Molly Johnson-Jones, Flexa Careers
Flexa Careers recently raised a £2.3m seed round led by Ada Ventures to expand its global reach. Co-founder and CEO Molly Johnson-Jones shares the inspiration behind the launch of the business in 2020, how the team chose its new venture partners, how it measures success, and more.
- Could you tell us about what Flexa Careers does?
Flexa Careers flips the hiring process on its head. Ultimately, Flexa is the global search engine for verified flexible companies. Candidates come to us to search for their ideal working environments, and companies get discovered by the very best talent, build their employer brand, and make a meaningful impact to DEI in the hiring process.
The platform vets and verifies companies through a two-stage benchmarking process; looking at everything from their approach to working locations to what benefits are on offer, before surveying current employees to check what it’s really like to work there.
- When and why did you decide to start the business?
Flexa Careers was inspired by my experience of asking a former employer to work from home one day per week, to accommodate my chronic health condition. Within 10 days of making the request, I was sacked. My subsequent job hunt was fraught with anxiety thanks to the lack of clarity around companies’ working or flexible hours policies.
It’s this lack of transparency which leaves candidates disempowered and in the dark, and which prompted me (alongside my co-founders Maurice and Tim) to create a better way of finding genuinely flexible companies.
- You have recently raised a seed funding round - how did you choose your venture partners, and what will the fresh funding enable you to do?
A key factor during this round was that we targeted predominantly female investors. I really wanted to create a balanced cap table and was thrilled to achieve it.
We want every progressive employer in the world to get Flexified, and we want everyone - wherever they are based - to go to Flexa Careers first when they are looking for a new role. The platform has already been used by candidates across 70 countries, and this recent funding will enable us to further expand and solidify our global reach.
- How much importance do you place on non-financial support (operational, strategic, etc) from your investors?
We are very fortunate that we have a broad set of skills within the founding team, and therefore we don’t rely heavily on outside support. Having said that, an outside opinion and sounding board is often extremely helpful when making big decisions, and our investors have been exceptionally helpful so far.
- What has been the most difficult or challenging part of growing your business, and how have you addressed that challenge?
As a woman, as someone with a chronic illness, and as someone who launched a business with their partner, I can face bias on three different fronts in the business world. This means overcoming other people’s preconceptions about who I am and what I’m capable of - particularly when it comes to raising funding - have made for the most challenging moments.
Engaging with female investors meant that at least one of those three barriers was suddenly no longer an issue. It made me feel more comfortable and removed some of the biases and misconceptions that I’d faced when raising our first round.
- How do you measure success for Flexa Careers, and what have been some of your key achievements over the past 12-18 months?
I love data, and nothing makes me happier than when our engagement figures hit new highs. Seeing record numbers of companies get Flexified is also always a great feeling, since I know how careful a vetting process precedes this.
An obvious highlight over the past year or so has been completing our funding round. Besides this, it’s an honour that others have started thinking of me as a thought leader in this space, and that Maire Claire, LinkedIn and conferences around the world have reached out to me to share my thoughts on the ‘future of work’.
- What advice would you give an entrepreneur just starting out about how to grow their business, and secure funding?
The coming months will definitely be a tricky time to raise fresh capital and it’s always important to be somewhat cautious with your runway. Equally, we spent far too much time listening to other people and doubting ourselves in the early days! So my advice would be to believe in your own abilities and focus on building a team around you who believes in you and your vision, too. These will be the people who - if empowered and properly supported - will help you ride out the market turbulence.