My Startup: Adepto
When it comes to sourcing talent, companies want to be sure they're working with the best people possible. Adepto helps them do that with a streamlined platform with clearly presented skills, experience, and qualifications.
A sort of "talent ecosystem", it was created to enable a new way of working for every person and organisation around the world, giving organisations the ability to see all of the talent and skills available to them, whether that's internal full-time, gig workers, contractors or alumni.
Founder: Chris Milligan
Founded: March 2013
Why did you start Adepto?
I started Adepto after having always worked as a contractor, straight out of university, consulting across the human capital space in Australia. I realised it was difficult for organisations to engage with people working in the independent workforce, like me.
Further, with my understanding of human capital, I saw that there was also little-to-no insight on a company’s existing talent across their permanent workforce. As a result, businesses lacked agility and spent too much on resourcing.
Adepto was created to solve this. It gives an organisation full visibility over its entire talent pool. It also helps with engaging external talent. Many Adepto customers have set up ‘talent networks’ specifically to keep in touch with their entire workforce who can then begin working for them as-and-when they’re needed.
Tell us more about the tech behind the product?
Adepto uses contemporary development methodologies to bring consumer-style usability and scale to enterprise SaaS. Our platform is incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use, unlike some legacy enterprise technology, and importantly puts the person in the centre, not the business.
We are combining the best-in-class Machine Learning and AI products, as well as skill datasets, to create a unified approach for managing Total Talent - improving the matching of people to tasks, roles, projects and companies, while also suggesting career pathways for individuals.
We’re using a global taxonomy of skills to help people better understand how work is described - HTML versus coding, for example. Our aim is to equip customers with a seamless and standardised way for everyone to find the skills required to get work done quickly.
Finally, we’re continuously building integrations to make deploying and using the Adepto platform seamless with our customers’ existing tech stacks. Users can automatically input information and create their profiles from the many existing systems and records to kickstart the process.
Where are you at right now?
Adepto has just come out of an important year establishing our foundations for global growth. In 2018, we expanded our international presence (in APAC, the UK and the US) with several hires in our London office - this meant that we recently moved into larger premises. Our London office now has more capabilities, with a new VP of Marketing and Partnerships, a Head of Sales and an expanding Customer Success team.
Our technology has been refined, notably with an improved user experience based on feedback from our clients. It’s very much an iterative development, so we’re always looking for improvements. Plus, our system has had more information added to it, meaning it has become more intelligent and better at matching people to work based on their skills and experience.
We’ve secured a number of new customers and partnerships, and Adepto now partners with most of the major managed service providers (MSPs) including AMS, CXC, AGS, RSR and Capita.
We have also raised additional funding with another growth round planned for early this year. Finally, we closed the year with a few awards, including the BOC UK Business of the Year - which was a fantastic surprise just before Christmas, and a real testament to the entire team’s hard work.
What are your aims for the next year?
To further build on Adepto’s achievements and the momentum that we saw in 2018, and to kickstart the “Total Talent” snowball. This means raising the next stage of growth capital that will enable us to build our go-to-market team and keep up with demand. We’re also adding another product team to focus on the features that our enterprise customers want, to ensure that they have a “Total Talent” solution that works across the globe. We also want to increase our U.S. presence and capabilities as we see that market begin to mature.
What's been the hardest thing about getting Adepto off the ground?
There have been a few challenges. Firstly, scaling globally, and my realisation that Adepto had to cross the world to attract the customers and investment that would fuel its growth.
Another challenge was around the maturity of the market. A number of business leaders don’t yet understand the term ‘Total Talent’ and as a result, are less prepared for it. This can make our sales cycles long because of the education needed beforehand.
In the past, if you had a project that needed completing, you’d give it to a permanent employee or, if you needed to, hire a new employee. Now that’s all changed. Because of freelancing, automation and other technology, there’s myriad ways to get a project done. ‘Total Talent’ describes this. It involves everyone from permanent employees to gig workers, contractors, alumni and even recruits who haven’t officially entered your traditional talent pool. It will soon also include technology, such as robots, that can do a task for you.
Total Talent is visibility and access to an organisation’s entire talent pool.
The new era of work holds many exciting opportunities for businesses. But they have to work on the fundamentals first: understanding, managing and engaging with their Total Talent.
As for crossing the world, a few years ago I was setting up my life in Sydney, having moved from Brisbane (where our Australian office is based) to attract new customers. But the people I was talking to in Australia all seemed to answer to someone in Europe or the US. That included investors. I realised that to achieve our ambitious growth plan I had to move overseas. At the time I was commuting week-in week-out from Sydney to London, so I decided to move to London and set up another office.
Why should more people use your product?
Quite simply, it’s the future of business - which might seem like an overambitious thing to say, but let me break it down. More people are working in alternative ways. Freelancing is on the rise, as is contracting for a short period and then taking time off; so is working flexibly or taking a sabbatical. Boomerang employees are more common (when someone leaves and later returns to a company). Plus, some skills are getting harder to find, so companies are fighting to attract them. Then there’s the rise of Artificial Intelligence and automation, that’s going to change the way entire industries work. Organisations need to prepare for all of this. For that, they need Adepto.
On an individual level, a worker on Adepto gets greater access to work the way that they want. I envision a day when every company and every employee is on the Adepto platform. They wake up on a Monday morning and work for Company A, then on Tuesday they’re with Company B, and all of their skills and experience data is being updated on Adepto, so that they can be discovered and working for Company C by Friday.
Do you believe you are filling a gap in the market? Why?
There is a huge gap in the market - organisations just need to know that it exists. Many forward-thinking companies are already waking up to the potential of using their Total Talent. But too many are still playing catch-up. Once they realise that the workforce is moving towards being less permanent and more fluid as the norm, they will understand the need for a system to manage and give visibility over all of it.