On the jury this year will be Swedish entrepreneur and business leader Joakim Barneus. In 2001, Mr. Barneus co-founded the European branch of Monster, and served as European COO until 2002. He is also the founder of the student staffing company, Komet, which employs over 5,000 students, and helped develop the business-oriented personality test Validero.
You’ve developed the Validero personality test. What exactly does it test for, and how?
I had been working in recruitment for many years before working on Validero, which I helped develop alongside a trained psychologist. One thing I had noticed then was that most personality tests being used in recruitment were very academic, and very hard to understand. Most of all, though, they were only applied at the end of the process, after having screened through hundreds or thousands of applicants, so it seemed somewhat pointless. So I then thought about developing a new kind of personality test more suited to modern-day work life, with a focus on specific personality traits; making the process easier for both recruiters and applicants. We also try to apply the test during the initial stages of the recruitment process – before having screened through all applicants – in order to put personality more at the forefront when selecting future employees.
As the founder of a student staffing agency, what are some things you notice in common between those looking to enter the workforce, and those looking to start their own businesses?
Aside from lack of experience, there isn't much in common, as they are facing completely different challenges. With students, one thing I notice is that, though lacking in experience, they are often eager and quick to learn entire sets of skills in fields with which they are not familiar – financial management, customer service, IT, and so on. Students, I find, are some of the best talent for my customers, as they are very flexible in that way. When it comes to entrepreneurs, however, I think the problem is that many of them don’t have a clear vision for their revenue model. Second of all, they become enamoured with a certain idea or with a certain mindset. While many of them are well-organised in most areas, many often do not focus enough on their revenue model, and therefore do not have a good idea of how their company will make money.
What is one thing you expect to see at this year’s betapitch?
I think mobile startups will have a large presence this year, as that’s probably the fastest-growing industry these days – mobile applications, advertising, and so on – and therefore probably the easiest way to make money at the moment. As someone who has worked in HR for many years, I’d also like to see more startups in this field.
Finally, without giving too much away, what’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring startups competing in these year’s betapitch?
As I mentioned earlier, one thing I notice among many new startup companies is that they often have a good idea and vision for their product, or whatever they wish to sell, but do not focus enough on their revenue model, and therefore are not able to make as much money as they wish with their startup. So I would advise any aspiring startups to keep a clear idea of that as they develop.
Working for Lufthansa back in 2002, Joachim (CEO & founder @ Jolocom) had the idea to develop a better system for companies to swap data internally and for people to share their data with companies. Back in 2002, the resistance to open networks and communication was strong. However, just a few years later, social media and blockchain changed the rules of the game, which led to the founding of Jolocom in 2014. (Read the whole story here)
Ellie joined the Jolocom team in the fall last year. She’s part of the content team and is responsible for communications and online platforms maintenance.
Volker is currently studying IT-Systems Engineering at HPI, working on his master thesis with Jolocom. He joined the software development team in March this year and has previously worked from betahaus for another startup company.
With two locations in the heart of the city, betahaus l Sofia is a home of some of the most successful Bulgarian startups and is one of the leading innovation hubs in Sofia. Their main space is located just two minutes on foot from Sofia University and the second one stands right at the central Slaveykov Sqaure and has a beautiful view over the city.
As all of our locations, its pet and bicycle friendly and offers the same comfy and relaxed atmosphere you've come to expect from betahaus. Identical to our space, betahaus | Sofia uses glass doors for its team rooms, to build transparency and inclusion.
betahaus | Sofia is spread across 1800 q.m. divided into 2 separate spaces. Shipka 6 is 1300qm and takes over the entire 3rd floor of the UBA – Union of the Bulgarian Artists. Slaveykov Square is placed on the roof top of another historical building in Sofia. There they have two balconies with 360 degrees view, a cafe/bar and a shared kitchen.
Membership plans start from 350,– BGN for Workspace and go up to 435,– BGN for Private Offices. Currently, the space has around 190 members and will soon implement also Club Memberships plan. Every member of the Club will have access to events, conference room and betahaus community.
Ellie: Currently we have around 5 active pilots and we effectively work B2B2C. So we build our application for businesses which have their own user bases.
Volker: One of our ongoing projects is a pilot with Telekom. With their team, and partners from Riddle & Code and Simple Mobility, we have created the Magenta Scooter — an innovation in e-mobility that allows users to ride share while using their decentralized digital IDs. That means users can rent the scooter with our app and our identity. The main advantage there is that you can store your drivers licence in your Jolocom SmartWallet and then share this license with the app of Telekom. This eliminates the long onboarding process of verifying your license.
Ellie: Another example is our e-government collaboration with The City of Antwerp called Blockchain on the Move. Using the SmartWallet, municipal employees can issue and validate their own credentials and create eIDs for citizens – it’s a digital ID with which you can register at the university or go to a swimming pool, as two examples.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Ellie: I know that before joining betahaus Jolocom was in the Ethereum office – a collaborative blockchain space for companies also building on the same platform and the idea was always to stay within a coworking space. When they closed and we had to move, the next closest choice in terms of company culture was betahaus.
Ellie: The people in the building and the spaces are just really cool. I personally don’t go to community events as much as i would like to but I still end up meeting a lot of people here. Mostly in the kitchen. One of my good friends is actually someone I met in betahaus.
Volker: I once saw a friend of mine presenting at betabreakfast and I didn’t know that he would be here. It was so funny seeing him on the stage.
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.