When it comes to tech, the world wakes up to new realities every day. This week’s interview highlights how tech is changing the wor
Jephtah Abu is the architect of Talentpoel, which is changing the way that talent is acquired. With an ambition to connect individuals with opportunities, he created a platform that uses technology to completely transform the recruitment process. Talentpoel delivers streamlined hiring procedures and enables job searchers by utilising cutting-edge data analytics.
Jephtah’s dedication to innovation and excellence has made him a respected thought leader, and his social responsibility projects have been instrumental in narrowing the digital gap in Africa. Jephtah serves as a visionary leader, establishing new benchmarks for HR technology and leaving a lasting impact as a trailblazer as Talentpoel reshapes the business.
Devrims: Hi Jephtah, thank you for your support. What inspired you to pursue a career in the tech industry, and how did you get started in this field?
Jephtah: Around 2016 or 2017, I embarked on my tech journey. During that period, my younger sister, who was in college at the time, earned $900 per month as a junior developer. This piqued my interest in high-paying remote jobs in the US.
Motivated by curiosity, I conducted research and discovered a community of like-minded individuals–as some would say, nerds. Since then, I have remained committed to this path, continuously exploring different career options within the tech industry. From 2016 to 2023, I have changed my career path more than seven times, driven by my passion for knowledge, particularly in the field of technology. I am always eager to learn about the latest developments and often find myself absorbing knowledge from diverse areas that may not be directly related to my primary field.
Devrims: Can you share some of your most notable achievements in your career so far, both professionally and personally?
Jephtah: Talentpoel is actually my third company, although not many people are aware of that fact. Before Talentpoel, I had the experience of starting two other companies, which served as valuable lessons on “how not to build a company.” What makes this achievement remarkable is that I accomplished all of this before reaching the age of 27.
Devrims: What is your opinion on the current state of the SaaS/PaaS industry, and what do you see as its biggest challenges and opportunities?
I’ve noticed a significant rise in AI features being incorporated into products, which is something we all witness. However, I believe this can present both opportunities and challenges. While these AI features are undoubtedly beneficial, there is a tendency for many SaaS/PaaS offerings to have similar AI functionalities. Looking ahead, I anticipate a future where SaaS companies differentiate themselves by offering more defined and distinctive AI products tailored to their customers’ specific needs.
Devrims: How did you come up with the idea for your own startup? What kind of solution does it provide to the market, and what motivated you to start your own venture?
Jephtah: Talentpoel’s story embodies the notion that great ideas often choose us, rather than the other way around. At the time, I was already engaged in another startup venture with a team and co-founder. We had invested $6,000 into developing the MVP.
However, one night while sitting in my office, Talentpoel appeared to me like a vision. I felt compelled to write it down, but initially dismissed it, considering the immense amount of work it would require. However, the idea persisted in my mind, eventually leading me to let go of the previous startup and wholeheartedly focus on Talentpoel. I am grateful to have had a supportive partner who understood the shift in direction. Additionally, being a non-technical person myself, I was acutely aware of the challenges faced when seeking employment. I often wondered: “It shouldn’t be this difficult to find a job.” I am delighted that through Talentpoel, we have created an opportunity for people in Africa to improve their livelihoods.
Devrims: What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced when starting his company, and how did he overcome them?
Jephtah: Ironically, the most amusing part of the journey was finding the right team for Talentpoel. I vividly recall approaching four individuals, all of whom rejected the opportunity. I felt disheartened and started questioning why they couldn’t see the same vision that I did. During this time, I sought advice from a friend who wisely suggested that I shouldn’t build with individuals who couldn’t align with my vision. Taking her words to heart, I proceeded with starting the company. A few months later, I encountered two remarkable individuals who wholeheartedly embraced the vision. It served as a reminder that sometimes you simply need to take that first step, and everything else falls into place organically.
Devrims: Can you talk about some of the key products or services that his company offers, and what makes them unique or innovative?
Jephtah: One pivotal factor that sets Talentpoel apart is our ability to provide high-quality talent at a cost-effective rate. In comparison to our competitors, we excel in offering our clients access to top-notch talent while ensuring affordability. However, our commitment doesn’t end at talent matching alone. We go the extra mile to ensure that our talents receive additional benefits such as HMO coverage and co-working allowances. Furthermore, we are actively working on establishing partnerships that will provide our talents with valuable resources for scholarship opportunities at universities. Our approach strikes a balance by delivering quality talent to our clients while equipping our talents with the necessary resources for personal and professional growth.
Devrims: What are some of the biggest accomplishments that your company has achieved so far, and what are its future goals and aspirations?
Jephtah: Currently, we have successfully acquired five clients and are approaching $9k monthly in received payments for our talent pool. This is a significant achievement considering that we only began operations in March. Our target for this year is to onboard 30 clients, a goal we are confident of achieving. Looking ahead, our vision extends beyond immediate milestones. We aspire to become the most trusted company in Africa for connecting non-technical individuals with global opportunities.
Devrims: How do you stay current with the latest trends and developments in the tech industry, and what resources or tools do you use to do so?
Jephtah: I avidly read tech newsletters and follow discussions on Twitter (no offense, Elon!). To stay up-to-date with the latest tech trends, I’ve customized my timeline to ensure I receive real-time information and insights from reliable sources.
Devrims: What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs or tech professionals who are looking to start their own company or advance in their careers?
Jephtah: When starting out, it’s important to brace yourself for heartbreak. I’m just kidding. In reality, two key qualities are crucial: persistence and consistency. It’s always wise to begin with modest goals. Instead of aiming to become a unicorn in your first year, focus on satisfying a smaller set of clients, perhaps even just ten. From there, you can steadily grow and expand your business.
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Devrims: Can you share any interesting or surprising insights or lessons that you have learned throughout his career, and how they have shaped his perspective or approach to his work?
Jephtah: Empathy is a vital aspect I’ve come to appreciate. While I may thrive on high workloads, I’ve realized that not everyone on my team can keep up with the same pace. It’s crucial for me to consider their unique work styles and make adjustments to ensure that burnout is avoided. Understanding their individual needs and finding a balance that supports their well-being has become a priority for me.
Devrims: Lastly, it would be great if you can share your workstation with us or any interesting memory from your life.
Jephtah: One memorable experience that stands out is the first time I DJed at a party. Not many people are aware, but I used to DJ during my college years. Being a music lover, that first party I DJed for holds a special place in my heart, and it’s an unforgettable memory for me.