Matthew Sarre shares the story behind JumpStart in this month’s SixtySecondStartUp:
- What does your company do?
Jumpstart is the UK’s only start-up graduate programme. We find exceptional graduates (the top 1% applicants), train them up, match them with start-ups, and then provide ongoing, mentorship and a peer network.
- Why did you set up this company?
To stop the brightest and most ambitious graduates from sleepwalking out of university and into big corporate grad schemes to go ‘sell their soul’. Instead, we get them to go and have an impact in a start-up and build something meaningful. Basically, my co-founder (Kabir Bali) and I built a programme that we would have wanted to do when we left university.
- How did you get your first customer?
We set up the company in the depths of the pandemic, so it was not easy to find start-ups to pitch to. But, at the end of every zoom call with friends & former colleagues, I would ask: “are there any start-ups that you can introduce me to” and follow it up with awkward silence until they made an introduction… Good advice for anyone who wants to build out a customer base.
- We knew we were onto something when?
We thought we were onto something when we got 10 applications to our programme on our very first day live. This was, of course, very misguided. But, we are now trending upwards of 1500+ applicants a month and have carved out a niche that seems to work: we place graduates in Founder Associate roles to take B and C tasks off the founders’ plates so that they can focus on A tasks.
- Our business model:
We’re a little like ambulance chasers in the sense that we operate a “no win, no fee” model! That means that we only charge a fee if the graduate is still in role 3 months after they have started.
- Our most effective marketing channel has been:
Word of mouth referrals. Which, I am reliably told is a good sign!
- What we look for when selecting our candidates:
It boils down to attitude. Sure they are smart, but we look for ‘hungry’ go-getters who have done something interesting like founding a company or society while at university.
- The biggest mistake that I’ve made is:
I once allowed someone into my Zoom meeting who I thought was a founder and ‘pitched’ them as if they were a start-up. It turns out that they were a graduate applying for the scheme…
- We think that there’s growth in this sector because:
There is a growing trend away from traditional career paths and a rapid acceleration of the start-up scene in the UK.
- We worked with AIN because:
They have an exceptional network of start-ups.
Keen to hear more?
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