Passion for entrepreneurship has inspired us to create Foundum. We believe in entrepreneurs as they have the greatest potential to drive, change and positively influence economies & societies.


March, 2012

The art of recruiting as a Startup

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Startups are constantly in need of new skilled and qualified employees. The best ones are usually taken and therefore you might need to be the one to take action. Trying to convince talent who is already employed in another company can be a tough job and morally it can be argued if it’s ok to do so, but let’s face it, is there any company in the present who doesn’t!? The key is to cultivate a company culture that attracts top talent.

How to find qualified and talented employees?

It will always be useful to have potential candidates in your own address book. It’s always easier to ask people you already know if they would be interested to work for you. In case of not having an address book it is useful to research websites such as Xing, LinkedIn, or Branchout, where you can find plenty of qualified employees across different industries. There you can search for specific skills, interests and other characteristics you might be looking for. Good CEOs have the ability to admit that some people can just perform some functions better than they can. In order to find such suitable candidates you should ask yourself three questions:

  1. Will this candidate be able to complete all necessary tasks?
  2. Does the candidate share the same values as our company?
  3. Does the candidate have the skills we need?

In the hiring process it can be very important not only to assess the intellectual capability of potential candidates, but also their emotional Intelligence (EI being their cognitive and social abilities). This will give you a better indication as to whether or not they fit into your startup team. Even if you’re not able to fill every position in your company with extraordinary people,  try to place the best ones in positions of great influence.

Once you have them on-board you should give the newly hired employee and yourself some time in which both parties can analyze whether or not things are working out. If the situation seems to be working well, you should make sure that they want to come back to work every day.

Using Social Media

About over 535 million people are using social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Consequently, many companies are using these sites as a way to target candidates. Facebook for example offers the option to target people working in a specific company. Depending on the size of the company this can be a very useful tool. You can also filter for other characteristics. If you know a certain corporation where employees have matching skills according to your criteria you might consider creating a job offer with Facebook-Ads.

Twitter might be the easiest way to post available vacancies. Simply open a twitter account and tweet jobs you have available. In order to make this a successful campaign you should have decent number of followers. If you haven’t you should start expanding your network. Run a quick search on twitter for people discussing a specific keyword and you’ll get hundreds of contacts. Then you’ll be able to filter by location, industry, hashtag, popularity, time and other.

Startups using both Facebook and Twitter should always make great use of their company accounts on these sites, because it is a good opportunity to inform potential candidates about your startup. Your tweets (Twitter) or Wall posts (Facebook) tell a lot about your startup and what topics are important to you.

As for LinkedIn you can simply post jobs you have available or search for qualified candidates.

Why do people switch to other Startups?

The answer is pretty obvious; many people aren’t quite satisfied with their jobs. Especially in big corporations or even more so in very fast-growing companies, employees often complain about the disappearing “Startup Spirit”. Newly established company structures and corporate objectives within these growing companies can sometimes lead to employee dissatisfaction. Use a different approach to prevent this case!

Try to create a culture where people are treated with respect and consideration.

People usually have a willingness to change, and even if they might be happy in their current jobs they will always consider new options. A more challenging position, increased pay or other incentives are typical motives to do so. In order to avoid losing well performing employees, it is essential to make them feel valuable. Show them that they play an important role within your startup. High levels of responsibility for employees and verbalized appreciation of someone’s excellent job performance are simple ways to keep employees satisfied.

How to keep performing employees?

Obviously other companies will also try to hire well performing employees from your startup. The question is what can you do to avoid this situation?

A good way to keep staff is to make them feel happy in their jobs. This can be a tough job and might need an individual approach to each of your employees. One might be satisfied by an increase in pay whereas another might prefer more responsibility. Different personalities are motivated by different incentives.

