John Roche is the founder of Mote, a data-driven talent-sourcing engine that aims to make matches between scaling tech companies and potential hires in the burgeoning remote working environment.
Roche studied business at the University of Limerick before completing an MSc in entrepreneurship at Trinity College Dublin in 2020. It was during his time at Trinity that the idea for Mote took root. "I noticed that highly qualified graduates and students were unable to work in offices due to Covid yet there was a big demand from growing tech companies to hire," he says. "So Mote was started in response to this, providing a service that connected remote companies with talented master's students. Then when we started the New Frontiers programme at IT Blanchardstown we discovered that a lot of the remote companies we spoke to had the same problem – getting engagement from candidates to start the initial hiring conversation. Once we became aware of this larger overall problem we pivoted to become a sourcing engine for remote tech positions."
Roche describes Mote as a hybrid of traditional tech recruitment and a CRM tool for managing talent. “Very often companies don’t get the results they need from traditional recruiters as their systems are inefficient and many CRMs aren’t well equipped to handle sourcing campaigns,” he says. “Our system provides better results and a higher response rate – around 43 per cent – by using a data-driven tool to build a talent pipeline for growing companies based on their specific hiring needs. Mote verifies top talent through pre-screening interviews so clients only see the best-quality people, and their hiring teams don’t waste any time on any others. Our process can save a company an average of 12 hours a week in hiring time and on average we are back to clients with candidates within 72 hours.”
Typical Mote customers are seed or Series A companies that have had unsatisfactory hiring experiences with existing recruiters and need to increase the size of their teams quickly. The company has clients in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US, which accounts for roughly 50 per cent of its business. The types of positions being recruited for include software engineers, product managers and designers, and while Mote covers off popular languages such as Java, it also specialises in niche languages including Clojure, Angular and Scala which most recruitment agencies don't deal with.
The business was launched in September 2021 and now employs three people, with more positions due to be filled shortly. The company makes its money by charging users a monthly fee related to the candidate’s salary having initially gone for a percentage-based pricing model. “Since the pivot we’ve moved to a monthly fee basis, which is better for our customers as it allows them to plan their expenses and keep costs under control,” Roche says.
Mote was started with sweat equity rather than money and was generating revenue from the get-go. Development costs to date have been bootstrapped at roughly €30,000 between the reinvestment of earnings and support from the New Frontiers programme. “We were able to afford the necessary development costs because we already had paying clients. That has been really crucial. I think it would have been difficult to have come this far this fast without it,” says Roche.
“As with any start-up, market timing is a major factor in the success of a launch. Covid created the big demand for a distributed remote workforce and a flexible approach to work-life balance for talent and we are in a strong position to help growing companies meet this demand.” Asked if the next step is a funding round, Roche says: “At this point, while we’re open to offers of investment from the right source, we won’t be actively looking for funding until the summer.”