The Graduateland Story
The cliché startup story usually includes a few college dropouts who build something brilliant in a garage. So what do you do if you live in apartments with no garage? The Graduateland story has classical elements from the startup cliché, including quitting university before graduation, but the initial thoughts, product brain storming, and coding were done in a corner of an old warehouse stocked with ladies' clothes. Since then a lot has happened and the story is still going. Keep reading and get to know us.
The first steps
Two business school students, Jens and Patrick, were put in a study group together. Patrick went on exchange to Paris, and Jens visited. Both red wine and ideas were flowing and the concept of Graduateland was conceived.
...three experienced tech entrepreneurs, Morten, Jonas and Jesper, and the founding team was established.
This is the worst idea ever...
... was what Jens and Patrick were told, when they handed in their bachelor’s thesis about the startup. The assignment was graded 02, which is the lowest passable grade in Danish educational system.
Who said ‘minimum viable product’?
BAM! The site is online...
... and we felt like we had been thrown into the deep end of the pool - would people sign up and use the portal? Almost a year’s hard work was coming down to this moment.
And the winner is...
...Graduateland! We participated in Venture Cup and took the People’s Prize award. Meanwhile user number 10.000 was welcomed to the portal.
First sale made...
... of the impressive amount of €35. The job is a position as ‘Football Watcher’ in London - the Graduateland business was looking promising!
Silicon Valley Fieldtrip
... and we were introduced to cool entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and tech gurus. Roasting marshmallows with Steve Blank and smoking pipes with Nolan Bushnell is a normal day in Palo Alto.
The first employees arrive...
...and the office is suddenly vibrant with two new guys from two different countries.
Showing off on the big stage
At Arctic15 (hosted by Arctic Startup), in Helsinki, Finland, Graduateland wins the Audience Prize, due to a great stage performance and because our Baltic programmer hacked the mobile voting app.
The first Gateway is implemented
... and it was at our very own university, Copenhagen Business School. Only a short while later, the University of Lund implemented theirs.
Our hard work lobbying had panned out.
Taking part in Denmark’s best growth incubator...
... which took Graduateland through a five-month process of getting to know our core business and value propositions. And we gained Dr. Knudsen as our consultant, who has been, and still is, an invaluable resource to our company.
First 100,000 users!
Wooow...! Actually there are users from every country on earth using Graduateland.
Almost 4,000 different employers have uploaded jobs manually so the portals definitely have some traction.
From startup to growth
Graduateland wins Connect Denmark's most prestigious prize, Growth Creator of the Year. A nice pat on the shoulder as Connect Denmark primarily consists of prominent business leaders.
First round of external funding is received, and the days of hardcore bootstrapping are over. "They don't need to convince investors that they can make money - only how much" - Quote: Dr. Knudsen, Accelerace Invest
After having had the portal online for more than 2 years, we concluded that a total redesign was in order. Fonts, colours, layouts, and designs were given an extreme makeover, which was celebrated on launch night with champagne and Europe's The Final Countdown
So this Big Data is pretty hot...?
Everybody was throwing around buzzwords like algorithms, data mining, engagement, and growth hacking. We wanted to join in - enter the new and improved Dashboard, filled with intelligent content, notifications, and sliding effects.
Next stop - Benelux
Our friends from KU Leuven in Belgium became our first European university outside of Scandinavia that was ready for a Graduateland portal. Only a few days after the launch, more than 5,000 students had signed up, and employers were busy posting their jobs.
New people and new offices
The geographical expansion is a reality as we almost simultaneously opened up two new offices - one in Stockholm and one in London. Shouting across the office was suddenly not enough and chatting and Skyping quickly became an essential part of daily communication.
Having visited almost all of the universities in the Netherlands it had to happen - we signed first university in the land of tulips and windmills. Designed like an old castle, with moat and all, we went online on Nyenrode Business School, south of Amsterdam.
The coldest January ever...
... resulted in cold fingers, but also in closed deals in two different countries. Joakim and Patrick divided the Baltics amongst themselves, and left Copenhagen the same day. A lot of interesting university meetings, and soon after we went online on Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania, and University of Latvia in Latvia. An exciting new region!
Cup of tea?
Students and alumni in the UK and Ireland also need great career portals with an international twist. The Graduateland Gateway was the obvious choice for our new partners at University of Hull and Trinity College Dublin. Happy recruitment of native English-speakers, dear recruiters.