Friday, March 13, 2015

Polish VC, Innovation Nest organizes a Meetup to help Start-ups tackle the Recruitment Issue

Paul Chen

In many incubator and accelerator programs and some VC's, once a startup gets up to a certain level where they have raised millions of dollars in funding and/ or have acquired a large amount of customers and are earning revenue, the incubator and accelerator starts to phase out their involvement. Once in a while, it is encouraging to see a VC continue to develop their startups professionally even after that point. Piotr Wilam, the founder of Innovation Nest said that this meetup was organized to give startups a chance to connect with each other. They don't usually have a chance to talk and exchange ideas.

He would like to keep it as an invite only meetup inorder to connect the right type of people and to make the time spent more effective. Ideally, Mr. Wilam would like to hold a meet up every other month. And in the next meetups, he would like to invite startups and mentors for other parts of Poland as well as the rest of Europe.
The first meetup was in October where they talked about „getting your first 1000 paying customers”.  Their second meetup was held in December, where the topic was „Fundraising”.  On Friday March 6, 2015, they organized their third meetup.  This meetup was called „SAAS Meetup: People”.
There is a saying that circulates around the start-up community that states,”An investor doesn’t invest in your idea, he invests in you and your team.”
Such ideas are true. It is nice to have an really great idea, but it is great to make that idea into a reality.  As a start-up, you can’t do that without a great team. Larry Page had Sergey Brin for Google and Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak for Apple.  
In order to get your start-up to grow, your team needs to grow as well.  As a result, you will need a really well functioning team.  
Innovation Nest brought together three recruitment experts to Krakow for their meetup about building a great start-up team. And they had many bits of hard-won wisdom to pass on to the start-ups in attendance.

Ola Pszczola, HR Manager of Netguru, told them to hire slow and fire fast.  She emphasized that company branding is very important in getting good talent.  Ms. Pszczola also said that money is not always the most important recruitment tool.  Talented individuals often would like to get involved in a meaningful project.   She also hinted that if you must part with a colleague, make sure it is on pleasant terms to prevent backlash.  
Thor Muller, CIO of Off.Grid:Electric, told the group that your first three months will often indicate how it will go in your first three years with a hire.  He also advises that you put new recruits through a long and tough orientation process inorder to make sure that the new hire is on the same page as the rest of the company.  Mr. Muller emphaszied that constant communication is the best way to prevent any bad surprises.
David Bizer, Partner at Talent Fountain and ex-recruited of Netscape and Google, Said that company culture is one of the most important things that a start-up should establish in the beginning.  Like when you are getting into a new relationship, you should get to know what are each other’s core values.  He advises that a start-up should create a company culture that will help employees succeed.
Along with the keynotes, there was a two hour of speed mentoring with the partners of Innovation Nest, the expert speakers, Piotr Nedzynski (COO of Base), Jakub Kubrynski (CEO of DevSKiller), Paul Klipp (Product Manager of Kabanery), and Sam Cook (CEO of Prism Communications).

One of the most interesting parts of the day was the Open Space Technology  sessions. It was as the organizer called it, a longer coffee break. The cool thing is that there were topics like:
- How to establish company culture?
- How to measure/increase work efficiency?
- Hiring abroad?
The positive points of this approach is that you can join the discussion that interest you and that you can switch discussions when you want. Sometimes, the best way for a startup to solve a problem is to consult other startups. This was a wonderful opportunity to do so and to share some ideas and to understand that there are other startups that are going through the same growing pains as you.
„We are quite happy with the growth of the meetups.  This time we had about fifty start-ups participating, but we are shooting for one hundred start-ups in the next couple of meetups.” Marcin Szelag, Partner of Innovation Nest
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This post was originally published in Polish on, and was financed by PARP.

1 comment:

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