CEO INTERVIEW - Ajinga.com
New Success Stories - Asia
CEO Interviews - Exclusive for HR Digital Today with market leading HR Tech pioneers - Ajinga.com
Eric Fiedler, Chairman / CEO at Ajinga.com
- Please share with us briefly what you do.
I am currently Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Ajinga.com, based in Shanghai, China.
- What were you doing before this?
I was most recently the Co-President of Hewitt Associates’ global Consulting division based in Chicago. I was responsible for consulting operations in over 35 countries. I spent nearly 17 years working for Hewitt in Asia and the United States.
- Describe your product. How does it work?
Ajinga is a SaaS recruiting technology company. We offer a suite of innovative cloud based recruiting tools. We put a heavy emphasis on mobile / social solutions that work seamlessly in WeChat and other social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Our innovative technology allows companies to promote and track their jobs across social media networks. Our system then uses AI to help companies focus on applicants that are a best fit for the company and the job.
- What are the key benefits?
Recruiting the right talent continues to be the top HR challenge facing companies in China. Companies who use our technology experience higher job application rates, improved HR efficiency and improved new-hire quality.
- Who are your closest competitors?
We are very focused on the mobile recruiting market and we have two primary Chinese competitors. We do not compete with the large global Applicant Tracking System (ATS) providers like Taleo, Kenexa, Workday, etc.
- Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
Our first client was Apple. We were very fortunate to land this deal and it was a result of a relationship we had in the organization. Our product was very innovative at the time and we did not replace an existing vendor. I believe they chose Ajinga because of our product quality and our user experience was closely aligned with Apple’s visual identity.
- What motivated you to start this business?
We believe the hiring decision is one of the most important decisions a company will make and that almost all companies need help improving hiring effectiveness. Our motivation for starting Ajinga was simply to help employers improve recruiting effectiveness in an increasingly mobile world. On a personal level, after years working in a corporate environment I was very eager to try my hand as an entrepreneur!
- What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
The biggest sacrifice has been the lower income associated with working in a start-up. I have passed up several large job opportunities to pursue the Ajinga dream. Hopefully the sacrifice is short term and will pay off!
- How did you get funded?
The founders funded the initial start-up phase of the business and we secured a Series A in 2014. We were lucky to find an investor who was focused on early stage technology services and who valued our international backgrounds.
- What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Word of mouth! We do traditional B2B marketing, but client referrals have been our most effective marketing channel.
We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality product and world class customer service. This focus has paid off in the form of hard to get clients reaching out to us on a regular basis!
- Describe a typical workday.
My day starts at 6am with getting my girls out the door to school. I then typically spend a couple hours reviewing email and working on management issues. I make sure to carve out time each day to think about and work on our growth strategy. I divide the rest of my time between sales, product strategy, client service and investor relations. Each day feels a little different, but it always includes some combination of these critical activities.
- Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
There have been many individuals who have influenced our business ranging from my cofounder to our investors. However, our clients have ultimately had the greatest influence on our business. We employ a client centric business strategy and we spend a lot of time listening to them. By clearly understanding their needs we can then develop innovative solutions that propel the business forward.
- What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
I keep having these moments as we grow, however the most recent “proudest moment” occurred just last week. We hosted over 200 companies to a recruiting best practices results presentation. Watching our team present and watching the audience react, I realized we ARE the market leaders in our space in China. Having drawn up Ajinga on a piece of paper over coffee, I was very proud to see how far our idea has come!!
- What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
I am not sure I would call any failure a favourite, but I have experienced business / product failures. Years ago, I was an investor in a health management company in the Chinese market. It became clear that the assumptions about adoption of more western health management concepts was going to take a long time in China. The lesson for me was that you can sometimes try to be too clever for a market. It’s important to meet the market where it is and then look for opportunities to lead it where you can.
- If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
Trust your instincts. There a lot of smart people who want to give you advice. Some of it will be good, but some of it will be bad. At the end of the day, you own the results, so trust yourself and do what you think is right.
- What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
WeChat! WeChat has become an invaluable business communication tool. Using WeChat, I have almost instant access to my associates and to our clients.
- Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?
You can visit our website at www.ajinga.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
18. Rapid fire questions (please choose 3 or more)
- First job – Dishwasher when I was 15
- Someone you admire – Richard Branson
- Favourite Music – Alternative
- Favourite Gadget – Garmin Vivosmart3 health tracker
- Last holiday – Colorado, USA
- When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? – You used to find me on the golf course, but now you can find me hanging out with my two girls.