The YOSS Journey with Marcus Sawyerr - CEO & Insight Partners
by Ariadne Caldwell, on December 20, 2019 at 4:39 PM
Marcus Sawyerr, CEO of YOSS had the chance to speak with Insight Partners on our journey and how we've leveraged The Adecco Group throughout our evolution.
What was the initial strategy of Adecco Group X?
Marcus: We set up Adecco Group X as an incubator, and the incubator was there to scan the market. Basically find companies that could be disruptive in the HR tech industry. We set up Adecco [Group X] in London, Singapore, Northern Europe, and also in San Francisco where we had folks that were scanning the market for disruptors. Then we picked specific categories that we went after, like: online recruiting, education, the freelance landscape. Then we decided which companies, after we'd scanned some, which companies we would bring in for strategic alignment. Then once they had strategic alignment we would then pilot those businesses. We would get a short list then narrowed it down to a handful of companies that we would invest in. If we invested it was either a strategic partnership, an outright investment, or in some cases we decided we were going to build it ourselves.
What caused you to spin out and build YOSS?
Marcus: What caused me to become the CEO at YOSS is that I had a discussion with the Group CEO [of The Adecco Group] , and we were scanning the market for various companies across Adecco Group X, and we looked at a 1,048 HR Tech companies. I got to a point where we were a year and a half or two years in if I remember rightly, and decided that I've spent a lot of money and its time to make some back. The Group CEO also thought it was a good idea.
Just to give you some insight into the product with regards to YOSS, YOSS is a platform, it's a software platform that allows companies to do direct sourcing. Meaning, providing a platform where they can match and manage their own talent for flexible work. It's based in the cloud, companies can sign up and create their own environment where they can house their flexible talent. If they need new talent we also give them access to talent in our marketplace.
What do you leverage from the main organization?
Marcus: Some of the traditional assets that we leverage from The Adecco Group are generally around the distribution. When I looked at all of these organizations (1,048) I found there was two things that startups generally lacked: and it was data and distribution. We have leveraged some of the data, but also distribution around sales. Ensuring that the sales team have a new product across The Adecco Group to sell.
Did you experience any resistance?
Marcus: I think we probably experience resistance every single day, both internally and externally. One of the ways to overcome it, was just really being persistent. Also, ensuring we had the right executive leadership sponsoring our program. Alain Dehaze, the group CEO was very much involved. We had digital venture committee that was set up where we could make fast decisions, and one of the key elements to ensuring it was a successful program was making sure that we brought the right executives along the journey. We didn't just isolate ourselves, we ensured that we brought people in, and they were able to see organizations and companies that were also going to be interested in disrupting the overall future of the business.
Marcus Sawyerr is President and Global CEO of YOSS. YOSS is a flexible talent platform co-created by The Adecco Group and Microsoft. It is a robust end- to-end solution that gives both enterprises and flexible talent the right tools and services to maximize productivity, manage their projects and talents, and harness the benefits of more flexible ways of working. Marcus has extensive experience in the digital evolution of the entire staffing sector. He has contributed significantly to the development of Digital Innovation within The Adecco Group as the most admired, innovative workforce solutions partner, providing exceptional customer experience through talent and technology.
His current priority is on building the most trusted destination for flexible knowledge workers at YOSS.