Article Published: September 5, 2014
Article Published: September 5, 2014
Over the past couple of years, Mark Heckmann and Eric Harvey were both building startups that attacked talent development from two different ends of the spectrum.
Heckmann’s Student InTuition was part of the first class at Thrill Mill and was a student talent cooperative to connect college students to the needs of communities and businesses everywhere.
Harvey’s YourTalentAgents.com targeted experienced, passive job seekers and worked as an agent to help them move up the next rung on the career ladder.
Where YourTalentAgents lacked volume of candidates for potential employers it had quality in spades. By merging the companies to form ImagineCareers, they were able to quickly add to each other’s businesses in ways that would have normally taken years on their own.
“It’s pretty rare to see two startups merging,” said Harvey, who is now ImagineCareers’ President & CTO. “It just made sense to combine our businesses, networks, teams, and technologies. It’s the old 1+1= 3 or more.
“Our mission is to develop top talent and help them discover and connect to great careers,” said Heckmann, who serves as CEO. “Just as athletes or artists have agents to represent their interests and cultivate their careers, so too can the best existing and soon-to-be professional talent in technology and business be represented.”
ImagineCareers develops talent as early as college through career maturity and brings them to market by providing guided skill-building and discovery tools, analytics-driven career recommendations, personal representation and career assistance as well as career placement services.
The breadth of ImagineCareers’ software and service offerings creates a proprietary process known as Predictive Career Engagement. The technology they are building is similar to Pandora™, but instead of discovering music and artists, they are helping people discover companies, jobs, schools, learning and networking opportunities, and much more.
“IC is positioned to be disruptive in this space because it is unequivocally talent-facing, whereas the rest of the job aggregation and recruitment landscape is decidedly job and job board focused,” said Heckmann.
"With a mixture of high-touch services and technology, ImagineCareers is particularly positioned to provide services to an often unreached segment of the workforce: passive talent, or specialized candidates who already have jobs and do not actively search on lists or through recruiters for their next opportunity,” Heckmann continued. “For these people, a representation-based solution allows them to leave the searching to their “talent agent” who knows and represents their preferences in a sophisticated manner.”
ImagineCareers resides in NoWait’s former office space in StartUptown. The company hopes that the space will serve as the same launching pad that started NoWait’s success to date.
ImagineCareers has five talent agents on staff already working some 250 active candidates and a network of over 500 companies in the greater Pittsburgh area. The company is working with 10 local universities and is establishing formal pilots with them to help students start their careers.
Like any startup, ImagineCareers is actively seeking investment dollars while bootstrapping to pay the bills.
Both Harvey and Heckmann are bullish about the merger and feel that ImagineCareers brings a novel approach to talent acquisition.
“We truly have a shared vision for this,” said Harvey. “And, we’re trying to bring a lot of humility to it. By helping people better understand themselves and their own journeys, we can in return help companies find and hire better people. It’s genuinely a win-win.”