Back in 2015 Marek Danyluk set out to launch a new type of boutique search firm. Marek, who was based in Singapore at the time but has now moved to London, says he wanted to get away from the traditional “country-centric approach” to recruitment and create a company with a more international ethos.
“I could see that senior executives were becoming increasingly global in their career aspirations, so my vision was to foster a mobile workforce, helping candidates move into the best opportunities across the world.” says Marek. “And I wanted to help employers find talent globally.” he adds.
Marek named the business SpaceExecutive, and from its office in Singapore it soon began to fulfill his ambitions. “In our third year of operation, for example, we placed people into jobs in Asia and in countries as diverse as Denmark, the US and South Africa,” says Marek, adding that Space Executive established a Hong Kong office in 2018.
Having “outperformed the recruitment market” in Asia, Space Executive has recently opened up in London, where it specialises in helping senior talent find jobs in startups that are backed by private equity or venture capital investment.
“As a global business, London is the logical next step for us. It’s a hub for financial and digital innovation, and it’s still a gateway to Europe.” says Marek, who says many of his London staff speak at least two languages. “Our mandate is to give professionals in leadership roles opportunities across Europe, not just the UK. We’ve already worked on roles in cities such as Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt.” he adds.
While many European search firms have subsequently set up in Asia, Marek says Space Executive “takes a lot of confidence” from doing the reverse. “We have a creative, entrepreneurial mentality in London because we’re essentially a startup ourselves here, but we also have a high-performing established business in Asia behind us – and that’s a great combination for job seekers.” he says.
Importantly for candidates, Marek says Space Executive has come to London with existing clients, primarily Asian startups that are entering the European market and need to build out their management ranks. “We’re often the only search firm these companies are working with, or one of a select few, because they know and trust us from Asia.” he adds. “So we’re providing candidates with a unique job pool that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
Many of the businesses that Space Executive’s London office recruits for are in fintech – including payments firms, virtual banks and insurtech companies – and may be particularly appealing as potential employers for executives currently working in the banking sector. There are also top-level opportunities on offer at startups in sectors as diverse as online healthcare, ecommerce, and data and analytics.
Space Executive’s London office can help candidates find startup leadership jobs in fields such as change and transformation, strategy and corporate development, sales and marketing, and business development.
In technology, openings typically include chief technology officers, heads of digital, and senior architects.
Marek says Space Executive “really understands the startup market.” Not only has Space Executive been hiring in the sector in Asia for several years, it also has its own venture capital arm, Space VC, which invests in early-stage technology firms. “This gives us unique insights into the startup ecosystem: we know what the jobs are and why they are needed, and we know the challenges of running a startup. We have the subject matter expertise to help candidates find exciting jobs within startups.” he adds.
Moreover, Space Executive tracks funding cycles to know which businesses are being invested in and are likely to have job opportunities. “We’re bullish about the long-term outlook for the startup sector in London and Europe.” says Marek. “And we’re already recruiting for fast-growing businesses that have urgent hiring requirements for key decision makers, even during the coronavirus outbreak. They have agile teams, great tech, and are used to doing effective video interviews and taking candidates through the hiring process quickly.” he adds.
Technology is also a key part of what makes Space Executive stand out as a search firm, says Marek.
For the past five years Space Executive has been continuously investing in best-in-class tech – from cloud-based databases to high-end laptops – to help give it an edge over competitors. “Candidates have also benefited from this investment, because it’s enabled our consultants to serve them with speed and accuracy.” he adds. “A lot of recruitment firms actually use antiquated technology, so you’ll notice a big difference as a job seeker when you deal with our team.”
The investment that Space Executive has made in technology is now helping it better navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Video interviews, for example, have gone very smoothly and we’ve been working with candidates and clients so they understand how to make the most of them,” says Marek, adding that Space Executive has additional expertise in conducting video interviews because its Asian offices frequently use them when relocating people from other regions.
Meanwhile, Space Executive’s rollout of cloud technology means its employees have easy access to the tech they need to help candidates while working from home. “We’ve always encouraged our staff to work flexibly, and as a company we’re nimble and agile, so we’re well prepared for the current situation.” adds Marek.
Marek says he’s hired “amazing recruiters” with “innovative minds” in both London and Asia, and that the company’s “positive environment and unique culture” have improved the way Space Executive works with candidates and clients. Space Executive in London is based in a modern office in Shoreditch, close to the city’s tech and financial districts. “Having the right kind of people and the right kind of workplace is just as important to the success of a search firm as having great technology.” says Marek.
In the short-term, Marek is focused on helping his employees get through the current period from a personal and family perspective. “And then as we move forward, our aim is that the London office will help us continue our journey of building a truly global recruitment boutique, underpinned by our strong relationships with top-tier candidates and employers.”