12 Aug


My story - How I started Venatrix

James Caan and elaine

Behind every startup there’s a story. Here’s the story of Venatrix. Once upon a time, there was a recruitment consultant called Elaine…

A lot of people ask me how I started Venatrix. It’s not a story I tell very often. Why? I’m extremely proud that I started a company from scratch to become London’s No1 SaaS sales talent partner, supporting some of the fastest-growing companies in the world. The reason I don’t dwell on the story is that it isn’t finished yet. I still have much more to do and much further to go. But just for once, let’s stop and look back on how we got to this point. Here’s the story of Venatrix.

Once upon a time…

Let’s go back in time to the summer of 2015. I worked in a recruitment organisation and I was doing well. In fact, I was the top performer, month after month.

I went to a networking event. While I was there, some people identified me as a potential business owner in the future. They said I had all the raw attributes you need to start a business. They challenged me to put a business plan together for a new type of recruitment company.

I decided to take up the challenge. What’s the worst that could happen?

Thinking about the kind of company I would like to run made my brain shoot off in all different directions. I visualised it, putting myself in the position of the founder. What was my vision? What would it be like to work at my company? What kind of numbers would I need to achieve to build the company I want to run?

As I answered these questions, I started to lay the plans for my business. While my friends were at festivals or lying on the beach, I was holed up in a café thinking and tapping at my laptop. But in that café, I laid out the vision for Venatrix that still exists today.

Enter the dragon

In every startup story, there is always a pivotal moment where everything changes. In this story, it’s when I got the chance to pitch my business idea to James Caan. That’s right. I was going to be in a room with one of the dragons, along with four other investors. If I performed, I could land the investment that could bring my vision to life.

I spent weeks perfecting my pitch. I made sure I knew every single number in my business plan. I tried to anticipate the questions the investors would ask me. The ultimate question was ’Why?’. Why am I doing this now? Why is my idea going to make money?

Then, I gave my pitch.

James Caan and the other investors listened politely. They asked questions. I answered them. I thought it went pretty well.

Then, James Caan shut his notebook, stood up and left. Nothing about whether I had won the investment or not, he just went.

Well, I wasn’t having that! I chased him out the room, out the door of the building and up the road! I told him, ‘I spent a lot of time putting this pitch together. I gave it everything. I need to know what you think.’

The first day

Eventually, James and the investors gave me the answers I needed. They decided to take me on as part of the Recruitment Entrepreneur Portfolio. I had won the investment!

So, on the 5th of October, I turned up for work. It was the strangest feeling, like the first day of school. I had nothing. No one knew me or what I was doing there. I didn’t even have an email signature!

I went to see one of the investors and he told me, ‘Just do it.’ It was great advice, to get out there and do what I do. Have confidence that the rest will follow.

Eventually, word spread about what I was doing, a recruitment agency specifically placing SDRs into fast-growing SaaS companies. It was a niche I could dominate and hopefully build on from there. I started to receive some job specs and make a few placements.

Slowly but surely, the business began to grow. And now, here we are. Venatrix is a team now. We’ve worked with more than 300 clients, placing SDRs across the world, including New York and Dubai. We are about to open our specialist ‘experienced’ division, for Account Execs and Customer Success Managers.

It’s going brilliantly, but there’s still so much more to do.

More about me

Thanks for reading my story. I’ll end by telling you a little bit more about myself. Another question people ask me what I’m like when I’m not being the founder of Venatrix. At work, I’m exceptionally busy and it can get quite intense. However, I do have a lighter side!

I love going to festivals. I’m into craft beer and I’ve just started brewing my first stout. However, what you probably don’t know about me is that I do stand-up comedy and improv.

The back and forth of comedy is a bit like recruitment, but stand-up is much scarier. You can never be sure the audience is going to laugh, until they do. To be honest, I’m probably funnier on our SDR assessment days!

If you’re a SaaS organisation looking to add high-quality talent to your sales team, it’s time to talk to Venatrix.

Call 0203 805 3350 or visit www.venatrixuk.com.