Most people wouldn’t bond over recruiting, but Joe Christopher and Matt Tant, co-founders of Nashville-based Relode, built their startup from shared woes in the hunt for talent.

Maybe unexpectedly, however, their frustrations came from different sides of the recruitment space.

Having served as Vice President, Software Development, for a public healthcare technology company, Joe had hired a lot of people and often worked with staffing companies to find the right candidates — help that didn’t come cheap.

Back in 2005, Matt was a new recruiter in his second week on the job, sitting under the weight of an open position with a Fortune 100 firm. Finding a winning candidate took hours of research and hundreds of phone calls. With success came a big reward, but he also knew that if he’d come up empty handed, he would have had nothing to show for his efforts.

From shared woes to online marketplace

Experience showed Joe and Matt that the recruiting process was inefficient and killed productivity — it needed to be fixed. Drawing on their insights and technical know-how, they launched Relode, an online marketplace that connects businesses with independent recruiters.

What Matt has described as “Uber for recruiting” is an easier way for companies to engage a recruiter who can meet their needs at a competitive rate.

Why use Relode

First, companies choose the level of service they’re looking for: verified candidates or qualified resumes. After entering the basic parameters for their search, like timeline and location, they choose from recruiters using criteria like price, experience, industry, and feedback. Then, they work directly with the recruiter of their choice to move their job search forward.

With no agency in the middle, Relode is able to cut overhead costs and offer significantly lower rates. And, because the recruiters work independently, they set their own fees and have both more flexibility in their work and more certainty that they’ll be compensated for their efforts.

Great tools help Relode focus on their core business

Relode launched last summer and by September had turned to Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll) to manage their staff payroll. “I did it manually for one month—that was enough for me,” said Joe. “We need to focus on our core business, not background processes.”

That focus has paid off for the young startup. They have recruiters in more than 50 different job categories, with 72 new recruiters in the onboarding and training process. Their beta launched in November, and they’ve been growing and refining their model ever since.


“We have a limited number of employees — nine at the moment — and we want to make sure they’re looked after,” said Joe. “Gusto takes that burden off our back.”

Brennon Mobley, director of sales and operations, is just as blown away by Gusto. “As an employee, I’ve never had to ask about my paycheck,” he said. “I also love the fun vibe of the emails we get on payday are.”

The founders also have a real appreciation for the unexpected calm that comes with making sure state and federal taxes are taken care of. “Knowing that all the right amounts of money are being paid to all the different entities is a real blessing. We love having peace of mind when it comes to dealing with the government,” said Joe.

“Using Gusto doesn’t just save time and increase productivity for our small team, it stops us from second-guessing ourselves,” he added.

In addition to Gusto, Relode’s sanity-saving toolbox includes Braintree for online payments and Dropbox for sharing and storing files.

Thanks to the team at Relode for sharing their successes with Gusto, and to Joe and Brennon for giving us a glimpse into their startup life!

Margot Leong Margot Leong, a contributing author on Gusto, provides actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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