Storytelling about Overpass with Lavie Popack

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 187. This week we have Lavie Popack from Overpass about the business case or the use case for why his customers choose Overpass and what they do.

Overpass is a marketplace for remote sales talent and companies to work together. Through web-based tools that enable fully manageable, transparent sales campaigns, businesses can build their sales team and work from anywhere in the world using one affordable platform.


Thanks, William

Show length: 27 minutes

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Lavie Popack
CEO Overpass

Lavie Popack is the founder and CEO of multiple businesses that stem from his curiosity, creativity, and relentless determination to make a positive global impact.

The learnings from MPower’s success influenced his decision to launch Overpass, a SaaS platform for remote work. Lavie saw the opportunity to use technology to bring transparency and accountability to businesses to give them the same trust and confidence in their remote workforce as their in-house team, while offering sustainable remote work opportunities to a global talent pool.

In line with his values of creating positive, sustainable impact, Lavie is active in his local community and charitable organizations. He considers family a top priority and dedicates his evenings to spending time with his wife and 6 children.


Music:   Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup:   Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to The Use Case Podcast. Today, we have Lavie from Overpass and we’ll be learning about the business case or the use case for why his customers choose Overpass and what they do. So I’m excited. Lavie, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Overpass?

Lavie Popack:   Sure, absolutely. So first off, thank you for having me on William.

William Tincup:   Sure.

Lavie Popack:   So I’m Lavie Popack. I started Overpass seven years ago. Initially it was out of a need that we had within our retail power and gas company that I started prior to that. Started that company and power energy 12 years ago. And with retail power and gas company, it was a strong need for setting up customer facing teams, customer engagement teams, so sales, and retention, and upselling, and customer success, and all types of customer facing teams. So I found myself struggling with that effort.

Initially I started in house internally hiring some team members, and then we went overseas. I hired some people out of the Philippines. I actually physically went out to a few places. One of them being Dominican Republic and a couple other small outfits. And it was extremely time taking, tedious, expensive, and the results just weren’t there, which led me to the thought of why does this all have to happen? Like, why is this such a struggle and why is this whole system so fragment? And can we just make one place where you can connect with the talent, specifically customer engagement talent, and find them, interview them and deploy and manage them and pay them all in one place.

William Tincup:   I love it. I love it. And I love it when, a lot of the innovation that happens in work tech, HR tech, recruiting tech, et cetera, it comes from these types of stories. It’s a gal, or a guy, or a group that has this problem. And then just says, there’s got to be a better way. It’s just got to be a better mouse trap. And then they go build it and then wake up later and they’ve got a company that’s worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So hopefully that happens here with Overpass.

So once you kind of started structurally to think about building Overpass and building kind of a community, because like one could look at Stack Overflow or GitHub and say for technical talent, these are communities. And there’s also a recruiting engine on the back end of that. With Overpass, you’ve created a community and there’s obviously a recruitment engine on the front end and back end of that. So how do folks generally when they’re interacting with you, they’re looking for this type of talent, they’re struggling, as you struggled, they’re struggling to find this talent. How do they first engage with you? Like just walk us through like, they’re struggling with this talent.

Lavie Popack:   Sure. Sure.

William Tincup:   You have this community.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah, absolutely.

William Tincup:   You can help them.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah, absolutely. So we’re very niche, we’re very much focused on the sales front, right? So we’re building sales and customer support. More recently we entered into customer support and we’re very much focused on building out that community and doing that by really understanding them and their pain points and what they’re going through specifically around both like the fact that they’re working from home, that it’s remote work. So there are some challenges that come along with that specifically.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   And then around the work itself, so around them doing sales work and getting insights and tactical measures or ways of understanding how to improve their overall effort and then just connecting, right, just connecting to other people within the community. So that’s both on the sales and support front. But to answer your question in terms of like kind of from the client side, that’s on the community contractor side, from a business perspective, like why do they come to Overpass? What happened? What were they doing before?

William Tincup:   Right. Right.

