I am a super big fan of podcasts, and as for many other people, they are a daily companion on my commute to and from the office.
Most of the podcasts, I hear have something to do with tech and entrepreneurship, and now there is a brand new, great one to add to the mix;
inQvation (where I work, full disclosure, ed) has launched a new podcast called MEET, where my brilliant colleague and general partner of inQvation, Christian Tost, talks to different inspiring entrepreneurs about their startup stories, challenges and victories along the way and – most importantly in my opinion – what they have learnt during the journey so far.
The first guest is Frederikke Schmidt of roccamore. While I am not personally into the fashion business at all, Frederikke is super inspiring to listen to for every entrepreneur setting out on the rough seas of entrepreneurship, and Christian asks her some really good, thoughtful questions.
Today, inQvation and a bunch of other leading Danish VC’s are launching the initiative “A Helping Hand” aimed at helping the Danish startup ecosystem through the consequences of Covid-19.
The idea is as simple as its brilliant: Apply and receive 30 minutes of free advice from industry VC experts on how you make sure that your startups make it through this unprecedented crisis.
The initiative reflects in a super positive way on how we think and work at inQvation. Whenever we engage with a startup we do it not only with capital capital but also with human capital;
Expertise and a helping hand in trying to help the entrepreneurs, we work with, become as successful as (in)humanly possible.
Or as we put it:
We. Help. Entrepreneurs. Succeed.
No matter, who you are, what stage you’re at, what industry you’re in and what your Covid-19 related challenges are, apply today for free advice from people who have seen and experienced more than most – and are there to help.
Hiring for a key role in a new startup is both interesting and frightening.
You get the opportunity to meet great people, who have invested time and interest in what you’re going to do, and you really need to make sure you end up with the right one.
It can be tempting to just interview a few people for the role to save time and go deeper than you can with more people. But actually you should do it the reverse; you should run more 1st interviews, be a bit less deep and just form your impression as you go along.
Because it will enable you to get the real feel for who’s going to be the right candidate. Just as you know when you’re in the same room with the person, you will know when you’re not. And those moments will also help you inform what’s needed for someone to be the right fit.
I am following this approach for the role of Head of Product for MedTech X, and I think it’s paying off. I am meeting lots of people, and steadily I get more crisp about what the right profile for the role is.
As I go through the interviews I keep a spreadsheet for myself, where I write down my comments and score tha candidates. I do that based on:
Chemistry (don’t ever underestimate that – especially in a startup)
I give everybody an average score based on the above and I supplement with comments. In that way I always have an overview, but more importantly: I can go back and revisit based on the next interview I do.
In that way I can refine my opinion on candidates and what’s crucial for the right one to have as I go along and without ever losing the bigger picture. And I can use the investment I make in meeting quite a lot of different people to the full effect – and ultimately hopefully get the right one.
I am currently recruiting for a Head of Product of our new MedTech X. During that process I have already learned some valuable lessons that I wanted to share with you in case you are also looking to recruit.
Ditch the standard application process. If you are recruiting for anyone outside of a very well defined, niche and/or junior position, forget about asking for applications. Most likely, the candidate you are looking for is (a) not actively looking and (b) doesn’t see herself writing applications all day long.
Trawl LinkedIn for good candidates. The business social network actually has some very good tools for searching for people with specific experience, seniority etc, and their InMail system is rather efficient for reaching out. Just make sure that you’re crystal clear in your headline and that you have a job profile you can attach.
Book introduction calls. Use one of the online calendar services to make it possible for candidates to find a timeslot and book an informal first chat about the job. It is super convenient, it breaks the social ice and reduce any awkwardness, and you get a chance to get a first impression. If that turns out great, just follow up while on the call with an invite for an in-person meeting, and you’re off.
If the role is super important to you and your company make sure that you do all the above yourself. There are a ton of people willing to help you – but at a cost. And there is nothing in there which you can’t do with nothing more than an investment of your time (which is precious, I know).
But the other reason for doing it yourself is the most important one: If it is truly a KEY position – as this one is – you need to send a signal to the candidate that you’re deeply invested yourself in finding the right fit. When you find the right one it will help send you on to great things together.
Do you have experience in Product Management and – preferably – in MedTech? Then maybe you’re the one I am looking for to join our new MedTech X-startup at inQvation Studio?
I am extremely passionate and excited about this project. I have been working on it from different angles for months, and it is a super interesting case:
We have a big interesting problem, we’re addressing, in a space where there are no good solutions today. We are working with a team of experienced scientists on some potentially breakthrough-technology. And we are putting a killer advisory board in process.
I have worked on a lot of different things over the years, and I can safely say that this is by far the most interesting, worthwhile and challenging thing, I have ever done – in every good way.
It makes a ton of sense and feels 100% right no matter how I look at it. And we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in peoples lives. No kidding around.
Yesterday at inQvation we were honoured to get a visit from the brand new Incubation Studio team from LEGO Ventures. They are just setting out with some really cool people onboard, and they had asked if they could come and learn from our experiences, and of course they could. We are always willing to share and have a very transparent approach to the things we do, and the things we learn.
One of the things that came up during our discussion is how much work-in-progress it is to build a Studio-setup that works. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are doing random stuff every single day – we are most definitely not. But what it does mean is that nobody – not even the ones who claim they do – has a proven, repetitive model for how they make it work in all its fine print.
In fact, I don’t think you can create a model that works the same way every single time down to the tiniest detail. What you can do, however, is to create and fine tune an approach ‘above the water line’ so to speak, where you can communicate and replicate in broad terms, how your funnel for projects look. To that end to the naked eye it will look like a standardized approach, yet ‘below the water line’ it will be different tools, methods and learnings from time to time. I don’t think it can be in any other way.
All the teams did a great job, and in the end Kleen Hub ran away with it. I will now get the opportunity to help them grow their circular concept within fast food packaging over the coming months. It is a really great team with an equally great idea, and I can’t wait to get started.
It has been an amazing experience to start from scratch with no more than a vague idea and then finish off with being able to crown a winner. We have learned a lot from it – the good and the not so good – and we will spend the coming weeks reflecting and documenting our learnings, so we can hopefully return with a new edition of the iQnite case competition at some later point.