The Business Owner: Oli Johnson, Catapult
The on-demand recruitment platform talks to is4profit about connecting people with temporary work, and why growth is essential
Name: Oli Johnson
Founders: Oli Johnson, Ben Dixon and Steffen Wulff Petersen
Location: Islington, London
Proposition: The Uber for casual staff
Size: 1,000 active users on our platform
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Catapult is entirely transforming the agency staffing model by replacing annoying consultants with technology. We cut recruitment costs by 75% and, for the first time, provide true flexibility to both businesses and people.
How did you finance your business?
Catapult got funded by a long list of both angels and institutional investors before even launching the company. Investors believed in our vision from the start.
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
Young businesses are always about growth. In 90% of cases, growth fixes everything.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Catapult is bringing a whole new proposition to businesses which require them to change their behavior. That’s always a tough task and its why we have had product development fully in-house as we can iterate our technology rapidly.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
A number of apps that are critical to our business includes Slack (communication), Xero (accounting) and Trello (product development).
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Ambitious, social and empowering.
What would you like the government to do for small business?
We think the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) schemes are fantastic as well as R&D credits, so we are relatively happy about the general small businesses environment in the UK.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
The new go-to platform for any casual staff.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Co-working spaces have been a great way to maximize flexibility and minimize wasting time on a topic that can easily take 10% of a founder’s time.
Do you think it’s important for small businesses to export, any tips?
While our business doesn’t export products, we believe growth is essential to small businesses. Today’s world has never been as connected and the line between domestic and international growth is getting ever more blurred so it’s important for enterprises to look beyond its domestic market for growth.
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
We’ve found that word of mouth is a powerful technique that many tech companies fail to cultivate. They shouldn’t as it is still quite important in attracting new customers.