Lavie Popack:   Did they woke up one day and they’re like, well, I want to work with Overpass. When it comes to entry level work, when it comes to customer engagement work, it’s always been a challenge.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   It’s a real, real challenge for companies to get really good talent, but more than getting good talent. It’s having that visibility and the insights into the humans that you’re hiring prior to actually taking that step. Right. So essentially eliminating the risk right from the beginning.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   And the idea there is, is that because they’re working through our Overpass brand, right, we have a way where they work on our platform. So we have the engagement tools on our system, or we integrate with our other tools out there.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   We actually understand what it is that they’re doing right or wrong, good or bad. And instead of it being a stated experience, we have captured experience.

William Tincup:   That’s right.

Lavie Popack:   So we’re innovating around even the CV. So when a client goes through spends the time of trying to find the right profiles or I wouldn’t say profile, but the right candidates, screening through resumes and spending tons of money on the job boards. And for the most part, relying on local talent. Sometimes they have like similar options, which is more secondary where you can find some people remote, but it’s very much secondary on these platforms. That is very, very time taking, it’s expensive. And that’s not the future.

William Tincup:   That’s right. That’s not your hit rate either. I mean, you’re basically putting a lock. You can go on a big job board or, and look there, but the talent might not be there. And even if it is, you don’t know if it’s that talent that has the DNA of being successful in that role. And you’ve eliminated that. I’m reminded of a guy in Chicago, Jeff Furst, F-U-R-S-T. And he built kind of a staffing firm. Actually his dad built a staffing firm for call centers. And with this mindset of like, well, there’s a certain type of person that’s just going to thrive in a call center environment. That was kind of the thesis behind their business. And then they built after years, they built an assessment because it just sat on so much data of who was successful and who wasn’t, all that stuff.

And so they then sat on this data and they built an assessment so that they could bring candidates through the assessment to know who’s going to thrive. Because it’s all in that environment, it’s all who’s going to thrive in this environment? Not everyone thrives. I wouldn’t thrive, you might thrive, whatever, but there’s a specific type of person, I don’t know, if it’s personality or other things, other factors that will thrive. And it seems like you’ve done that, built a DNA of who will thrive in customer engagement, which of course, as you mentioned, leads, sales and sales, engagement and customer support. And I would assume you haven’t said customer success, but I would assume that’s all part of this as well.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah, absolutely. I mean the vision here is all of customer engagement.

William Tincup:   Yeah. Right.

Lavie Popack:   That from-

William Tincup:   Full spectrum.

Lavie Popack:   Or full spectrum, right? Yeah. That’s exactly correct. So it’s all about fit.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   And fit is like, when you’re getting married, you can be the greatest guy in the world, but here you’re just not the right fit for the girl of your dreams. Right.

William Tincup:   That’s right. That’s right.

Lavie Popack:   And then you do find that fit and you live happily ever after. So it’s not that you’re a bad person or somebody’s not good at what they do. They’re great. I think everyone’s fantastic. But for the right fit.

William Tincup:   Yeah. Right. I subscribe to the same theory that everyone’s got a uniqueness, a superpower. They can be, they have the potential to be good, if not great at something. Sometimes they know what it is. Sometimes they don’t even know what it is. And so I love the way that you’ve built this, first of all, the origin story, I love that. And I love that you’ve built a platform that helps people mitigate the risk of just kind a strategy that’s based on hope.

This is a strategy based on, okay, we’ve done this. This is the only community we serve. And we serve them deeply. It’s this full spectrum. What do you need? And let’s mitigate the risk of you placing somebody that will have more than a chance of thriving. We’ll have a pretty good success rate. We don’t guarantee success. However, you’re pretty close to being able to guarantee success with all the data that you have on the people that are successful. So I love it. When prospects first kind of see Overpass for the first time, what’s their experience? What do they fall in love with? What’s something that they come away with? I love this part of what you do.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. So I think the number one thing is the speed. I think people that probably what we were talking before, what are they doing before they get to Overpass? Right. What they’re doing is taking a tremendous amount of time, they’re losing patience, they’re spending money, they’re going from platform to platform. And they’re not getting the result that they want. When they get onto Overpass marketplace, they’re the thinking, okay, it’s a marketplace. Maybe it’s just, it’s going to be like stale. It’s going to take time and say, I’m going to have to jump through hoops, but when they get into it and they see that, like the contractors are not only exactly in line with what they’re looking for, but they’re like, wow, they’re responsive. They’re live. They’re actually there. And then on top of that, it’s an assistant marketplace.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   So which means that we have account executives that like guide them and get them through the process, like as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The average time it takes for our client to onboard a sales or customer support rep is two days. When they’re coming from,

