L-Spark startup launches product at San Francisco festival

A two-man startup enrolled in L-Spark’s current accelerator program has some pretty big shoes to fill.

CareerJSM recently launched its job search management platform at Launch Festival in San Francisco, an event known for being a springboard to success for the likes of FitBit, Dropbox and Mint.

“If we can be five per cent as successful as some of those, we would be really excited,” CareerJSM co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Doucet said in a recent interview with OBJ.

CareerJSM’s technology manages job searches for entry-level workers. It provides information about prospective employers, finds potential opportunities and provides interview tips.

Its product is being delivered to 20 post-secondary institutions across Ontario, Mr. Doucet said, adding the company has American clients in its pipeline. Schools pay for the product and then deliver it to their students.

He said the software was born out of the frustration he and co-founder Tristan Toye were feeling over the lack of technology and support for entry-level job seekers. The product they designed has evolved over the past 18 months to the point where customers are becoming really excited about it.

“I can tell you we have six-figure revenue with a team of two,” Mr. Doucet said.

The two McMaster University graduates are currently negotiating their seed round, expected this spring, and one of their potential investors suggested they apply for the Launch Festival.

Once at the festival, the pair had four minutes to present their product. They then answered questions from a panel of five judges.

Some of the 15 startups received a rough ride from the panel, but Mr. Doucet said CareerJSM received top marks from one judge, second-place votes from two others and third-place votes from the remaining two. One of the judges said he thinks the Ontario entrepreneurs will make a lot of money.

“So that was exciting to hear,” Mr. Doucet said.

He said he found out about L-Spark through Hamilton tech circles and credits the accelerator with CareerJSM’s rapid development.

“In September, I would say we were a couple of kids with a good idea,” he said, adding that L-Spark and their mentor Peter Becke have been “huge” in helping the duo prepare for their seed round.

While Mr. Doucet said he’s not sure exactly “when we get the cap and walk across the stage,” he expects the L-Spark connection to remain strong once they leave the accelerator in about three months. Mr. Becke is chair of their company’s board.

Mr. Doucet said the short-term plan is to continue focusing on the entry-level job seeker market to drive growth and revenues since that is where they have the most traction right now.

“Where I expect the company to be in five years is being the platform for managing your job search at any stage of your career,” he said.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity.”