3 millennial cofounders created a job platform that looks like TikTok and works with Panda Express, H&M, and Everlane

Three men sit in a grocery store looking at the camera smiling
(L-R) Tristian Petit, Adrien Dewulf and Cyriac Lefort Courtesy of Heroes
  • Heroes is a social networking job platform that targets Gen Zers looking for retail and hospitality work.
  • The platform resembles TikTok and allows individuals to submit video job applications.
  • This is part of Insider’s entrepreneur series Star, Rising which highlights early entrepreneurs and businesses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Name: Cyriac Lefort, Tristan Petit, Adrien Dewulf

Age: 28, 28, 27

Location: New York City, New York, and Los Angeles, California

Business: A social networking job platform that targets Gen Zers looking for retail and hospitality work.

Backstory: Lefort and Petit were childhood friends in France and met Dewulf, who grew up in Belgium, in 2016 while the trio was studying in London.

As Lefort, Petit, and Dewulf perused employment sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, they felt the platforms didn’t target younger jobseekers like themselves. When they launched Heroes in 2019, they kept those customers in mind-the platform resembles TikTok, allows individuals to submit video job applications, and lets employers share day-in-the-life videos of workers.

Additionally, job seekers on Heroes can add context and clarity to their resumes, including situations like employment gaps, Lefort said. “The job application was broken for people our age,” he told Insider.

Gen Z represents about 30% of the global population and is estimated to become about 27% of the workforce by 2025, according to research company McCrindle.

Screegrab of the profile of someone using the Heroes app
Screegrab of the profile of someone using the Heroes app. Courtesy of Heroes

Growth: Heroes closed a $US6 ($AU8) million seed round in 2020, led by Greg McAdoo of venture capital firm Bolt. McAdoo was the first investor of Airbnb. Additionally, Heroes raised a $US1.5 ($AU2) million pre-seed round in 2019. Panda Express, Wendy’s, Everlane, and Abercrombie and Fitch are clients and, this summer, Heroes began working with retail giant H&M.

“These accomplishments in a year are exciting for the future – it shows Gen Zers are really grasping what we build,” Lefort said.

Before Heroes: Petit and Lefort earned their masters’ degrees from the London School of Economics in 2015 and 2016, respectively, before launching a non-profit called W Project which studied global entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, Dewulf, who graduated from the University of Warwick in 2016, ran a lightning company called Victor between 2016 to 2018. They all left their jobs in 2018 to move to the US and launch Heroes.

Challenges: During the pandemic, Heroes saw retail and restaurant close, negating their needs for talent. Meanwhile, the company balanced the growing need for virtual interviews from the employers who remained open.

Business advice: “Focus on hiring to build a better company – you have to hire people who know things you don’t know,” Lefort said. “What they’re doing can bring real value.”

Business mentor: The trio counts McAdoo as a mentor, who has advised them how to enter the US marketplace. Additionally, Nicole Johnson at VC firm Forerunner Venture helped them build a marketing strategy and connect with strategic partners.

A screengrab showing the behind the scenes of what its like to work at Panda Express
Heroes just launched a feed that allows users to scroll through an explore tab and see what its like to work at the companies which interest them Courtesy of Heroes

Why now is the best time to start a business: Out of crisis often comes innovation, such as Airbnb’s birth during the 2008 recession, Petit said. Heroes come as The Great Resignation continues to take hold in the US, where both hiring practices and workplace environments are under fire.

“A lot of companies have to challenge their recruitment process and rethink how they interact with younger generations,” Petit said. “There’s a huge opportunity here to figure out how to help these companies.”

On hiring: There are currently 25 people on the team and they are actively looking to expand, especially to help build out more of the social tech elements of the platform, Petit said.

Managing burnout: The trio makes sure to take screen breaks and go outside for sports and jogging. They also make sure to read books and spend time with friends.