Gen George, Founder and Managing Director of Skilld and tamme is a talented serial entrepreneur. She has recently divested her first start up business, Oneshift, an online recruitment platform which she grew to over 1 million users, to her investor Programmed. Oneshift was born during Gen’s gap year travelling through France. She realised traditional recruitment processes were too slow and didn’t work effectively for casual workers or industries, like hospitality, that employed them.
As part of the Oneshift transaction, Gen took 100% ownership of Skilld which since launching last year has grown to over 100,000 users. Skilld is a local job matching platform, built specifically for the hospitality industry. It was in considering how to best internationally scale the Skilld platform, that tamme was conceived. Tamme is an advertising platform that is a double sided marketplace. It measures supply and demand in suburb sized squares to predict where advertising dollars are best spent to maximise conversions. In a symbiotic move, Gen has cleverly used Skilld as the testing platform and launchpad for tamme.
Gen is also the Co-Founder of women’s networking forum Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LMBDW) with Jane Lu. LMBDW is a free platform for women entrepreneurs to support each other, and has grown to 45,000 members. Gen has been recognised with numerous awards including 2013 Global Stevie Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2013 Australian Business Award for Innovation, 2014 and 2015 Smart Company Hot 30 under 30, and 2014 Finalist of Global Stevie Awards for Female Entrepreneur of the Year (APAC). I predict there’s more to come.
How did your tough times at One Shift shape your future business decisions and leadership style?
I think there is no “correct” way to lead. The more you test, completely stuff it up and learn from situations, you will very quickly learn to adapt your own management style.
You are currently Managing Director of two companies, Skilld and tamme. How are you simultaneously driving growth in both companies?
Having the right team is critical to any businesses success. I am fortunate to work with amazing people like Jessica Glenn as a co-founder for tamme and Jane Lu as a cofounder for LMBDW. In all the businesses, we know what our strengths are and fill in the gaps that are missing with much smarter people than us. We work hard to ensure that we give our team the space to grow as individuals, because if every decision needs to come through us, there is no way the business can grow and go down new paths.
As someone that is an expert in the Hospitality and Retail industry. What challenges do these industries face and how are they overcoming them?
Staffing is always the biggest challenge. What we are finding is, for small businesses, the restrictions around how long a working holiday visa holder can work at a company can be limiting. There is a skills shortage in the hospitality sector. So training someone up in 6 months, and then them having to move to another business completely, is unsustainable. For both the business and the candidates. Shortly there will be some movement on these rules. With staff being able to stay for 6 months in one venue, and move to another venue with in the same group. This will reduce the cost of training and the constant revolving door of good talent.
Tamme: tamme is a platform for double sided marketplaces that controls supply and demand from analytics through to your advertising at a postcode level to ensure you can grow globally. We are seeing that no one is playing in this space, focussing on geographic density, market liquidity and tying marketing directly into actual outcomes in your database. We already have some great international companies signed up for our beta program from the UK, US and more. This is kicking off in the last quarter of the year.
As Co-Founder of Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, you foster female entrepreneurs through a supportive network. What needs to change in startup world to allow more diverse leaders to thrive?
I think we are very fortunate to have an ecosystem like we do in Australia. If you look at recent events like 500Startups, we saw the whole community band together with one clear message: this is not acceptable. For me it always comes back to access to the community and visibility of other women in the space. LMBDW is a free group with some of the industry’s top talent doing live “Ask Me Anything” sessions. There are events happening in 25 cities around the world every month. The group has doubled from 20,000 members to around 45,000 members.
What has been your greatest challenge?
I have new challenges everyday. But I have learnt if you deal with the hard decisions everyday, it doesn’t seem like there are any great challenges.
What are you most proud of?
My goal is to always have an impact in whatever I am doing. I am proud of what myself and the team achieved with OneShift, moving into new technologies with tamme, the 45,000 women around the world getting involved with LMBDW, being the youngest member of the executive committee for YPO.org.
What’s one piece of advice for future female leaders?
Just start. Take one small step, keep it cheap and every time you get knocked back or it doesn’t work, get back up and take another step forward.