Colin Day is the founder, CEO and president of iCIMS, a SaaS provider of HR solutions. Prior to founding iCIMS, Colin worked in sales and new business development at Comrise Technology, an IT staffing firm. After successfully opening a new branch office in Washington D.C., Colin recognized an opportunity to carve a technical platform out of the company, and iCIMS was born. Colin graduated from Cornell University with a degree in psychology
Sramana: Colin, let’s start with your background. Where are you from? What is the story that led to your entrepreneurial career?
Colin Day: I am a dual citizen of the U.K. and the U.S. I was born in the States, but both of my parents and my entire family are from the U.K. I grew up primarily in Washington D.C., with a brief stint in Switzerland. I took off to New York to go to school at Cornell University. After that I moved to New Jersey to start my career.
Sramana: What did you do after you graduated?
Colin Day: I graduated with a degree in psychology. At that point the only thing I knew is that I did not want to have a job in psychology. Right out of school, I accepted an opening with an IT staffing firm. I got hired as a technical recruiter. I was recruiting Java developers and DBAs into Bell Labs.
Sramana: What year was that?
Colin Day: I graduated in 1997 and worked as a recruiter through 1999. In 1999, I started writing the business plan for iCIMS, which is the company I am with now.
Sramana: What was the process of writing that business plan? Where did the idea come from, and what was the genesis of the company?
Colin Day: I always knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. I had a strong role model in my father, who started his own company late in life. When I had my job as a recruiter, I found that I would spend every free moment I had writing a business plan. I had to come up with an idea of a company that I could start. I wrote seven plans, and I still think that many of them could have been good business plans.
Right as I was doing all of this, the company I was with started building a recruiting platform. I approached the CEO and asked him how he would feel about spinning off a company. The CEO provided all of our initial funding which, over the course of two years, came to around $2.5 million as bridge loans.
When anyone young comes up to me and wants to start a company, my advice is that an idea is great, but it is when an idea meets funding, you can be successful. So many people have a hard time finding that initial funding. I was lucky to find something that basically fell in my lap.