Nicholas is the co-founder and CEO of Headstart App, a platform that matches students with internships and graduate jobs. It uses a series of innovative algorithms, which take into consideration interest, behaviour, skill suitability and demographic data, as well as traditional recruitment criteria such as CV data.
“The beauty of the app is that you only have to answer one set of questions - you don’t have to waste time filling out multiple application forms for different jobs,” explained Nicholas. “The non-specific profile encompasses you as a person; your personality, skills and interests as well as your CV data.”
Headstart is not just about helping students find jobs, it’s also providing employers with a more diverse range of applicants and ensuring accurate, non-discriminatory job matching. “We aim to revolutionise the graduate recruitment industry, creating equal opportunities regardless of social background, whilst ensuring that every student discovers the job that they are most suited to – and the app is free for student job seekers,” Nicholas added.
Headstart is carefully designed to create a fair and more efficient graduate recruitment process, analysing a student’s entire ‘fingerprint’, rather than just what they can demonstrate on paper. Companies will more easily be able to find a diverse group of candidates from a range of backgrounds. Start-ups and large companies will be on a level playing field, as matches are not dictated by marketing budgets, merely suitability.
It was while Nicholas was on his year abroad from Wadham in China that he got involved in his first start-up. “I was in China! I didn’t want to spend my whole year in the classroom and I needed to make some money to fund my living. There was a huge demand for English lessons and I knew lots of Oxbridge students who were happy to provide tutoring, so I formed Teaching by the Top, bringing the two groups together. This meant I was able to return to Oxford with enough profit to get going on Headstart.”
After attending King’s College School in Wimbledon, Nicholas applied to Pembroke College, Oxford but was offered a place at Wadham. “I like the forward thinking and progressive atmosphere here; I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have if I hadn’t come to Wadham.”
With his final year fast approaching and exams looming, on top of Headstart’s plan to raise several million pounds to help grow the business, Nicholas knows he has a lot of work ahead of him.
“I’m pretty good at managing my time and I am happy to ask others for advice. I’ve found that because of the huge amount of social good Headstart can bring, people have been very willing to help and support us.”
Nicholas and his co-founder, Jeremy Hindle, a tech entrepreneur and neuroscientist, have employed a team of experts to help get the business underway, including Derek Walker, former Careers Director at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Headstart launches in September, and Nicholas is delighted that Vodafone is one of a number of big name employers to be on the client list.