BeQuan: 'Unexpectedly we have a growth market to deal with'
Rogier Visser (38) succeeded in expanding jobsmatch.nl into one of the largest job sites in the Netherlands. Although the price fighter turned the market upside down, the crisis threw a spanner in the works. His latest addition: BeQuan, a social network for companies, brands and artists. Visser did not need long to think about the location for lunch; Bar Mustaches, a pub on the Utrechtsestraat in Amsterdam where, according to him, 'fortunately there is no such a corporate atmosphere
Rogier Visser (38) succeeded in expanding jobsmatch.nl into one of the largest job sites in the Netherlands. Although the price fighter turned the market upside down, the crisis threw a spanner in the works. His latest addition: BeQuan, a social network for companies, brands and artists.
Visser did not need long to think about the location for lunch; Bar Mustaches, a pub on the Utrechtsestraat in Amsterdam where, according to him, 'fortunately there is no such a corporate atmosphere.' It is also the café of Visser's friend and former soap actor Tim Immers. "I thought it was great that he dared to take the step from television to catering. I even helped with painting here. "As an entrepreneur, he also made a switch several times. Not as radical as ever and sometimes more by chance.
For Visser, the entrepreneurial adventure started in 2009 with the site Banenmatch.nl, a prize fighter in the huge market of job sites. "We wanted to compete against sites such as the National Vacancy Bank and Monsterboard. The latter was our biggest competitor and at that time asked up to five hundred euros for a vacancy that was online for about ten days. As a result, many SMEs and small businesses were unable to find it. And a large group of employees, particularly middle and lower educated, could not be reached online. As a small entrepreneur you therefore posted a note on your window rather than placing a vacancy online. "
With Job Match, Visser jumped into this hole. And fought the market by asking less than half of the competition or sometimes even nothing at all. Access to the CV database was also completely free - completely unusual. "It is the second product that most job sites earn substantially. By giving this feature away for free, a large number of companies went to try us. The AdWords campaigns on 'free vacancy posting' did well at the time. We got more vacancies, and therefore more visitors, which resulted in more resumes. "
Nevertheless, it remained difficult to find a good revenue model for Job Match. Everything was tried out, from subscriptions, pay per click to pay per view. "In the end, it became pay per performance, which gave customers unlimited access to the platform and only passed costs when there was actually an action. Like reactions to a vacancy. "
Although the site became the largest in the Netherlands, partly due to the economic crisis and the cutthroat competition, Visser decided to sell 75 percent of his shares at the beginning of last year for 'a very nice amount'. "The market has become much smaller in a few years. The turnover of Monsterboard had even dropped from about fifty million sales to seven or eight million. We made one million euro turnover at the time. "
With the money Visser started the next step in his career, the development of a social network for jobseekers, called BeQuan. Originally conceived as the successor of Banenmatch and a counterpart for LinkedIn. As a loose network, however, it was not a long life. "We did a hundred assumptions that did not turn out to be correct afterwards. For example, we had made a mistake in the amount of information that people (the same target group as Job Match, ed.) Wanted to share with us. We turned out to ask too much of them, so some people turned out. "Fortunately, the users who were active on it turned out to be about thirty thousand, though enthusiastic.
Even before the platform was officially launched, Visser was already asked by Randstad employment agency to make a white label version of it. "As a social intranet for jobseekers and to communicate internally." A wish that also lived with companies such as ABN AMRO and FNV Bondgenoten. Thanks to, among others, clothing company Hunkemöller and singer Wolter Kroes, BeQuan made the step to a community for both brands and artists. "That is a new market that hardly knows any suppliers. Only Backplane, a start-up of Lady Gaga, in the United States does something similar. Competitors such as the free social network Ning do not play a significant role in this. They are old-fashioned and no longer meet the requirements of this time. "
Although BeQuan did not reach the ambition of a million members in six months, the pivot to a social network for companies proved to be successful. This year, Visser expects to make a turnover of three million euros with the current orders alone. In 2016 at least double. "With this switch we unexpectedly have a huge growth market. Companies with a lot of Likes see their online reach decrease, because there is too much information in a network, so Facebook filters you out unless you pay. In addition, they do not always provide relevant data about your customers. With us you have that in your own hands. "
Meanwhile, he is already hoping for a re-launch of BeQuan as a public social network. "We are working with a number of parties to create a joint venture, so that we can take operational, commercial and strategic steps." All lessons learned from the past year have been incorporated into the new version of the platform. "And so this year we will still put BeQuan on the market as an alternative for LinkedIn."
* This interview appeared earlier in the February issue of Emerce magazine (# 137)