William Tincup:   Wow.

Lavie Popack:   It’s two days. Yeah. And it happens all the time where it’s one day where they’ll actually register, create a job post, go through the profiles, interview, and hire in one day. Same day. Happens all the time. Every week. The average amount of time is two days. So, and that’s because it’s a live platform. Right. Live on the Overpass end, live on the account executive end, live on the contractor end. Right. So as everybody that they’re seeing are people that are actively engaging, actively on the site, looking, applying, doing things. And then that in combination with the insights that you have, so you know exactly who you want to even interview. And you have a high probability of them actually working out because like I mentioned before, of the captured experience. Right. What do they do for other clients?

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   And I don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. I could just see it off their profile, exactly what they did and what their accomplishments were and their work ethic.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   Right. When it comes to this type of work, like work ethic is huge.

William Tincup:   100%.

Lavie Popack:   Captured work ethic is unheard of.

William Tincup:   Well, when you mentioned speed first of all, 48 hours is amazing, especially with where they’ve been and what they’ve done up until that point. Like, that’s got to be just spell binding for them, but it’s also quality. So it’s the speed that probably lures them in and says, oh my God, this is the best thing. But it’s also these people that they’re placing, they know their stuff. They’re going to be good at what they do. There’s a chance that these are people that are going to thrive in their environment and maybe even go on and have a career with them, et cetera, or not, but they’re going to be able to impact things immediately. That’s what I love about speed is, especially when you’re placing people that know what they’re doing, it’s speed, but it’s not just putting people in seats if you will, it’s speed and oh, by the way, they’re competent. So you’ve kind of crossed off two of those things.

The services layer that you have I think, is also really amazing because a lot of these things are just technology and it can be a bit overwhelming for folks. But the fact that you have kind of a guided way of helping people through this process, I think is again, it’s really helpful for them to understand because it can be a bit daunting, a new platform. So I love that. What do you do with, I’m curious as to how you think about job descriptions or the role description of what’s needed. Because if they don’t hire for this type of position often they’re going to do what you and I would’ve done years ago. They’ll go to a job board, they’ll rip down a job description, kind of personalize it and then that’s it, which obviously that’s horrible. And do you all have templates?

Lavie Popack:   Yeah.

William Tincup:   Do you have a way to kind of refine that process for them?

Lavie Popack:   Yeah, absolutely. So we have a job post and the job posts kind of walk them through. Because this niche is specifically in sales and customer support,

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   We know the right things, like the clients actually care about when they’re looking to hire those types of people. And then we’re also corresponding that or correlating that with the profile, right, with the attributes of the contractors that way,

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   We have an algorithm that connects it to. Right. Connects basically the attributes of the job posts itself to the contractors profile. So yeah, that’s all there. That’s extremely simple. They don’t have to think about creating an actual breakdown of what they want. Everything is structured there. They just have to like kind of fill in the blanks and it’s clear as day. And it’s also based on feedback too.

So over like the years on the client side and on the contractor side, learning about like, what is meaningful to them around these types of hiring and on the contractor side, it’s like, what do they care about when they’re looking at job posts? What’s important to them? What’s like the top three, four, five priorities? And then go from there. And then initially we had certain things in there that honestly wasn’t really meaningful to either side. Right. We just like, we kind of made some assumptions like, okay, we think this is important. This is good. And then we pulled it out. So I think it’s really important. It’s like how we evolved the marketplace and the tools and everything that we do around it, even the resources and even the account executive in terms of supporting and assisting. Everything that we’ve done and evolve with has been based on feedback and researching.

