Founder: Kathryn Minshew, Co-founder & CEO
Company: The Muse
Stage: Series A
ABOUT THE MUSE
The Muse has become the most trusted career brand for millennials. With a sleek interface that helps over 4 million people per month find jobs and succeed in their career, The Muse offers a range of career-related resources, including job postings at exciting companies, resume and cover letter review, interviewing and networking guidance, career path advice and classes on how to advance your current career.
About Kathryn Minshew
Boasting a varied career spanning the consulting, public health and media industries, Kathryn founded The Muse in 2011 and has become a leading expert on career development and entrepreneurship. She has spoken at MIT and Harvard, appeared on The TODAY Show and CNN, and is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. In 2011 and 2012, Kathryn was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Media, and to Inc.’s 2012 15 Women to Watch in Tech.
How did you select tools when you were in the seed stage versus now?
When we were in seed stage, we were looking for the least expensive, easiest-to-use tool that could solve our immediate problem. We wanted to make sure it would scale with us for 6-12 months so we wouldn’t immediately have to move off of it. We didn’t expect most of them to stay with us forever. As such, we made sure that we could always get our data out if it was a temporary or transitional tool.
Who makes the final decision on tools, and how has that changed over time?
In the beginning, Alex, my co-founder and our COO, led the process for most new tools, and I would weigh in in the final stages. If it was a tool I was going to be more directly using (sales-related, for instance), we would more closely partner on that. In general, I find there’s one person in a startup who has that inclination to try and test new tools, and that person is not me–though I do appreciate a great tool. Early on, I was involved in selecting tools, but secondarily, and Alex was the primary decision-maker. Now, our Director of Operations takes the lead on tool selection and works with Alex.
Is cost a big factor in your decision-making?
In the beginning, it was more of a concern. But now that we have more capital, we’re still making prudent decisions on tools, but it’s no longer a situation where we’re keeping such a close eye on every $5.
How thoroughly do you research tools before making a selection?
We do references for most tools we signed up for to make sure people have had positive experiences. Once we find one we love, we evangelize it so that other founders have a similar experience and can skip the search process that we went through. I would tell anyone starting a new company that they should definitely do their research, particularly if a tool is going to be housing data.
Are there any tools that you absolutely can’t live without?
The one tool I couldn’t live without is Boomerang–a Gmail plugin that enables you to schedule emails to be sent and received later, and sends you follow-up reminders when you need them. I am addicted, and it’s insanely helpful for my productivity. I also more or less live in Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs.
Do you use any external service providers?
We prefer to keep things in house when we can, except where deep functional expertise is helpful. At a previous company, we went through a tough situation because we didn’t have proper legal documents, so before we even founded The Muse, I went out and found a lawyer. We now have an established law firm that helps us with major legal needs, as well as a contracts lawyer who helps us with agreements with customers, service provider and more. He’s great, less expensive, and we’ve had a great experience splitting our legal work in this way.
And at what point it became clear that it was time to get outside help?
I think it’s extremely important to have your legal, accounting, payroll and taxes done properly. So very early on, we had external support making sure we had all of this squared away.
Want to learn what tools The Muse is using?