Founder Spotlight: RapidHire

Cardinal Ventures
4 min readMay 27, 2019

This week, we had a great conversation with Luisa, Jon, Jaime, and Cisco the founders of RapidHire: a referral hiring solution for small & medium-sized businesses in the food & hospitality industry. By maximizing referral hiring outcomes and leveraging existing employee bases within and across companies, RapidHire aims to increase hiring speed, reduce costs, and create better matching experience for both parties involved. We are very excited about the progress RapidHire has made over the quarter!

RapidHire’s founders: Jon Eisler (TL), Jaime Del Castillo (TR), Cisco Vlahakis (BL), and Luisa Gerstner (BR)

When did you all meet, and how did you decide to start working together?

Luisa: Jaime and I met in the first week of our MBA. We connected at first sight over our shared passion for entrepreneurship and soon met for a couple of ideation/ brainstorming sessions. We soon brought Jon on board, whom I had worked with at McKinsey in Zurich. We soon decided that we wanted to solve the hiring and retention issues of low-skilled heavy industries, starting off in the restaurant market. We connected with Cisco over our shared passion of helping low-skilled workers as he is coming from a proud family of blue-collar workers.

What kinds of experiences did you have prior to RapidHire, entrepreneurial or otherwise? What is the most important lesson you have learned from this time, and how do you bring this to your current venture?

Jaime: During college, I opened my own restaurant in Barcelona and run it for 6 years before successfully selling it. During this time, I experienced our customers’ pain points with the team every day.

Cisco: As a biology and computer science enthusiast, I have conducted research in muscular dystrophy, and distributed datasets. During a few months in college, I worked as a part-time baker and learned firsthand the struggles of low-skilled workers.

Jon: Raised by two psychologists I am very passionate about the topics of organizational culture and team dynamics. I have strategy consulting experience in low-skill heavy industries.”

Luisa: Next to three years at McKinsey, I have worked in fast growing startups on growth, product, and operations. This has equipped me with the toolkit to break problems down, try out new solutions, learn from them, and iterate — while moving fast. In addition, my experience at McKinsey has equipped me with great communication skills, which makes it easy to engage more corporate customers and start our selling conversations with bigger chains.

What is the most critical initiative you are working on now for RapidHire, and how do plan on achieving it?

We have confirmed in more than 100 interviews that the hiring and retention issues is a big pain point not only for restaurants, but many low-skilled industries in the United States. This, combined with a big market of more than 23 million low-skilled employees, represents a huge opportunity. Our most critical initiative at the moment is to find product market fit — we have developed our first MVP, yet the employee engagement is lacking. Therefore, we are running multiple tests to improve employee engagement, while exploring additional measures to solve the hiring and retention issues in our focus industries.

How has the GSB impacted the direction you are taking with RapidHire? What is the most valuable resource you have taken advantage of here?

The GSB has helped us tremendously. Classes such as Startup Garage, Create a New Venture or Launchpad have provided us with invaluable guidance and the GSB network has been an enormous source of insight and advice. Whatever problem or question you have there is someone in the GSB community who has solved it before and is willing to help.

We also want to thank the Stanford Venture Studio, which has not only provided us with a great variety of supporting resources, but also went the extra mile to connect us with investors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs.

If you had to give one piece of advice to other young founders, what would that be?

We believe that one of our biggest mistakes was to develop and perfect our digital MVP before we had discovered product-market fit. Therefore — find product market fit first, using scrappy, concierge prototypes before you develop your digital MVP. This will allow you to prioritize better and also gives you more flexibility and speed in running different experiments.

Check out the latest version of RapidHires’ platform at rapidhire.net

We are so happy to have RapidHire on our cohort this spring! Their dedication to understanding the problem space and ability to move fast has shown through over the past 10 weeks. They will be presenting at Cardinal Venture’s Demo Day on May 30th. If you would like to get in touch with them, find Luisa, Jaime, Jon, and Cisco on LinkedIn. You can also check out their latest work here.

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Cardinal Ventures

Cardinal Ventures is a startup accelerator on the Stanford campus run by students, for students.