William Tincup:   On both sides.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. And yeah, on both sides, client and contractor side.

William Tincup:   Yeah. You’ve got two sided marketplace, which means you have two different audiences, which is great. And if you listen to them, you can find the stuff, the nexus, you can find the stuff in the middle.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. Absolutely. [crosstalk 00:   16:   32]. One big thing there, which we realize is industry experience. And because we’re so niche in sales and support, we’re able to really double down on this industry experience too. So it’s like, it’s not just in industry experience, but they’re like, what industry do you specialize in?

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   Right. Specifically around sales. So what industry do you have, not only most amount of experience in, but you’re driven to be in that space going forward and matching against industry specialization. We found that to be hugely impactful, both from the client side and contractor side.

William Tincup:   Two questions we can… One is you’ve mentioned systems and integrations. And so if people need to, large companies, they have a bunch of different systems. Tell us about that. And I also want to learn what you learned about COVID and how it kind of impacted the talent side, maybe even the hiring side, but the talent side. And how they want things that are different. Because when we were talking about the job description, it just, it lit off kind of my light bulb to go like, wait a minute. The priorities are obviously always changing check, but COVID probably had some impact, but I don’t want to be too assumptive there. So one’s tech and the other is COVID.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. Sure, sure. So some of its underway already. Some of it is, it’s in my product roadmap for this quarter next quarter. But the essential idea there is integrating into the client’s primary customer engagement tool set.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   So that includes Salesloft to HubSpot, to Salesforce, to Google Meet, to Google Calendar, and Zoom. Right. So you have your demos and then from there, pulling in the data necessary to capture actual work ethic and experience. So that’s what we’ve been doing, we’ve been developing lately and that’s where the company is moving into in terms of like product roadmap over next couple quarters, which is great. And this is all based on like feedback that we’ve been getting from clients as well. It’s like, how do I get that insight right form the beginning before you even hire them.

And then of course, yeah, like while they’re working for us as well, it’s not just [inaudible 00:   18:   56]. And we have that insight right now when they’re working because we have our own suite of customer engagement tools on the platform itself. So on our Overpass platform, they could actually call and email and we have our CRM component and all of that. So they get a lot of that insight when they’re working off our platform. And what we’ve been building out and we continue to build out over the next couple quarters is to do that even when they’re not working on our tool set,

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   But they have their own tools that they’re working off of, which is really great.

William Tincup:   Oh, I love that because again, you work where they want to work and, but you’re still capturing that data, the work ethic data, the success data. So that the algorithm is continuously learning what success looks like. So that it’s helping you refine the search. And also for the talent side, what success looks like. I love that because it’s just, it just going to keep feeding itself.

Lavie Popack:   Exactly. Yeah. It shouldn’t be only based on what we could learn after working off our platform,

William Tincup:   Right. Right.

Lavie Popack:   Because as we know there’s tons and tons of billion dollar sales enablement tools out there.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   Right. So the idea is to integrate with those as well for the companies that are already on a tech stack that they’re comfortable with.

William Tincup:   I love that. Now COVID changing your world on both sides of the marketplace. What impacts have you seen?

Lavie Popack:   I mean, it’s been huge because we started this way before the pandemic.

William Tincup:   Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Lavie Popack:   So the vision that I had there was like I told you before, it’s like, it’s very physical, it’s very fragmented and we need to centralize this and digitize it, this entire experience. That was my thought process from the beginning.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   And then the pandemic hit and then we’re like, okay, like the entire world is doing this now. Right. The entire world is now working from home or working in a distributed form. So we’re like, that’s fantastic. And then we just saw a huge influx of clients and just demand in general because they needed to turn to something.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   Right. They needed to turn, because what they were doing before, which is working off the local job boards to find some local talent.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   Is not something that’s going to work for them.

