Governor Dannel Malloy has talked a lot about the importance of big business in his first few weeks on the job, and he’s sat down with many of the state’s largest employers. Monday in New London he visited with a small company, that ten years ago was just one man and his computer. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went along.
Governor Dannel Malloy is being given a tour of JobTarget, a New London company founded in 2000 by Andrew Banever. JobTarget helps job seekers and employers find each other through websites and proprietary software that target recruiting ads to find just the right people. Banever began the company as a solo enterprise.
“I spent about 14 months building the first version of the technology which was an online web application that could allow any website to have its own niche-orientated job site. A place for employers to come and post jobs targeted to that audience, and where jobseekers could manage their resumes and apply for jobs specifically focused for them.”
At the beginning he was sleeping in an office and living off his credit cards. Eight months later he had his first few clients, and hired his first employee. Now, ten years later, he has more than 11 hundred clients, he employs 70 people and he’s currently looking for ten more. But Banever says it’s hard to think of his company as an overnight success.
“It doesn’t feel that way, I’ll tell you that. I guess in hindsight if you look back, the company’s had healthy, consistent growth, year over year. As an entrepreneur, there’s many times, even now, that you think about, well, maybe everything’s going wrong.”
Along his journey, Banever has attracted some talent himself from much bigger companies. Tristan Jordan used to be a hiring manager at Mastercard in New York.
“Mastercard had a problem that JobTarget solved. Even in the midst of a recession, we were struggling to find the talent that we wanted. It took a long time to hire good talent and find the right people to bring in the door. So through research I found JobTarget as a company that actually addressed that problem.”
Jordan was so taken with the company that now he’s head of marketing for Job Target. He says he’s glad he made the switch.
“Not only does this company I think have tremendous potential for growth, it solves a problem that I think is really helpful to society in general, which is helping people find meaningful work.”
And he says the Governor’s visit validates what JobTarget has been able to achieve.
“I think at first folks said—well, gee, why’s the Governor coming to little JobTarget, but when you look at the performance of this company, and the growth that we’ve had and the employment we’ve brought to the region—and will continue to—I’m not surprised that he decided to come and learn more about us.”
JobTarget CEO Andrew Banever told the Governor he wants to see more help for small businesses in terms of state-backed lending and permanent job-creation tax credits. Malloy agreed the state must put systems in place to help companies just like this.
“This is a very dynamic environment here, experiencing 50 percent growth, adding 20 people in the last year, and reasonably predicting to add that number or more in the next year is pretty darn impressive. And it’s the kind of growth of small businesses within Connecticut that we’ve got to figure out how to promote.”
He says his new team at DECD will be charged with finding more ways to incentivize and grow tech successes like JobTarget.