Yuno, a new app that matches blue-collar workers with potential employers, is providing a way forward for millions of people whose jobs have gone abroad or been automated in recent years. We sat down with Founder Lorenz Fischer, PhD to learn more.
How did Yuno come about, what problem is it trying to solve?
Fifty years ago you would train for a job and do that same job until the end of your career. Now, due to rapid technological change, this is becoming less common and more and more people are finding themselves needing to re-skill mid-career.
I’m a huge fan of progress and automation but we need to recognise the pressure it puts on people. Over the last 30 years, millions of people have found themselves in positions where their jobs have either moved abroad or been automated away.
Yuno is focusing on blue collar workers as they are disproportionately affected by this shift and don’t have as many options as say a university graduate. Currently, their options to find work are the job centre and a few charities, but they’re not very technologically advanced and the service is not very personalised.
Yuno is looking to change this. Fundamentally, Yuno is trying to help blue collar workers keep up with technological change and get into jobs where they can progress and partake in the upside of all this change.
Fundamentally, Yuno is trying to help blue collar workers keep up with technological change and get into jobs where they can progress and partake in the upside of all this change.
At the same time we’re also helping employers who are struggling to fill skilled positions to find candidates that fit really well.
How does Yuno work?
Yuno is an app that uses a swipe function to get to know the user in an anonymous way. With each swipe you give away a little bit of information about yourself in terms of your personality, interests, and values. After swiping you generate a profile.
We do the same thing on the employer side and generate ideal candidate profiles. Then if there is a match, we facilitate that match.
It’s essentially like career coaching for the user and a headhunting tool for the employer.
What would success look like for Yuno?
Success for Yuno would mean that no matter where you are on the socio-economic spectrum you can confidently look into the future and you don’t need to be afraid of change. We want people to feel that they have Yuno, they have this tool, that can help them figure out where to go next and help facilitate that process.
We want people to feel that they have Yuno, they have this tool, that can help them figure out where to go next and help facilitate that process.
There is a huge need for a product like Yuno. Currently there are six million people in the UK who are living below the national living wage and on the other side we have labour shortages.
According to experts, this is only going to intensify over the coming years, so it’s a huge market opportunity but it’s also scary because we need to get it right. I think if we can start by changing the lives of a few hundred-thousand people that would be fantastic.
What have you found most surprising so far?
One thing I have found surprising is how much Zinc’s mission-driven approach unites everyone. You get so much positivity and good-will and that opens a lot of doors.
Often when you go and say “we’re a startup” you’re met with skepticism, but when you come from Zinc and say “we’re a start-up and we’re trying to address this social issue” people tend to say “that’s great, how can I help you?”. Everyone is super supportive of the mission.
How have you found the experience of building a company through Zinc’s programme?
The startup game is all about speed. Whenever you have a business idea, it’s not only a question of why are you doing this, but also why is now the right moment.
Whenever you have a business idea, it’s not only a question of why are you doing this, but also why is now the right moment.
You could build a business on your own but it would take a super long time. Zinc gathers all of these people that share a passion for the problem and who are willing to donate their expertise. They help you connect with users, customers, potential investors, and give you a platform to pitch your company.
Two weeks ago Zinc organised a trip to Sheffield and all I had to do was show up on time at the train station and then pitch to a room full of relevant people. It was a fantastic opportunity to make good contacts.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?
I have not yet had the success that warrants me giving advice to future entrepreneurs! In general though I would say that as soon as you have some life experience, sit down and think — what gives you goosebumps, what really gets you going, what gets you up in the morning?
Think about all the projects, companies, books, articles, movies, everything that you really like and click with and try and find the essence. Then follow that essence and try and integrate it into your life.
What’s next for Yuno?
We have a couple of pilots that we’re running right now to prove that the research we’ve done is applicable to the problem in the way that we want to apply it.
We’re also developing some good partnerships, we’re talking to people in Sheffield, Manchester and Newcastle on the customer end, and on the user end we’re partnering with Labour Xchange in Southend and we’re in talks with a trade union, too.
We’re also looking for investment. If we could get a few strategic angels on board that would be phenomenal and we’re looking at some grants through government agencies and charities that are interested in trying to solve the same problem as us.
Follow Yuno’s progress @yuno_link or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org