William Tincup:   That playbook, throw that out. That playbook’s not going to work anymore. Now what? And I’m sure they’re were terrified on some level. It’s like, even if that wasn’t the most efficient, that’s what they were accustomed to and that’s how they’d been doing it and so it was normal. And all of a sudden then they were thrown into something like, okay, that’s not going to work. So now what? So intro Overpass.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. And I think a lot of companies have the concern of, I have these remote entry level people and they’re working from home either locally or not locally, maybe abroad, like how do I know they’re working?

William Tincup:   That’s right. Productivity.

Lavie Popack:   Productivity.

William Tincup:   Yeah.

Lavie Popack:   I hear it all the time. And what we have been working on and we’re continuing to work on is a very clear, direct answer to that question.

William Tincup:   Well, I think the beauty of that is you’re giving them into that eases anxiety. And a lot of this is if Billy or Janie was over here at the office, I could see them. And so I could understand their productivity because I could see them, I could, whatever. And when they’re at home, I can’t, I don’t have that visibility. So that creates anxiety. And so you’re getting to a point where you’re going to be able to ease that anxiety so that they have a ways kind of line of sight and visibility and transparency into productivity, which should ease some of that. Some of it will never ease because they still want the employees in an office, but some of it will be put to bed because you’ve put that anxiety off to the side said, no, no, they’re productive. Look at the outcomes. Look at the outcomes of their work and see their work ethic, et cetera.

Last question, and you don’t have to name names of course. Favorite customer story, someone that’s interacting with you. It could be, I know you got thousands, but just one of them that you just really, really, really love how they’ve interacted with Overpass, like how it’s transformed their business, et cetera. And I don’t want to guide you any direction, but just your favorite story.

Lavie Popack:   I’ll go by recent memory. So we have one client. We actually just interviewed him last week, that’s why it’s coming to mind right now. They’re actually in the recruitment space too, doing something different, but they’re in the recruitment space too. And they’re like, COVID hit, the recruitment space totally changed.

William Tincup:   Right.

Lavie Popack:   They actually need to like change with it. They had all this opportunity in front of them. And they turned to Overpass. It was a whole transcript. I was actually reading through it. And they turned to Overpass and because of Overpass they were able to capture tremendous market share. And they actually onboarded 25 seats in a matter of, I think it was like six weeks. Yeah, with Overpass. And then it’s like, nine months later, I think it might’ve been close to a year and they’re like, it has been a game changer. They Forex their revenue because of that.

William Tincup:   Oh my.

Lavie Popack:   Yeah. Yeah. They were just so happy and pleased. And this is just like internal market research interview that we did. Because we’re trying to understand like other use cases of how clients are using Overpass because like I said, it’s sales, but we’re finding clients are turning to Overpass for obviously customer support, but even like recruiters and even other forms of customer engagement. So we’re already seeing, and we want to kind of respond to the demand. So as we see the uptake in one particular area, we want to respond to that and then start doing like preliminary market research to understand how we want to structure it from a product perspective. But it was just very enlightening for me going through the transcript.

And I just love hearing like positive, successful stories from our clients. And in general, like not just on the client side, but the contractors side. I mean, you should hear some of these stories. We’re literally changing lives. Contractors that are out in countries where they literally could not find work would be two, three hours to a local business district where they could potentially get to their job where they could find work. And because of Overpass, and we hear these stories literally every week, because of Overpass they’re able to work, they’re able to feed their family, they’re able to take care of their needs and spend more time with their family as well. So hearing that on the contractor side honestly, is like, has been really amazing.

William Tincup:   I love it. First of all, I just love the platform. I love what you’ve built. And I love the fact that on the business side, there’s real business impact and on the talent side, there’s real people impact. Lives are changed and transformed. And it’s not every day you get to, with technology, it’s not every day that you get that. So Lavie, thank you so much for carving out time for us. I know that you’re crazy busy and I just appreciate you coming on The Use Case Podcast.

Lavie Popack:   Absolutely. William, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

William Tincup:   Absolutely. And thanks everyone for listening to The Used Case podcast. Until next time.

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The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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