Daniel Callaghan, Talmix founder and CEO, on why you shouldn’t try to be the next Zuckerberg

Daniel Callaghan, Talmix

At Tech City News, we’re always keen to shine a light on those who make up the UK’s thriving technology community. This week, we spoke with Daniel Callaghan, CEO and founder of Talmix, a recruitment tech firm. Callaghan spoke to us about how he defines success and why entrepreneurs should not strive to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Tech vertical: Recruitment Tech
‪Funding: $8.8m
‪Staff count: 30
‪Location: London
‪Founded: July 2009

‪Q: Why did you decide to set up Talmix?
In the middle of my MBA at the IESE in Barcelona, I realised that there was a lot of incredibly capable and highly educated talent that was never really used to their full potential.

These were people who could add real value to companies, but needed the flexibility to be able to work around their schedules on the MBA. So I founded Talmix – which at the time was called MBA&Co – to solve this problem. We worked to connect MBA students with companies that could use their expertise. I wrote the business plan at the height of the recession, and back then it was a way for companies to increase efficiency in a very tight period.

Now, Talmix is a global company, with over 27,000 of the top independent business talent using our platform to find projects that suit them. For a considerable share of the workforce, gone are the days of traditional nine-to-five schedules, a job for life and a fixed-rate salary. There are over five million people in the UK who are employed as independent workers, and this trend is only set to continue.

We want to encourage the freedom and flexibility of working as an independent consultant, and for businesses to reduce the hiring time considerably.

‪Q: Which other companies is Talmix competing against and what sets it apart from its competitors?

We have no real direct competitors in the UK. You have old school recruiters and interims providing independent professionals, but no-one is coming at it from a tech angle which super charges the convenience, choice and transparency for all involved. 

In reality, our main competitor is the ‘little black book’ that people and companies call on when they know they have a job that needs doing. but Talmix allows both companies looking to hire, and people looking for projects to work on to increase their radius.

We’re fortunate enough to have a fantastic tech team, who really set us apart from the competition. We use deep learning and algorithms to match top talent with the businesses that need their expertise, quickly and efficiently.

Q: In your opinion, what makes a company a tech company?

A tech company has to have technology at its core – the service needs to be underpinned by the technology and make up a key part of the service. It can have people and ops around it however the primary component of the value proposition must be dependent on the technology.

‪Q: You’ve raised over $8m in funding to date, what advice would you give to other tech entrepreneurs looking to raise cash from VCs?

Believe in your idea, your niche in the market, and run with it. There’s a lot of work that goes in before a funding round, to prove your idea and business model. It’s also important to use the networks you’ve built to your advantage. It was people that I was on my MBA with that invested in the first rounds that I took Talmix through.

‪Q: How do you define success and why?

I define success as the clear achievement of a range of personal goals set rather than it being based on view of where I sit in the world. It’s about knowing what I want to do and hitting the targets in my eyes rather than seeking validation from others. Its great to have benchmarks to set the standard but your own personal opinion of yourself needs to matter most. Basing that self-perception across a number of dimensions so that it isn’t just work or health or family is also useful – otherwise you can quickly go insane just trying to be the next Zuckerberg.

‪Q: Is there such a thing as typical day in the office for you? If so, what does it look like?

The great thing about leading a fast growing business is the variety and speed of change. We are constantly looking at ways to see how we can help grow the market and evangelise about the benefits on bringing in expertise on demand. I would say 40% of my time is currently spent with the sales and marketing teams particularly, the other 40% with the rest of the leadership team, 20% with investors.

‪Q: What’s been your proudest moment, so far? And your worst?

We have had a lot of proud moments, however I always think that my favourite parts are when we do all company events or training days. Seeing the team we have built, hearing about the client successes and their awesome feedback as well as hearing the team plans on how we can grow further are my proudest. It’s a great feeling.

The worst are when you have to make changes to the team and let people go because you haven’t got the hiring right. It has such a wide spread affect and you always feel you should have done better.

‪Q: Finally, what can we expect from Talmix over the next 12 months?

We’ve just opened up an office in Frankfurt, and plan to grow our client base across Europe. In time, we expect to become the world’s largest marketplace for highly skilled professionals.