TechDirect co-founders Paula Barry and Sascha Kara. Photo: supplied
When founders talk about the problem they set out to solve, finding the right tech team to help inevitably becomes part of the story.
TechDirect set out to cut to the chase in that adventure by solving the problem on the way to problems – hiring tech people.
The startup allows companies to directly connect, pitch and negotiate with over 70 verified and reviewed Australian IT contractors for tech projects. It’s Australia’s first specialised marketplace for IT talent, has been used by more than 20 companies and has another 150 IT specialists about to join the platform.
Co-founders Paula Barry and Sascha Kara came up with the idea after literally struggling themselves to find local IT people. You could call the result Airtasker for coders.
“We started this business after realising just how hard it is to find the right tech talent in Australia,” Kara said.
“The biggest pain point was finding the right person for a niche role. Companies need to move quickly with technology, yet the time spent on hiring staff is greatly slowing them down.
“We’ve spent the past year building out the platform and finding talent. Building out a two-sided marketplace is always a challenge, but we feel we’ve hit a watershed moment in our growth and can now see real momentum behind our business.”
Conscious of research that it can take up to 68 days to hire tech staff in Australia and that recruiters scoop up 20% of someone’s annual salary as payment, they developed TechDirect to get from A-to-B as quickly as possible for less cost.
When you’re looking to hire tech staff, you can search for them on TechDirect based on their specialisation and location. The appropriate candidates are ranked based on their relevance and past experience, as well as being reviewed on their past work.
After negotiations on the job that needs to be done are finalised, TechDirect handles the contractor’s invoicing and payment, charging 10% of the hourly rate as its fee.
No skills shortage
The interesting thing, when the tech sector often often complains about a skills shortage, is that Kara found the opposite was true – connecting them was the problem.
“We constantly hear stories of a tech talent shortage, yet within less than a year we were able to find and vet over 90 — with 150 pending approval — technology contractors for our platform,” he said.
“Many told us that it’s a lot harder to find work than what the media makes it out to be. As for the ones that are hired, they often end up bored doing work that wasn’t what they originally been brought in to do.
“We can only conclude that tech talent in Australia is under-utilised rather than there’s a shortage.”
While there are already marketplaces for one-off jobs or overseas developers, Paula Barry says the duo set out to target the gap in the market for longer-term contract IT talent.
“We want to connect companies with the best tech talent that Australia has to offer, and help mitigate their risk in finding a tech for their needs,” she said.
Kara says a year on, they’re “really heartened” by their results so far.
“We have over 90 techs on the platform and 23 clients — three of which are listed companies. There’s been overwhelming support for our platform from the tech community,” he said.
“Initially, our biggest challenge was convincing larger companies to use the platform, but we’re now making significant headway with this too. “
Their goal it to make TechDirect a focal point for technology recruitment in Australia
“And playing a crucial role in changing attitudes around hiring tech contractors to supplement full-time staff,” Kara said.