Kona & Co.

Kona & Co.

How Kona & Co. Scaled its Business and Increased Speed to Market with Bullhorn

Founded in 2017, Kona & Co. is an executive search and recruiting firm headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria. The team recruits senior managers, directors and C-suite executives looking for their next professional challenge within Australia and New Zealand’s leading organizations. Kona & Co. has been a customer of Bullhorn since 2019.

The Challenge

Founder of Kona & Co., Ephram Stephenson is no stranger to growing a business. Kona & Co. was his 6th recruiting startup and one of many successful companies he’s built. With plenty of experience under his belt, Ephram had three main focuses when starting up the business: speed to market, growth and scalability, and a quick and easy ramp-up for the team. In order to fine-tune those focus areas, Ephram wanted a robust recruiting solution that was built for his business—one that was reliable, configurable, scalable, had strong support and research and development, marketplace integrations, and a solution that would be a partner, rather than just a vendor. 

The Solution

Having used Bullhorn for previous startups, the decision was easy; In 2019, Ephram purchased Bullhorn ATS & CRM. “The reason why I chose Bullhorn is because it is the CRM of choice,” Ephram said, “In startup mode where you’re in fast growth and fast-paced environment, you really need a software CRM that you can actually rely on.” 


“Why make the jump to Bullhorn? For one, it’s tried and tested—it’s a proven CRM that I’ve used multiple times now.”
Ephram Stephenson, Founder, Kona & Co.


Ephram continued building his startup through strategic investment in Bullhorn’s ecosystem of technology partners. “The beautiful thing about Bullhorn is the marketplace partners,” Ephram said of investing in cube19, Kyloe, Volcanic, and CloudCall. 

The Results


Kona & Co. began with one user but quickly scaled to three users within the first four months on Bullhorn. According to Ephram, “without a CRM like Bullhorn, it would be impossible for me to scale the business.” You’re only as good as your last placement, Ephram explains, and your company needs a software that enables those placements quickly. “It’s all about candidate generation,” he says, “It’s all about speed to market and ultimately, Bullhorn allows us to do that.”


“Amongst new consultants, seasoned veterans, and consultants that are brand new to the industry, we know recruiting experience with Bullhorn allows you to really train, develop, mentor, and manage their workflow on a day to day basis.”
Ephram Stephenson, Founder, Kona & Co.


Partnership & Support

For Ephram, the technology he invests in needs to be more than just that; it needs to be with a trusted partner that his company can form a relationship with. When Kona & Co. was initially founded and Ephram was the sole recruiter, he explains that having experience, customer support, or technical support available to help him was incredibly beneficial. “Everyone’s always on hand on the Bullhorn team to take any calls for you to ask for any advice,” Ephram said. “It’s more of a partnership with the individuals over at Bullhorn as opposed to just selling your solution out of the box and add your own devices.” He also shares that even after using Bullhorn for a decade across various businesses, he knows he can rely on the technology to be up and running.

And as Kona & Co. grows, so too does Bullhorn. “The beautiful thing about the software is that it’s always evolving, always new features. To me it’s a no brainer, Bullhorn is the best solution for my business and businesses.” He shares that even as colleagues and employees leave to strike out on their own, he always recommends Bullhorn.


“The old saying goes, we sleep, eat, breathe Bullhorn.”
Ephram Stephenson, Founder, Kona & Co.


The Future

Kona & Co sees itself as more than just a source of candidates. Moreover, it is a collaborative organization that helps clients and candidates to achieve both their personal and professional goals. As Ephram continues to scale his business—with the goal of growing to 15 employees in 12 months and plans to expand to Perth, Brisbane, and finally, the United States—he also continues to support the Kona & Co Recruitment Training & HR Business. With each placement made by the company, Training & HR provides all of its placed candidates free access for 12 months to its Learning Management System. Between Kona & Co’s impending growth and commitment to candidate and client success, Ephram’s ultimate aim is for Kona & Co. to be recognized as the go-to brand for executive search on a global scale. 


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