By Macaela Bennett
Through a variety of career trajectories, the three Greenwich co-founders of the online marketplace QuadJobs all started out with an array of odd jobs as they looked to make an extra buck.
QuadJobs co-founder and former Deutsche Bank managing director Betsy O’Reilly worked her way up the ranks of finance after stints as a short order cook, piano teacher, limo driver and posing as the Easter bunny for children. “I was the queen of answering help-wanted ads,” O’Reilly said during an interview at the company’s downtown Greenwich offices. “I worked my tail off in those summer jobs in high school and college and got to finance in an unconventional way.”
Her co-founders include Greenwich native and former head of recruitment for J. Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch Andra Newman, along with Bridie Loverro, author of six books and founder of Blue State Coffee. Both trace their entrepreneurial roots to their college days — Newman to a paper delivery business at Dartmouth College and Loverro as a co-founder of a tutoring company with her Harvard roommate.
In their own way, each learned through the importance of gaining work experience and making connections to be successful. As Greenwich moms, they also noticed a “pain point” for many households and small businesses: lots of tasks requiring some extra help on an as-needed-basis.
They credit Loverro with proposing the original concept, and in 2013 the three drew from their odd-job experiences to found QuadJobs as a place to match employers and college students. The website launched in Fairfield County and allowed employers to advertise tasks they needed done and area college students to respond. Soon after their success pushed them to expand throughout the tri-state area and Chicago.
“From the beginning, we never wanted to be a small, hometown company,” O’Reilly said.
The business now employs about 10 people full-time with additional offices in Chicago and New Jersey and has plans to push into Austin, Texas; Denver; and Philadelphia. It advertises having connected thousands of students with temporary positions worth millions in pay.
“As soon as I heard about QuadJobs, I immediately went to the site,” Houlihan Lawrence sales associate Lindsay Clauss Sheehy said in an interview. “I’ve had QuadJobbers clean out my garage, put together Ikea furniture, organize our playroom and just to play basketball with my kids.”
A couple weeks ago, Sheehy also began training QuadJobber Isabella Crawford, 20, a rising Boston College junior and Greenwich Academy graduate, to help her as a temporary assistant at Houlihan Lawrence. Since impressing the founders with her work ethic, Crawford will pair her job working at the real estate company’s local offices with interning for QuadJobs.
Her work experience has included a lot of babysitting gigs, she said, as well as helping out at birthday parties and a Fourth of July event, where she realized she was working for one of the founders.
After starting the company partially because of their own needs, the three founders are frequent employers on the site. “My kids have a running joke that they never see the same babysitter twice,” O’Reilly said, adding her babysitters have included standout students such as one who needed to make money before moving to Belgium for an internship with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO.
Students currently featured as top QuadJobbers on its site include those studying accounting, engineering and neuroscience. For students, the founders hope the job opportunities will provide them with an outlet to take on work despite their abnormal schedules, and also make potentially important career connections that could lead to later full-time jobs. “You might be cleaning the garage for a partner at whatever top firm,” O’Reilly said. “You never know where that can lead.”
The website allows employers to rate their QuadJobbers for future employers to browse and consider during their hiring process, and shows how many jobs employers have booked. When it comes to pay, QuadJobs stays out of it, the founders said. The employer will advertise how much the job pays and sets up that transfer with the student. “People can use the site at their comfort level,” O’Reilly said.
Some employers hire students site unseen, but others will arrange in-person interviews with several candidates beforehand. It’s all up to them, she said.
QuadJobs is a Connecticut Innovations portfolio company and has completed two funding rounds in 2014 and 2015. It’s backed by both angel and institutional investors, O’Reilly said, and it anticipates dramatic growth with a goal of eventually being “an integral part of the college experience.”
“We want to see this be the sort of thing where students get to campus, pick up their books and make a QuadJobs account,” Loverro said. “It’s a logical thing to add into student life.”