Andreesen Horowitz, one of the worlds most famous venture capital firms says now is the time to start building ‘verticalized job marketplaces‘ AKA niche job boards. In a blog post on their site they detailed the reasons why.
Here’s the gist of their premise;
Clearly, these are not normal times. So we can’t rely on the “normal” tools we’ve previously used to help people find work: the LinkedIn and Craigslist searches, coffee chats, recruiters, staffing agencies, and so on. Those methods can’t hit the speed, scale, and placement quality that companies or candidates will need coming out of this crisis. But verticalized jobs marketplaces—platforms that focus on one industry, role, candidate type, or demographic—can and will. Now is the time to be building them.
Of course I love what they are saying here. I have known for many years that niche sites are an excellent business model. Their focus and community help them become what the big sites can rarely hope to achieve: loyalty and purpose.
Their post takes aim at the big boys in our space too;
The tools we currently have at our disposal—the horizontal jobs platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Craigslist—are clearly inadequate for the enormity of the task. The average time to hire in 2018 was 38 days. Given the scale and urgency of the crisis, that’s far too long.
Too often, the existing online jobs platforms are a futile exercise in imprecise drop-down menus and trial-and-error search terms just to surface the jobs or candidates you’re interested in, let alone qualified for. These platforms feel like one of those all-encompassing, cross-cuisine diners with a 17 page menu: they offer a broad look at everything you might want, but don’t do any one thing particularly well.Andreesen Horowitz Blog
It goes on to spell out why now is such a great time to launch a vertical job site. For one thing, we now find ourselves in an unprecedented time of unemployment that will spur niches to grow much faster. Secondly, the big national sites won’t be able to compete with the focus of a vertical (always true) and thirdly, that there have never been more potential users than now. As they put it, “That surplus of qualified talent could flock to specialized labor marketplaces looking to bootstrap their networks.“
AH has invested in a number of vertical job startups already like The MOM Project and Shift so they have skin in the game, but this is the first time I’ve seen a VC firm really stake their claim.
Niche job boards, long may they live!