Do you remember the Deep Learning AgTech startup PEAT from the second round of our Accelerator Program in Darmstadt? – Since then the team around CEO Simone Strey and co-founder Pierre Munzel grew and gained ten more talents.
28 MAY 2017
Do you remember the Deep Learning AgTech startup PEAT from the second round of our Accelerator Program in Darmstadt? – Since then the team around CEO Simone Strey and co-founder Pierre Munzel grew and gained ten more talents. In light of this #BigBangMoment from PEAT, we wanted to focus a little deeper on recruiting in startups. As finding the right people can be one of the biggest success factors for startups, we asked PEAT for their experiences and advice in setting up a successful team. Find out what their recruiting secret is:
When did you realize that your team needed to grow?
Right from the beginning, it was clear for us that we would need more competences than our founding team could provide. We needed extra support not only in the fields of IT, biology and plant health, but also in marketing and design. Such a wish list is growing fast, but in the startup phase of founding a new company, it is totally normal that the same people are working in many different roles. The resources are really limited in the beginning. We are happy now that the day came where we can set-up new important positions in our team and fill employment vacancies.
How did you search for new talents? What have been the biggest challenges with that?
From our point of view, personal contacts are always the best first port of call to find competent and motivated people. Founders should always use their network and watch out for new talents – that is what has always proven to be a successful strategy for us. Particularly in the fields of machine learning, app development and backend development, there are fewer candidates on the market and companies are fighting for good talents to fill the important vacancies. In addition, the problem is that we never have the same resources and financial capacities as big companies to attract new employees. Beyond research within our network, we also inserted job postings on all the normal platforms, and took headhunting into consideration.
Which knowledge is most important in your team? Which talents have you been looking for?
Motivation, self-reliance and team spirit have been the most important skills. We need people who really want to bring our idea forward and are open to work and think with other people, especially with untrained people.
What is more important – team fit or expertise?
Definitely team fit. If someone is an expert in plant health for example but does not work well with the rest of our team, we will not be able to bring our idea to life.
Was employing new people a risk for you?
Yes and no. Of course, with every new employee our financial duties grow a little. But on the other hand, there cannot be growth without employees and that is what we want to do at the moment. One risk can also be that someone realizes that they don’t fit into our team. But that’s why we have probationary periods. That said, we haven’t had any bad experiences with new employees yet.
Which advice would you give other new employers?
Forget about Monster, Stepstone and job centers – what you need to do is to stick to your guts and experiences. And in addition, schedule a sufficient amount of time for finding employees. The HR teams in big corporates are there for a reason – hiring takes time.