60 second start-up: Escape the City

Dom Jackman and Rob Symington are founders of community-based recruitment website Escape the City, launched tomorrow. Can they beat the Smarta stopwatch?

0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence
Escape the City provides exciting options for young professionals who want to do something different.

5-10 seconds: What's the business model?
Our model is community-based. We are building a tribe of like-minded people who want fulfilling work outside of the corporate mainstream. The value in this model will come from connecting talented young professionals with exciting and innovative organisations that can provide the kind of 'different' opportunities that we're looking for.

10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?
There are lots of career change services, job boards, and even 'escape the corporate 9-5' consultants and pro-bloggers out there. However, we couldn't find anything useful or specific enough that met our requirements when we were looking to escape our own corporate jobs to do something different. We've decided to build that something.

15-20 seconds: What's your USP?
We have two target audiences:

1.    Our USP to young professionals is that we're building a platform specifically to help them solve a pressing challenge: 'how to find interesting, exciting and fulfilling work outside of the mainstream?'

2.    Our USP to our target organisations is that we can provide them with introductions to talented young professionals they might not otherwise be able to reach.

20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?
We're funding it with our savings and some financial backing from private investors who share our vision of helping young people do work that allows them to have a positive impact.

25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?
We were both management consultants. Although we enjoyed the work, we both knew that we wanted to be doing something else with our lives. The term Imposter Syndrome definitely applied to us ('acting out the motions in a job that you know isn't right for you').

30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from the dozens of conversations we have had with other young professionals about their jobs. We realised that a scary proportion of young people find their corporate jobs unfulfilling. We think that's a real shame given the impact they could be having, given the right opportunities - so the idea came from wanting to solve this problem.

35-40 seconds: What's the smartest thing you've done so far?
We started our blog way before launching our main website. Without the blog we would still be two guys with an idea, working on a website behind the scenes. As it is, we've interacted with 1000s of people online, created considerable momentum, and developed our idea in public with feedback from the very people we're designing it for.

40-45 seconds: What's the stupidest?
Thankfully, we haven't yet done anything really stupid. Worryingly, this means that all the spectacular blunders are probably still to come...

Not having our work and data backed up for a while was pretty stupid. Back in November I left my laptop in a café and went to the loo. I had to fight the urge to run back to my table with my trousers round my ankles when I realised how disastrous it would be if it was stolen!

45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?
A Cadbury's Timeout, because so many people find themselves on a corporate treadmill without asking themselves why they're doing it (ourselves included). We want to help people think differently about their careers and their direction in life.

50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?
JustGiving - The perfect business model?  Makes loads of money and is a brilliant vehicle for a lot of 'doing good'. What more could you want from a business?

55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months' time?
Living the lifestyle of our dreams helping other people live the lifestyle of their dreams? Over 20,000 members and a revenue-generating job board filled with the most exciting opportunities on the web.

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