If you have applied for a job online in the last 15 years, chances are used a Madgex job board. You just didn’t know it. Almost every newspaper and B2B publisher in the UK uses the company’s white label solution for their online recruitment services.
This means the job boards they create for their 500-plus brands look and feel like a seamless part of the company’s own website, but check out the footnote and you’ll see they are all powered by Madgex software. Beneath that branded veneer is millions of pounds of Madgex R&D and more than a decade of experience.
“We are really proud of the fact we are working for leading media brands, and they see us as experts in our field,” says director Dan Meadows.
By Dan’s own admittance the Brighton-based company never set out to be the UK’s go-to job board provider, they just wanted to build great websites.
“At that stage our only idea was that there was an opportunity to win lots of work developing software – which we thought would be fun!” says Dan. “We had no real idea of what the business was going to do.”
They won their first contract with Reed Business Information and so Madgex was born. The name came from the first letter of its five founders’ names: Mark Bedser, Andy Taylor, Dan Meadows, Glenn Jones and Eric Kaps (and added an X at the end). To start with, they worked out of a house in Brighton, with someone working on the kitchen counter, another at the living room table and a couple more upstairs in the bedroom.
Despite the somewhat unconventional start, the new company was a resounding success and within a couple of years, Madgex became a key supplier of RBI's online services.
However, they realised in order to grow, they needed to specialise in one area rather than general web development. This was the pivotal point in Madgex’s 15-year history.
“We needed to find a niche,” states Dan. “Most of the magazines we worked for made from money from advertising, particularly recruitment adverts. All that was migrating onto the web, so we saw an opportunity and decided to focus in on that.”
Smart move. The company is now the leading provider of job board software in Europe – if not the world. Clients include the Guardian, Times, Washington Post, Haymarket, EMAP and TMDR. Their users carry out over 40 million job searches and 2.2 million job applications every month.
According to CEO Tom Ricca-McCarthy it is this clear focus that has enabled the company to lead the job board market.
“Job boards are incredibly niche, but as a business strategy it’s proven to be a good thing,” he says. “We decided to focus purely on that and be the best at it.”
With Madgex dominating the UK market the time came to roll out their business model globally, maintaining the same strategic focus.
Tom was originally brought in as sales director and he has been instrumental in taking the Madgex message around the world. They now have customers in 12 countries, including Europe, the Middle East, Australia, Hong Kong and 40 brands in the USA. They have also set up an office in Toronto to service their North American clients with plans to open another European office in 2016.
As well as expanding overseas, they are continually improving their product, and the company invests over £1million a year in R&D to ensure they provide the best possible solution for their clients.
“We know compared to our competitors Madgex customers are making more money out of their job boards,” states Tom. “We have spent a lot of time and effort on getting the SEO and user experience of our products right.
“Our technology means clients get more relevant, targeted traffic, more registered users, more applications, and they have more ways to convert this into revenue.”
It is this dogged belief in service excellence that inspired them to set Madgex up all those years ago, and it still lies at the core of the business today.
“We weren’t just about turnover, we wanted to create a company that is proud of what we do for our clients,” says Dan. “Service excellence has always been a part of that. We never take it for granted and are constantly adjusting and trying to improve what we do. Everyone at Madgex is engaged in it, from the top level down.”
Speak to any number of the company’s ‘Madgexians’ – and they will echo Dan’s sentiments.
“Everyone here has a sense of ownership,” explains Mike Fahey, who joined in 2007. “We feel like it’s our company and we all work together as a team.”
One of the reasons Madgex fosters such loyalty, is because there is a genuine focus on looking after its people and ensuring they enjoy their work.
In 2014 the company was ranked 52nd in The Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Companies to Work, and came eighth in the UK’s Best Workplace awards 2014. It has also achieved a Gold standard with Investors in People.
“If you’ve got a talent in a certain area, the company recognises it and you’re given opportunities to develop,” says Mike who started out as a junior developer and is now product director. “It’s a very open culture – you’re not put in box, but encouraged to innovate and do things you enjoy.”
The result, says Tom, is the highest concentration of job board fanatics in Europe, if not the world. “Our people are passionate about what we do,” he says.
It is by harnessing this drive to create good technology that has seen Madgex at the top of its game for 15 years. And they hope to stay there for many years to come.
“By investing in our people we hope they will continue to develop great projects,” says Tom. “It’s good for the business and great for them.”
While job boards remain their bread and butter, the innovation team have been tasked with delivering at least one new product a year, all with a career-based focus.
Their first new product will help their clients advertise career-related courses and training more effectively.
“It’s all about helping brands monetise their audience,” says Tom. “At the moment this is mainly about recruitment, but we need to expand out into other areas connected with professional development".
Speaking of the future for the business, Tom says "Audiences may be changing, growing and shifting. The technology they use may be changing, growing and shifting. Job boards will therefore change, grow and shift. But they won’t be going away. We are excited about our future. We are busy, we have many many ideas for our customers to change and grow over the next five years."
Madgex would like to say a huge thank you to all of our clients - old and new - who have been a part of our success.