Dubbed ‘Linked In for cool kids’, Australia’s largest community for creative professionals is ready to take on the world.
After receiving $2 million in investor funding, The Loop has recently completed a major redesign ahead of a UK launch.
“We decided that our vision was bigger than being just an Australian player, we really wanted to compete on a global stage,” says Pip Jamieson, co-founder of The Loop.
The idea for the site came from co-founder Matt Fayle’s experience with friends in the creative industries who kept coming to him for advice on how to build their own website.
That then led to the question: once you’ve built that web presence, how do you get it in front of the people who may hire you, or people you want to collaborate with?
“[Fayle] wanted to create a space that was really easy for creative professionals to be able to promote themselves, but making it equally easy for companies or potential collaborators to find those creative,” says Jamieson.
The site, which works both as a job board and an online portfolio, was a risky venture for Jamieson and Fayle, who both left comfortable jobs to create the start-up out of their own savings.
In 2009, Fayle, then director of digital at Viacom, approached Jamieson about his idea. Jamieson, who worked in New Zealand as head of marketing at MTV at the time, says she was blown away.
“I was finding it really hard to connect with up and coming talent. If you put an MTV job on a job board like Seek it’s an absolute nightmare, you just get inundated with people who just want to work at MTV who don’t have the relevant skills,” says Jamieson.
The rapid growth of the service came through partnerships with universities around Australia and events like TEDx and Vivid.
“It came from a lot of partnerships, but it’s also been driven by viral and word of mouth. For us social media’s also just been incredible at driving traffic to the site, and in the end as soon as one person got a job they told ten friends and it snowballed from there,” says Jamieson.
With over 65 000 active users on the site, 70 percent of which are logging on every day, the time for the UK launch felt right.
Although the launch gives the British Jamieson the opportunity to move back home, she says there are several reasons why the timing is right now.
“London’s our biggest user base outside of Australia, and it really started ramping up during the GFC. We’ve had massive growth in the region already, and the scale is just huge compared to here. There’s 2.2 million creative professionals in the UK which is almost 10 times the size of the market here,” she says.
“Also, because of the GFC they’re investing heavily in the creative sector in the UK. The government and the industry in general see it as a really sustainable way for the economy to recover, because it’s encouraging innovation and growth.”
While she’s excited to move back home and see the business continue to grow, Jamieson says she’s always going to miss Sydney’s weather.