"I have been living in Barcelona for the past ten years, and as you may know Spain has been one of the most affected countries by the economic crisis, with a current unemployment rate higher than Germany and France together,” Simon Torras, 19, says.
“Given this scenario, the fact that we have an unemployment problem, the question was how to come up with a tool which could provide a resolution on how to turn the problem into an opportunity, both for a business start up and for the thousands of young people in need of a job.”
His idea became the new mobile app, Mojob.
“With this simple, yet ambitious project in mind I started considering the various possibilities until I narrowed it down to the key question: What if there was a way to look for simple jobs without any paperwork involved? The only tool that allows this would be a mobile application. Apps have transformed the way we work, think and communicate with each other over the last years,” Torras explains.
Spain's jobless numbers fell sharply in 2014, posting the largest annual drop in the number of unemployment since 1998. The country´s economy has been steadily expanding since it emerged in mid-2013 from its second recession in five years, a forecast of a 2% growth year-over-year in the last quarter of 2014.
This may seem like good news, but in reality it is hiding continued underlying weakness in the economy. The 2% must also be compared to the growth in the rest of Europe, which is anemic. Spain is still the second highest on the unemployment rate in EU at 23.7%.
After spending two months in China to pitch his idea, Torras reached interest and got investors on board to help with further development of the application. The company got expanded and Mojob now has an office in three different countries: Spain, China and Norway. Torras later returned to finish his study as ESADE business school and continued as CEO in Spain.
“Mojob´s idea is to help young people get relevant experience and basically earn some extra cash.”
The plan is for great companies and people to post interesting small jobs or tasks on Mojob, and then energetic students can get ahead while also earning some money. In the current economic environment, employers generally are less likely to hire permanently, meanwhile young people are increasingly accessing info over mobile handsets. Mojob believes that business owners would like to have a pool of skilled people available for small tasks and work, while cutting out expensive or time consuming intermediaries. It´s set up to be a fast and inexpensive matchmaker between job posters and seekers, thereby adding value for all its users.
“The app will connect those who need help with any type of work and those who are willing to do it,” Torras says.
“I´ll give an example, Sam needs someone to paint his living room on Sunday and is willing to pay for it. Mark is sitting on the couch with his iPhone and sees the advert. He might not be an expert painter, he actually works at a bar, but he got the day off and sees an opportunity to earn some extra money while helping. Mark clicks the advert and Mojob automatically starts and instant chat between Mark and Sam. From that moment the rest is up to them.”
Mobile app users have more than 1.4 available apps to choose from on Google Play and another 1.2 million apps on Apple´s store. It is crucial that the app delivers exceptional value to its target audience, but there is a competitive market.
“This app works because it is something we are in need for. The society is moving towards a new model of shared economies and it was just a matter of time before this new conception would reach the labor market. It is a matter of finding the right model for meeting the changing needs of the market.”
“Our goal as a company is to get a solid user base and as much traffic as possible on the app. My personal goal is to prove that Mojob is a tool that is actually helping people, and designed for establishing profitable relations and improving their lives.”
“I am very confident in my work put in to this application. People do not only see it as a good idea but as a revolutionary project, something that could eventually change the way we work and also simply our lives.”
“When you invest valuable time and resources developing a mobile app, the question to ask yourself is, ´Is this something that people need? ´ In this case: yes, it is.”
The app's focus is different in each of the three countries.
“We have used a different approach in each of the markets we are targeting. You can´t expect to apply the same strategy in Spain, China and Norway and get all three of them to work. In Spain, our main target is the young people,” he says.
Tobias Nervik, 20, a former student at NTNU recently stepped down his studies to undertake the job as the CEO for Mojob Norway, based in Trondheim city.
“I work closely with Greg Johnson, the CEO in China, with developing Simon's idea to an definite product,” Nervik says.
"You can already show to examples that this type of app is working, both in Canada and Australia with “Ask for task” and “Airtasker” (see links). I believe the possibilities in Europe are great."
“You can compare some parts of it with Tinder (a world famous dating-app), but the difference is that this is a kind of Tinder for jobs."
"You have about 200 characters where you are pitching yourself for the job. When the employer swipes between all the candidates who applied for the job, the ones he like will be saved and you can then chat directly with each other."
“At the moment we are expanding Mojob to more countries. The app is about to be launched in Sweden and Denmark, and we also have an Italian on board,” Nervik says.
“That is the plan. If we don´t do it, someone else will,” Simon Torras says.