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Joseph Black and Oliver Jacobs are the founders of tech firm UniTaskr which helps struggling students find flexible work and real-life experiences with some of the world’s leading companies including Amazon, Sony, Spotify, and Red Bull.
The company’s success has been built upon its technology platform and user app, which regularly tops the “Lifestyle & Business” category on Apple’s App Store, thanks to a workforce of over 300,000 verified students, offering services such as blogging, digital marketing, photography to over 20,000 client businesses.
Earlier this year, UniTaskr entered the US market where it has added thousands of members to its network, with anywhere up to 1,000 students joining every day. Such figures have enabled UniTaskr to surpass its projected targets for 2023, with an 80% increase in revenue and 30% expansion in its total user base, solidifying its reputation as the “go-to” provider of skilled freelance services.
Why are multinational companies like Amazon and Spotify so keen to utilise a student workforce?
JB – Multinational corporations like Amazon and Spotify value the student workforce for its inherent agility, fresh perspectives, and tech-savvy nature. Students bring a dynamic blend of innovative ideas, adaptability, and a pulse on evolving trends, making them an invaluable asset in industries seeking modern insights and nimble approaches. Their diverse skill and cutting-edge tech familiarity, align perfectly with the fast-paced, innovation-driven environments these companies operate within. Hiring students not only infuses new energy but also introduces a wealth of contemporary thinking and digital fluency, essential for driving forward-thinking strategies within these global entities.
Since founding UniTaskr how has your market changed and how have you adapted to it?
OJ – The market landscape has evolved drastically, witnessing a global surge in demand for youth based freelance talent. To adapt, UniTaskr focused on enhancing its technological platform, introducing innovative new tools like the ‘UGC Studio,’ and strategically targeting industry leaders. This journey involved continuous feedback-driven enhancements, scaling operations, and catering to the diverse needs of an expanding user base. By embracing these changes, UniTaskr positioned itself as a responsive and agile platform, effectively meeting the evolving demands and expectations of both freelancers and clients within the dynamic freelance ecosystem.
What factors influenced your decision to expand your business into the USA and what challenges did you have to overcome in the process?
OJ – The decision to expand into the USA was influenced by the country’s tech-friendly ecosystem, vast market potential, and innovative landscape. Challenges included navigating different regulatory frameworks, understanding diverse consumer behaviours, and establishing a brand foothold in an evolving market. Adapting our strategies to resonate with American audiences and comprehensively understanding regional nuances were crucial. Overcoming these obstacles involved meticulous market research, agile adaptation of our business model, and forming strategic partnerships to effectively establish UniTaskr’s presence within the US market.
How does the business environment in the USA align with your overall business strategy and goals?
JB – The business environment in the USA remarkably aligns with our overarching strategy at UniTaskr. The US offers an exciting opportunity due to its emphasis on innovation and robust entrepreneurial spirit. This alignment perfectly complements our global ambition of revolutionising youth based freelance work. The market’s receptiveness to innovative solutions and disruptive technologies resonates with our aim to continuously evolve and offer cutting-edge solutions. UniTaskr’s strategic goals of expansion and innovation align seamlessly with the USA’s business landscape, fostering an environment conducive to achieving our long-term objectives.
UniTaskr recently secured a million-pound investment. How will the business utilise it?
OJ – Our recent million-pound investment will be pivotal in steering our growth trajectory. The funds will primarily fuel several key areas within our business. We aim to allocate a significant portion to scaling our operations, expanding our user base, and enhancing our technological infrastructure. Additionally, we’ll invest in further research and development efforts to introduce new features, ensuring an enriched user experience. Strategic market penetration, particularly in vital regions like the US and UK, forms a crucial part of our investment strategy. Overall, these funds will be instrumental in driving UniTaskr’s innovation, market expansion, and sustained growth as a leading freelance platform.
What is the key in your mind to attracting and securing investment?
JB – In my view, the key to attracting and securing investment lies in several fundamental aspects. Firstly, having a compelling and clear vision for the business is paramount. Investors are drawn to innovative ideas with a strong value proposition and a well-defined market need. Additionally, demonstrating a robust and scalable business model, backed by concrete data and market validation, is crucial. Building and showcasing a passionate, skilled team capable of executing the vision effectively significantly boosts investor confidence. Furthermore, fostering transparent and open communication, coupled with a track record of consistent progress and adaptability to market dynamics, forms the bedrock of attracting and securing valuable investments.
What challenges did you and your partner have to overcome to secure funding?
JB – Securing funding presented several challenges. One major hurdle was proving our platform’s scalability and market viability, especially as a relatively young company. Convincing investors of UniTaskr’s potential amidst market uncertainties was challenging. Additionally, differentiating ourselves in a competitive landscape required showcasing our unique value proposition effectively. Overcoming these obstacles involved persistent efforts in presenting data-backed evidence, a compelling narrative of our growth trajectory, and demonstrating the platform’s value proposition clearly. Building trust and credibility with potential investors was an ongoing process that required consistent dedication and resilience from both myself and my partner.
How important is relationship building when it comes to securing funding? What advice can you give to our readers who are starting their fundraising journey?
OJ – Relationship building is integral to securing funding. Establishing genuine connections and fostering trust with potential investors is crucial. Building strong relationships requires open, transparent communication, showcasing progress, and aligning goals and values. Advice for those starting their fundraising journey: Focus on building long-term relationships. Clearly articulate your vision and demonstrate how investor support aligns with their interests. Leverage networking opportunities, attend industry events, and seek mentorship. Remember, it’s not just about securing funds; it’s about building partnerships that support your business’s growth and success.