EASY TO SWALLOW: Gulpfish.com owner Ilya Reikhrud, left, reviews an employer’s profile with Greg Silva, the company’s editor, blogger and public relations manager. Goals for the company include building an online recruiting system for hard-to-fill positions that require specially qualified candidates, Reikhrud said.
Gulpfish.com, a startup online search network that connects job seekers with prospective employers, has had some rapid growth in four years, despite a small revenue stream.
While earning only $47,000 in annual revenue for 2013, the job-search tool claims such familiar business clients as Ruby Tuesdays, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, Taco Bell and Papa Gino’s as well as a host of independent restaurants, medical offices and country clubs mostly in Rhode Island and the Northeast, said owner, founder and CEO Ilya Reikhrud.
As of early March, Gulpfish.com’s job seekers numbered 69,420. Of the 820 registered employers, more than 600 are active, he said.
The idea to start this home-based business in Warwick centered on an interest in taking advantage of the Internet’s capacity for broad connection and making money in an economy that, in 2009, was still on the skids, said Reikhrud.
“I was tuna fishing in August of 2009 [off Block Island] and the economy was really poor,” he recalled. “When we were on the boat there was a lot of time to kill and my friends and I were trying to figure out how to engage [potential clients] on the Internet and help businesses.”
Audiences that he and those friends, most of whom ultimately did not join in the venture, thought he might tap into included nonprofessionals and jobs with high turnover rates. Initially eyeing health care, Reikhrud and the other four people he eventually hired to help him honed in on fast food and retail outlets, where turnover was more common.
“We’re trying to focus on the nonprofessional because you’re working with a much greater candidate pool,” he said. “There are a lot of colleges in Rhode Island, so there’s always a quarterly turnover.”
Only Ilya and his wife, Nicole, the account executive, are full-time employees; the other part-timers include Dan Lauren, project manager and IT; Ian Gaudreau, graphic designer; and Greg Silva, editor, blogger and public relations coordinator, Reikhrud said.
Together, they have built a Web portal that Reikhrud says undercuts the costs advertised on the more commonly known career websites – portals like Monster.com or snagajob.com.
“It’s 100 percent free to opt in for job seekers,” he said. “For standalone restaurants and retail businesses it’s free for a year.”