Sramana: Why did you move to the Czech Republic?
Jerome Ternynck: I went there for the market opportunities. France didn’t, and still doesn’t, offer good opportunities for entrepreneurs. There is not much growth there. I went to a market and positioned myself in a market where I can show growth and opportunity.
Sramana: In the eight years that I have been doing these stories, I have seen a lot of French entrepreneurs but not a lot from the Czech Republic.
Jerome Ternynck: The French are very entrepreneurial, but you see a lot of them setting up their entrepreneurial ventures outside of France. There are some inside of France as well.
Sramana: Where did you establish yourself in the country?
Jerome Ternynck: In Prague.
Sramana: How long did you run the recruiting agency in Prague?
Jerome Ternynck: I started that agency in 1993 and grew it through several iterations for eight years. I grew to encompass 300 people in eight countries with various subsidiaries. We had a high-end boutique search firm, a mid-market placement firm, and a recruitment advertising agency. I never raised capital and the entire business was self-funded.
In 2000, I saw that technology was going to impact the way that recruiting was done. I created a company called MrTed which was one of the first large-scale applicant tracking systems. It was similar to Taleo or SuccessFactors. I ran that second company for about 10 years. It grew nicely and I sold it in 2010.
Sramana: Who did you sell that company to?
Jerome Ternynck: I sold it to StepStone Solutions.
Sramana: Did you make a significant amount of money from that sale?
Jerome Ternynck: Yes, I did.
Sramana: Coming into 2010, you had a significant amount of capital to do the next thing with. What happened in 2010?
Jerome Ternynck: I started thinking about what my next move would be. I was still thinking about the challenge of recruiting. It’s an interesting market that affects all of us. We are all either hiring or being hired at some point in our lives. It is important to our businesses and it is a problem that has not been solved.
I have been in this market for 20 years now and when I looked at the market, I wanted to figure out how to make hiring easy. I wanted to know how to make it easy for businesses to find talent and how to make it easy for people to get hired. I wanted to make the market more fluid and transparent. We are all online and connected. Why is the recruiting market so opaque and inefficient? That never made sense to me. It should be fast, social, and enjoyable.