A Toronto startup is picking up some traction—and prize money—after one of the most well-known entrepreneurs in the world handpicked it to win a pitch competition.
Swob is the first Canadian company ever to win Virgin Mobile’s #PitchToRich event, taking home $10,000, but maybe more importantly, some key advice and networking from famed Virgin Mobile founder Richard Branson.
“Canada was and still is dominated by a lot of very big companies but big companies get fat and flabby and therefore that leads to good opportunity for entrepreneurs to come and stick their finger in their stomach and shake them up a bit,” said Branson. “A country benefits from thousands and thousands of young entrepreneurs with thousands of different ideas trying to make people’s lives better.”
Swob is an app that helps connect students with open job opportunities. Branson compared as “Tinder for jobs,” considering the name itself comes from a combination of swipe and job. The app helps target students in industries with high turnover rates such as retail and food services. They can access full-time, part-time and seasonal employment, and employers have the benefit of a safe and efficient way to sort potential candidates.
The Virgin Mobile #PitchToRich contest has been held in the U.S., U.K., and Mexico before. This is the first time it has come to Canada.
Those with ideas for the competition had to pitch an online video, and Branson and Virgin Mobile ended up receiving thousands of entries before selecting Swob as the eventual winner. The criteria was that the idea simply had to make the lives of users better.
Swob’s founders are a brother/sister duo consisting of Stephanie and Alexander Florio. They had a chance to sit down and have coffee with Branson and explore how the mobile generation is disrupting how people access traditional resources such as job boards.
When applying for jobs, a big aspect involved in the process is security and Swob makes sure to champion privacy. They use fully-encrypted communications between their backend, dashboard and the app, not to mention storing encrypted passwords, so even the founders cannot find out what a real password is—that means no leaks.
Swob goes by a monthly pricing scheme, split into categories of how many jobs a business may be posting.
The app comes at a perfect time if any recent studies are to be believed. Reports from the likes of Intuit Canada have shown that Generation Z is much more likely to embrace the “side hustle”—that is, finding another job to supplement their normal nine-to-five. Swob can help those looking for another income find it that much more easily.