the timing, as much as anything else.
In 2010, business coach Fiona Anson, and Allison Baker, a U.S.-trained journalist, set out to tap the power and reach of the Internet to start HireMeUp and deliver work-at-your-leisure convenience, if you will, as opposed to a 9-to-five standard day.
The bid to create something like that arose from their own frustration at finding work that “fit around their other life obligations.” They haven’t looked back since and users of the site haven’t had to look elsewhere.
HireMeUp has ridden the wave of people seeking flexible work options. Today, this workforce accounts for 35% of the job market, and is growing at twice the rate of full-time workers, according to the company’s research.
HireMeUp’s founders have now won an opportunity to take their act to the Silicon Valley — the Mecca of high-tech entrepreneurship. Anson and Baker won the top prize in a pitching competition for women entrepreneurs conducted by The Indus Entrepreneurs, or TiE, a Silicon Valley-headquartered organisation.
Anson credits their victory in the TiE/CommBank Women in Focus Pitching Competition to absolute passion about what they do and their tenacity to stay the course even when the going gets rough.
“In the last 14 months, Alli and I have worked with an absolute belief in what we’re doing, working unbelievable hours, ploughing every bit of time, energy and money we have into something we believe passionately in,” said Anson. “Like every business, especially starts ups, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I’m privileged to work in a partnership with not only a great human being but a person who has similar goals, values, integrity and drive to me and in my book that’s a must have.”
The pitching competition was organised to give aspiring women entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn to pitch to angel investors, build their confidence in their ideas and themselves, and connect to TiE’s global network of members. Entrants were allowed three minutes to pitch their entrepreneurial idea, followed by a two-minute Q&A to convince a panel of judges.
The judging panel consisted of TiE charter members, angel investors and VCs including the Commonwealth Bank’s Head of Women in Focus Katie Mihell, TiE’s Dilip Rao, and successful entrepreneurs Jennifer Zanich and Karen McFadzen.
Anson and Baker will now head to Silicon Valley for TiE’s flagship TiECON conference on May 18-19. The event will provide them a unique opportunity to meet with angels, venture capitalists and strategic investors and pitch their idea that could find global acceptance, too.
“We’re not Instagram yet,” Anson says, referring to the recent Facebook acquisition which netted the owners hundreds of millions of dollars. “But watch this space! It would be great to be Australia’s first female-owned cross-generational success story,” she added, referring to her co-founder who is 20 years younger.
However, it does seem a little ironic that the Founders, who were once looking for flexible work, are now working long hours in their quest to make their business grow.