He’s Helped 20,000 Land a Job, $4m Raised, $200k MRR

Chau Nguyen

In Episode #740, Nathan interviews Chau Nguyen. He’s the founder and CEO of Hirewire, an on-demand hiring app for hourly workers. In his previous venture, Chau hired over 20K people only to realize his hiring process was broken—and that’s when he got the idea for Hirewire. To date, Chau has raised $4.1M in funding.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “There is no replacement for hard work”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:14 – Nathan introduces Chau to the show
  • 01:47 – Chau’s previous venture was Campus Special
    • 01:50 – It’s an online platform for college students
    • 02:00 – They had 4K sales representatives meeting merchants
    • 02:11 – Chau had Campus Special for 8.5 years before selling to a public company a few years back
    • 02:28 – Chau was 25 when he launched Campus Special and he’s 36 now
    • 02:47 – Campus Special was doing $15M in revenue when he sold it for $25M
    • 03:45 – The negotiation was just about what the buyers would pay for it
    • 03:55 – It was bittersweet for Chau to sell Campus Special but still proud of it
    • 04:27 – Chau owned 100% of Campus Special
  • 05:00 – Chau stayed on board with the acquirer for a year
  • 05:30 – Chau thought that he can use his past experience in hiring
  • 06:15 – With Hirewire, Chau saw the need to invest heavily on the product and technology, hence the fund raise
    • 06:29 – Initial raised was $2M and the next round was $2M as well
    • 06:36 – Both rounds are convertible note
  • 06:47 – Hirewire is a marketplace where employers and job seekers can connect
    • 06:52 – It is a mobile app to speed up the process
    • 07:00 – There’s chatting with images and videos
    • 07:06 – Next release will be focused on on-demand hiring
    • 07:25 – Hirewire has a monthly subscription for employers and free for applicants
    • 08:10 – Hirewire has a pay as you go model for small businesses
    • 08:20 – The monthly subscription is usually for big companies like McDonalds
    • 08:40 – Hirewire’s core customer based is the recurring customers
    • 08:48 – Hirewire focuses on the restaurant industry which has the highest turnover
    • 09:08 – Hirewire charges per location per month, starting at $50 to $100 depending on usage
  • 09:53 – Hirewire was first launched in Atlanta and was on beta for year
    • 10:00 – They launched with nothing
    • 10:24 – In one year, Hirewire got 4K employers to sign up, over 100K job seekers with around 1K people hired
  • 10:56 – Hirewire has 2 drivers that allowed them to grow quickly
    • 11:00 – First is hitting a pain point
    • 11:44 – Second is doing the application online
  • 12:14 – Hirewire is in 4K locations with 5K hiring managers
    • 12:30 – Some locations can have at least 2 hiring managers
  • 12:40 – Average MRR is a little over 200K
    • 13:06 – Hirewire has been and is still testing pricing
  • 13:31 – Gross customer churn
    • 13:40 – A restaurant’s churn could be 100-200% like losing an entire team
    • 13:56 – Prior to launch, Chau was really afraid of what will happen but still think that they make the hiring process easier and faster
    • 14:19 – Ultimately, people will stay where they’re happy and making money
    • 14:31 – Hirewire is retaining 95% of the employees which makes the churn 5%
  • 14:50 – Team size is around 15 based in Atlanta
  • 15:07 – Hirewire does paid acquisition
    • 15:17 – 50% of the job seekers are from organic traffic
    • 15:23 – Hirewire also uses social media channels to drive users and has spent $10-25K monthly
  • 15:54 – Freightos has a marketplace model plus SaaS
  • 16:38 – Chau’s goal for Hirewire is to be very sticky with high retention on the employer side
  • 17:19 – Hirewire is not making money on the marketplace aspect and just on the SaaS aspect
  • 19:10 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. You can’t stay at where you are forever, change is constant so move on and start anew.
  2. Leverage what you’ve learned in the past to create something that can refine the system.
  3. Always test your product first.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Simplero – The easiest way to start and sell your course
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives