Skillar mobile recruitment app takes Start-up Stars

Posted July 19, 2016

  • App enables employers to shortlist locally available candidates
  • Start-up Stars helps entrepreneurs to refine their business ideas

An early-stage University College Dublin student venture that is developing a mobile app to help employers streamline the recruitment process has won the 2016 UCD Start-up Stars Programme.

Quik, developed by Start-Up Stars winners Skillar, will help employers to make the hiring and job search process more efficient by enabling them to advertise part-time jobs.

The app will subsequently allow hiring firms to shortlist candidates and talk to locally available applicants who apply through the app.

The new software will also provide validation of applicant's previous work experience to shorten the recruitment and interview process.

UCD Start-up Stars is an entrepreneurship programme that provides advice and support for UCD undergraduate and postgraduate students from all disciplines who want to start their own businesses.

Students began the UCD Startup Stars Programme earlier this year when they participated in modules and workshops at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and the UCD Innovation Academy.

Pictured top: Skillar co-founders and UCD students; Stephen Jones, Andrew Desmond and Laurence McNally. (Images by Nick Bradshaw, Fotonic)

The budding entrepreneurs evaluated a variety of real-world problems before forming teams to develop start-up solutions to address the identified issues.

Six student ventures, with 14 team members, were then selected to take part in an intensive mentoring programme at NovaUCD – the centre for new ventures at University College Dublin.

The aim of the Start-up Stars mentoring programme is to assist the participants in refining their start-up ideas through a series of structured workshops. 

The taught programme included talks from industry experts, interactive workshops and regular pitching sessions. Each team also received a cash payment and office space at NovaUCD.

Following final pitches, Skillar was selected as the overall winner, as the judges decided that the firm had the most commercial potential.

The founders of Skillar are UCD students: Laurence McNally, Master’s, Mechanical Engineering; Stephen Jones, fourth year Chemical Engineering; Andrew Desmond, Master’s, Digital Innovation.

“Our aim is that Quik will be a more attractive and faster solution than traditional CVs and online applications for employers who are seeking part-time staff and individuals who are seeking part-time jobs,” Laurence McNally, Skillar co-founder said.

The founders of the firm received a cash prize of €3,000 sponsored by Xilinx. Each of the five runners-up also received a cash prize of €500 each sponsored by Xilinx.

“We now look forward to seeing these early-stage ventures move to the next stage of development and launch into the marketplace,” said Brendan Cremen, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation.

"The quality of the ideas and the student pitches today is testament to the work that is being undertaken at UCD to foster entrepreneurial mindsets and the ambition of our students to tackle big problems,” Professor Suzi Jarvis, Founding Director, UCD Innovation Academy said.

The members of the final UCD Startup Stars Programme judging panel were: Brendan Cremen, UCD Director of Enterprise and Commercialisation; Libby Gribben, Senior HR Director, Xilinx; Ray Fitzpatrick, Head of Equity Investment Unit, AIB Group; Raomal Perera, Chair, UCD Innovation Academy Advisory Group, entrepreneur and Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at INSEAD; and Niamh Mac Sweeney, Business & Finance magazine.

The sponsors of UCD Startup Stars Programme are: AIB, Arthur CoxDeloitteEricssonGoodbody Stockbrokers, Local Enterprise Office–Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Xilinx.

The other five participating companies in the 2016 Start-up Stars programme were:

MedWear – developing a health monitoring platform to enable users to gain greater insights into their health and to receive advice to assist them in living a healthier lifestyle.

The founders of MedWare are UCD students: Eoin Durnin (final year, Biomedical Engineering) and Sean McCarthy (final year, Actuarial Science).

SME Affinity – a firm that aims to combat the information overload and bridge the knowledge gaps experienced by Irish SMEs. The company aims to achieve this by providing relevant and accessible material, and the opportunity to outsource business functions through a new online platform.

The founders of SME Affinity are: Judith Harrington (final year, International Commerce) and Declan Keaney (final year, International Commerce).

Step Out – aims to provide an alternative learning experience for secondary school students by introducing an online and offline platform to the classroom. The platforms would bring interactive workshops covering all aspects of the English language and literature to schools worldwide.

The founders of Step Out are: Sahar Mohamed-Ali (third year, Chemical Engineering), Eppie Claffey (third year, English and Drama) and Joanna Kelly (third year, English and Drama).

The Little Things – a social enterprise focusing on raising essential funds for mental health charities. The company plans on supplying high-quality clothing, such as white shirts with branded coloured buttons, to enable people to show their support for and to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The founders of The Little Things are: Hugh McGirr (Master’s, Business and Biotherapeutics) and Josh Downing (Master’s, Business and Biotherapeutics).

Whooozin – developing a website platform that makes group food ordering easy for working professionals and restaurant owners by solving the minimum order problem.

The founders of Whooozin are: Ittira Joseph (final year, Master’s, Digital Marketing) and Archit Kumar (final year, Master’s, Business Analytics).

By: Jamie Deasy, digital journalist, UCD University Relations