Startup Stories: Reuben Williams, Co-Founder & CEO at SportsGrad

SportsGrad co-founder & CEO Reuben Williams joined us to chat about building a career platform focused on sports talent.

by hao-nguyen on August 17, 2022

Reuben Williams is the co-founder & CEO at SportsGrad, a platform where the best graduate talent come to accelerate their careers in sports.

Are you looking for a startup or scaleup recruitment agency? We can help connect you with world class talent around the globe, get in touch with us today!

Hi Reuben, great to be chatting with you again. For those who may not know, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and SportsGrad?

Sure. So SportsGrad helps people who don’t want a classic mundane office job find a job in the sport they love. When they join our community we connect them with the right people in sport who can help, we give them a community of like-minded people to develop and become job-ready with, all so they can start getting paid to do what they love.

This originally started as a YouTube channel when I was in uni, then turned into a #1 ‘Careers’ podcast just as I was made redundant from Cricket Australia (ironic, yes), and now our main product is a ‘Community as a service’ that allows individuals to land a job, and organisations to hire people from a smaller pool of high quality people that saves them time and money when building their teams. In the process we’ve helped facilitate over 230+ jobs in sport for our members. 

What were you seeing in the market that inspired you to launch a career platform focused on sports talent?

Haha, there was no market analysis involved. Perhaps something we should look at. It all came from scratching our own itch. The YouTube channel started because I was studying Sport Management and had no idea of what jobs existed in sport, so I went out to find them and recorded interviews with people in cool jobs to bring awareness to career options for my friends.

Ryan then jumped onboard, and we then turned the YouTube channel into a podcast and relaunched it. Once we realised it had traction, we created a subscription membership for people to network and learn from experts in sport. Then we started to get lots of HR managers flicking us their SEEK ads to share with our members because they could see how driven they were, so we eventually created a membership option for organisations to join in and hire.

What have been some of your biggest challenges as a co-founder since launching SportsGrad and what sort of lessons did you learn from them?

Prioritisation is a constant challenge. There’s so many good ideas and opportunities for us at the moment. All would be nice to do, but we’re still a small team. So when I need to decide what we spend our time on I often ask myself “Are we chasing antelope of field mice?”

I’ve learned that chasing ‘field mice’ projects is very deceiving – they will give you a quick hit of dopamine, make you feel good, productive, and like you achieved something, but ultimately they don’t move the dial. And after a while that starts to show in the areas that matter. So when I’ve had conflicting projects to work on, there’s always pressure, but I’ve learned to choose the short term pressure of saying ‘no’ to avoid the greater pressure of not hitting our key numbers that keep us afloat.

If you were looking to hire new team members to join SportsGrad, what do you think would be the company’s biggest selling point?

The first question we ask new team members is “What’s your dream job?” Because we want you to move on. We want you to reach your dream job. We know you’ve got a favourite team or sport you’d love to work for, and we did too. Our goal is to prepare you and connect you better than anyone to achieve it.

SportsGrad isn’t forever, so we say ‘let this be the greatest professional pre-season’. We’ll give you all the opportunity and tools to develop and do good work. And then one day when you’re working at the FIFA World Cup Final pinching yourself thinking ‘how did I get here’, we’ll be the ones cheering the hardest for you.

One last question before we let you go, what’s next on the horizon for SportsGrad? Where do you see it headed in the next few years?


Are you looking for a startup or scaleup recruitment agency? We can help connect you with world class talent around the globe, get in touch with us today!

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