zoomsquare shares lessons learned
Last week, 25 curious young programmers and designers got together at the first of a series of planned events by StartupEngineers – a newly-formed initiative that aims to motivate developers to choose a career in the startup scene, rather than at a big firm. To help them get a glimpse into dos and don’ts of starting up was the mentor for the night, Christoph Richter –co-founder of Vienna-based zoomsquare, and a self-proclaimed “serial entrepreneur”.
“There are a lot of great startups in Austria, especially in the technology sphere,” Jakob Hager, frontman of the initiative kicked off the event with a few words of encouragement. “Working in small startup teams allows you to actually make a difference.”
A few words of wisdom
zoomsquare started out about two years ago, and the team has planned to officially launch their service this coming September. A bit over a month ago, they were one of the three finalists of the Mingo Award 2013 in the category Company Formation. (Read more about it in our previous coverage).
“The first year is generally reserved for technology research,” Richter said in regard to the typical evolution of tech startups, and went on to describe their own experience. “What followed were four months of customer interviews, then four months of hacking together a prototype followed by building a team and trying to get funding. It is key to really analyse the sphere you are operating in. And to fulfil all the criteria: If they ask for a dedicated server, get a dedicated server, even if you know you will move your product to the cloud!”
Both Richter and his co-founder Andreas Langegger come from IT. “I tend to think that in a founders’ team, you need a balance between tech and design skills. We were both afraid we would end with a product that was over-engineered, as we both lack design and marketing skills.” But marketing and tech was not all there was to zoomsquare at the beginning. There was HR, too. “As a founder it’s both impossible to play all these roles or even have the slightest idea how to write a decent vacancy.” Luckily, they didn’t have to search heavily to find their dream team as they met their team members pitching at startup events. The morale of the story? Go out there, and make yourself known – it’s perhaps the first step to finding (and why notsecuring) your place in the startup scene.