Starting their journey from a small 4 person team in a one-room office in the bustling tech hub of KPT, to winning the title of ‘World’s Best HRTech Startup’ whilst securing an impressive PLN 18 million in funding, Talent Alpha has achieved much more in their first year than many other startups do in CEE (let alone in a city like Krakow).
Talent Alpha is an enterprise level Human Cloud Platform that offers access to the best in class technical talent, as a service. As a marketplace, they connect global enterprises struggling with closing the ‘tech talent gap’ with vetted and battle-tested tech teams from small & medium sizde software houses in Central and Eastern Europe.
How would you define the journey of Talent Alpha?
I would say it has been a roller-coaster ride. With a lot of ups, and downs and a lot of steep turns, but as with any rollercoaster, it was sure a lot of fun. We discovered that things may not always go as you plan them, but that is the beauty of it. We are very happy that our idea proved to be successful, as we have started receiving the desired traction to label us as a ‘Post-Revenue Start-Up’. And more importantly, we discovered new ideas that support our company, and that complement the services we offer presently.
We are happy that the services that we have created have been met with quite a lot of interest from buyers, but we are also happy with the technology that we are building and working on and hope that it meets a similar level interest. A sign of the success of our project is that our platform is already getting offers for licenses, which is a good indicator that it has some serious potential.
“While attending various events around the world, we noticed an increased interest from potential investors and clients in the platform that we are building. It shows that our technology can be implemented across industries“
In awe of all the traveling Talent Alpha has been doing, we have to ask, is it tiring and stressful? And how do the various countries respond to the ideas and services provided by Talent Alpha?
Recently we were at the Tech Crunch in Berlin. And now, while reflecting on all the events, I would say I have been to approximately 40 or so- scattered across Europe and America this past year. Of course– a lot of time and a great deal of energy is spent trying to attract attention to our company, but I would say evangelizing the Human Cloud is quite beneficial. It is important to explain to people what we do, and once they grab onto the idea, it is easy then to understand the processes.
A nice accolade in the rollercoaster ride that we are on, is the award we won at UNLEASH. We are particularly very proud to have won it so early on in our journey as we are still in the early stages, and that makes it that much more special. Furthermore in Berlin this week, we were listed in the Digital Top 50, and we were selected as one of the top 18 early-stage startups in the world. This too, I would count as one of our great successes so far.
Talent Alpha has an excellent gender ratio with women making over 50% of the total workforce. What are the advantages of gender diversity for the organization?
It has been proven and thoroughly researched that diversity boosts productivity, creativity and innovation, and it has a direct impact on the bottom line of most businesses. In the technology heavy industry that we operate in (HRTech), leveraging as many perspectives and experiences as possible can only lead to better results.
I am happy that we can build on such a great mix of talent, cultures, gender, education and experience our team members bring to the table.
“We discovered that things may not go as you plan them to, but that is the beauty of it.”
What advice would you give to other early-stage startups?
Firstly, do your homework, make sure you understand the market and the specific insights about the said market to the extent that you are confident about the solution that you are bringing to the market and that it will be unique. There is no better way to do this than speaking to customers. I would say this is one of the primary reasons why we traveled to so many events this year, so we could get in touch with and get a feel for the market, to get into the hearts and minds of potential buyers and see how potential customers would react to it.
Secondly, I would suggest building a strong, fun-friendly team around you so you don’t have to do it all on your own. Startups are a team sport, and I am so happy to have been able to attract some of the best talent around to Talent Alpha.
“It is still important to bring communities together. In comparison to other metropolitan start-up hubs, like Paris, Berlin, and London, we, in Krakow, still have a lot of ways we could improve. The founders need to pay back to the start-up ecosystem, by organizing more events that help unite the various communities.”
What’s your opinion on the various accelerator programs that happen in and around Krakow? Have you been a part of any of them?
We have never formally taken part in an accelerator program, but we have been working at KPT, and that provides a great opportunity for seeing how everything plays out. I am a big fan of the systemic solutions that we have available in Poland and generally in Europe.
I feel we are very privileged in Poland because there is so much capital, and a lot more instruments to tap into and use, than they have in other countries. Attending one of the conferences called EIC (European Innovation Council), I saw that one of the challenges is the beginning of growth. I was happy to see that Krakow was nicely represented as a pretty big dot in the world map and that would mean that the ecosystem here, is pretty good.
But I feel it is still important to bring communities together. In comparison to other metropolitan start-up hubs, like Paris, Berlin, and London, we still have a lot of ways we could improve. The founders need to pay back to the start-up ecosystem, by organizing more events that help unite the various communities.
“As startup founders, we shouldn’t be desperate for money. It might sound a little preposterous coming from me when Talent Alpha has closed its first round of funding at PLN 17 Million but I mean it. You should be careful about which doors you knock on. Your investors shouldn’t only invest money but also their expertise in driving the company forward. Wait, build a great product and then select your investors who align with your vision”
What are your views on failure?
I would say it is a learning process, I never think of something as a failure, rather I see it as something that I could have done better. Throughout my career, I have messed up multiple times.
And in the reflective period, I think about what we could have done differently and what went wrong, instead of being hard on myself about why it failed.
I try to live by the policy described by Nelson Mandela, “You don’t fail, you either win or learn.”
What are Talent Alpha’s growth plans for 2020?
This year, we are going to continue to execute the strategy laid out at the beginning of our journey. Having now the key building blocks in place – the team, financing, and technology – we are now going to be restless in growing our business.
Our team will also continue to grow, but not with the same dynamism we saw in 2019. A lot of things will be going on in the technology and business spaces – so make sure you continue to follow our journey.
Team OMGKRK wishes Talent Alpha an even more successful 2020!
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