Recent college grad’s product could disrupt job-search industry

Alex Guggenberger wants to disrupt the job-search process.

He plans to do just that as the creator and founder of Jobiki, an online search tool that allows job-seekers to look for companies with similar interests and desires. The recent Augustana University graduate is getting one step closer to launching the site as part of the Zeal Growth Accelerator, a 12-week program aimed at boosting the growth of four new Sioux Falls-based businesses.

Guggenberger wants to change the job search prospective employees go through to a “company search.” Instead of job-seekers receiving suggestions based from job descriptions, Jobiki matches people based on the company. That way, prospective employees know if the company is the right fit before applying and interviewing.

Factors that might determine a “right fit” include the ability to work from home, paid vacation days, a matched 401(k) and the workplace environment.

“Then I realized there’s nothing out there that tells me everything that I want to know about these companies before deciding to apply or not,” Guggenberger said. “Then the issue is even if this information is listed on an ‘about us page,’ you have to know that company exists first.”

The idea to create Jobiki came after Guggenberger started looking for post-graduation jobs the summer before his senior year at Augustana.

He encountered congestion and lack of consistency with the online search, with no site generating equal information.

That’s when he started thinking about creating a new way of searching for jobs.

“As an entrepreneur, I decided who better to make it than the person who wants it?” Guggenberger said.

After a few months of researching how such a site could work, one of his business professors at Augustana encouraged him to enter the business pitch competition at the Innovation Expo. He took first place, receiving the recognition that others saw value and potential in Jobiki.

Alex Guggenberger at a session of the Zeal accelerator.

“(Winning the competition) said this is legit, people actually believe in this idea and would use it if we built it,” he said.

Now as a participant of the accelerator program, Zeal has provided Guggenberger with $20,000 in seed funding, along with advice and connections to the business community.

“When you get funding, you’re allowed to push things a little bit faster,” Guggenberger said.

Integral to the process of creating Jobiki is also Guggenberger’s brother Nathan, who is working on the back-end development.

The two brothers are planning to launch Jobiki later this month, but with some features still in the works.

“For us, the whole matching algorithm isn’t going to be there quite yet … it will be more of a filter so you can filter by size, industry, perks and amenities, and benefits, such as if you were going to visit the site Airbnb,” he said.

Although being an entrepreneur comes with its fair share of setbacks and disappointments, at Zeal “everyone is rooting for you and wants you be to be successful, especially being in the accelerator program, and that’s been good to have,” Guggenberger said.


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UpdatesBrienne Maner