This week, we have interviewed Kane Halsey the CEO of one of our newest portfolio companies Pickr.
Find out what makes him tick…
1.What’s your name and where do you come from?
Kane Halsey and I’m from Norfolk.
2.Give us a quick overview of your company and what it does.
Pickr is a digital staffing platform that connects workers with the industrial businesses who need their skills.
Pickr empowers these businesses with the tools they need to get the job done quicker, more efficiently and cheaper than traditional recruitment methods.
3.What’s the next big idea that nobody is thinking about yet? Why is this so important?
Technology has been used to revolutionise the way we do everything, from ordering food to how you can date. So why not recruitment? This is a real problem for some sectors who are ignored by both recruiters and other staffing platforms, specifically utilities and telecoms industries who we serve.
These sectors need skilled workers on a flexible basis, often at short notice. Pickr has streamlined the whole process of prospecting workers, through to hiring and even managing productivity on site. Traditional recruiters simply cannot deliver the quantity or quality of workers for these roles quickly or cost effectively. Pickr can and the more businesses and workers who sign up the more value we can deliver
4.Looking back to the day you founded the company, what is the one thing you wish you had known before starting off?
I think it’s about being tech first. We spent a lot of time developing a technology to serve a generic jobs market. Now we’ve found we can deliver the most value to a specific industrial niche with the capability to completely disrupt the sector. It’s frustrating to know in retrospect that time could have been better spent, but that’s part of the growing and learning process.
5.How do you define success for you / your company?
I think most people’s measure of success would be profitability and that’s a pretty good one! If you have a product people want and need it will ultimately be successful.
I know we’re on to a good thing because our customers tell us so. We’ve created a platform that challenges the status quo and is solving problems which have been limiting their businesses since they began. That not only allows our business to be successful, but others to.
6.What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute to your ability to achieve what you have achieved so far?
My ability to deal with ambiguity has served me well over the years.I’m pretty good at thinking on my feet during challenging times and come up with creative solutions to problems which would have otherwise held me back.
7.What’s your top idea to improve diversity in the workplace?
Hiring as award-winning business women as my COO has already improved the numbers!
Jokes aside, the Pickr team is relatively diverse, other than in the Dev team which is typically all male but that’s an industry wide problem. I like to feel we do our bit to even that imbalance by sponsoring the local DevelopHer Awards which provides a valuable platform for championing women in tech.
8.What is the best advice you have ever been given and by whom?
When I was studying business management at UEA one of our lecturers shared something that still resonates with me. I may be (badly) paraphrasing, but it was something along the lines of dreams don’t happen just because you want them to. You have to work for them because they’re in direct competition with someone else’s. I think they’re a lot of truth in that. It’s all very well wanting things, but if you don’t put the hours in they’ll never materialise.
9.What was the most useful resource (networks/books/websites/blogs) you used when starting out?
Tech East has proved a valuable resource as we’ve scaled up. Not only did they introduce me to Hayley our COO who is a Tech East board member, but it’s useful to have a community of start-up’s around who’ve already been there and done that. Norfolk has a vibrant tech community which offers a lot of learning opportunities for everyone in the business.
10.What is the single most important thing you’ve done to increase the value of your business?
The single most important thing that’s happened so far has been securing investment. Episode 1’s support has not only validated Pickr’s premise, but it’s also allowed me to build an absolute dream team who are making my ideas a reality.
I think the people you surround yourself with can either make or break your business and I feel very lucky to have so much talent behind me. We’ve got some real momentum going and I’ve never been more excited for Pickr’s future.
11. What has been the hardest decision you’ve had to make in your entrepreneurial journey?
There’s been a few times in my career where I’ve faced difficult situations and, in those times, the most difficult and perhaps the most important thing, is committing to your chosen course of action. It’s the principle of taking emotion of the table and being honest about what works and what doesn’t. That can lead to some difficult conversations that no one enjoys but It’s better for everyone in the long term if you do.
12.What will be the biggest change to how we lead our lives in 15 years? And what won’t have changed?
There’s certainly lots of changes that are occurring in the world at the moment, many of which wouldn’t have been predicted 15 years ago so it’s hard to pin down an idea of what the future looks like.
In our field, I think with the increasing prevalence of AI and robotics, the world of work is going to change. The gig economy will continue to flourish as people want work that ‘works’ for them. Technology will play a big role in facilitating that but ultimately the world won’t be unrecognisable form the one we’re living in today.
13.Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I’m the proud father to a high maintenance schnauzer called Raffles! She comes in the office every day to do her bit for the Pickr mission. That mostly involves eating chicken and shouting at anyone who walks to fast!
14.If you could be offline for 3 days -where would you go and what would you do?
I’d immediately find an internet connection. Only joking…maybe.
If I had three days to spare, I’d take my wife Flo to Paris. We’d do lots of meandering between café’s, drinking wine and reading business books.