Individual, tailor-made and competitive benefits packages for your employees can play a successful part in retaining employees. Providing small perks from time to time (for example on a particular day such as Friday), can make a massive contribution to an employee’s general mood at work. Encouraging personal development of employees is a common tool to retain them. Open communication between employees and management is also vital in order to find the right balance. This is often seen as a good starting point for a decent work relationship. If your employees perform well, promote them! This will give them a feeling of being important to the startup. It’s easy to undertake and shows a huge effect. One thing is for sure; happy employees are very likely to stay with their current employers.

 

Foundum Launch Event 10, 9, 8, 7, 6

Friday, March 9th, 2012

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…..0  we are LIVE!

Many meetings, a lot of brainstorming, from abstract ideas, to paper, to wireframes, to coding and finally to the web. We have spent hours researching, asking entrepreneurs what they need, speaking to possible partners, thinking about the best way for you to navigate Foundum.com, tweeting events, going to events, handing out business cards, setting up our office and as you know doing a lot of work, just like any other startup preparing for something BIG!

Tuesday 7th of March 2012, we have announced to the world that we are here! We are here to help entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If you want to learn more about what we do you can read this post or visit our website.

To mark our launch day we have organized an event where we invited the top entrepreneurs and investors from our first ecosystem, Barcelona.  Some of these entrepreneurs are also our founding members and champions like Carlos Muñoz (founder of Vueling, Verne Harnish (founder of EO), David Tomas (founder of Cyberclick) Albert Armengol (founder of Doctoralia) and many more!

The event was a chance for us to welcome all of these entrepreneurs to the platform and explain the full vision of Foundum. After a stunning presentation from our co-founders, Daniela and Christopher; it was amazing to see all the top entrepreneurs of Barcelona in the same room chatting away and creating connections.

So what did our co-founders say in brief? It’s an online platform creating the local, national and global entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting innovative high-growth entrepreneurs and their startups with relevant private investors, advisors, service & funding providers that will fuel their growth and accelerate their success.

The launch and the event generated some important media coverage both online and offline. We had photographers from Expansion and La Vanguardia coming to take pictures and interviewing our co-founders. Online we are grateful to have had Yorokobu write a great article about our initiative as well as Loogic, Todostartups, Eureka and La Salle.

We are live and ready to take Foundum global. From Barcelona, to Spain, to the rest of the World – Entrepreneurs, get ready to rumble!

Foundum launches the global ecosystem for entrepreneurs

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Foundum, the global online ecosystem for innovative high-growth entrepreneurs celebrates its public launch on the 6thof March 2012!

Background

Highly experienced entrepreneur and venture capital investor Christopher Pommerening together with Daniela Arensactive in the fields of  social media marketing and online community management, have converted their philanthropic vision into reality. “We want to enable the next generation of entrepreneurs to grow, become more successful & increase their positive impact on the world during their different entrepreneurial stages.  Entrepreneurs make this world a better place as they create jobs, generate taxes and inspire people with their very own vision and values.”

They identified an important and repeating flaw in the entrepreneurial life cycle:Lack of specialised information, relevant and direct contacts, and streamlined resources, are seriously hindering entrepreneurial growth.

The mission of Foundum is to create the local, national and global entrepreneurial ecosystem by connecting innovative high-growth entrepreneurs and their startups with relevant private investors, advisors, service & funding providers that will fuel their growth and accelerate their success.

Foundum has an entrepreneurial team of 10 people working out of two offices in Barcelona/Spain and Ostrava/Czech Republic.

The importance of entrepreneurial ecosystems

Foundum enables cities, regions, and countries to foster their own ecosystems and support their innovative high-growth entrepreneurs by connecting those to the most valuable and relevant entrepreneurial stakeholders.  All parties benefit on both local and global levels by pooling resources, knowledge, and connections. In an entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneurs and their stakeholders interact with each other. The objective is to allow entrepreneurs to grow their innovative startups locally, while obtaining a global perspective.

Foundum launches in Spain with the first ecosystem in Barcelona. Madrid, Bilbao, Malaga and Galicia will follow soon. Some of the most inspiring role model entrepreneurs are founding members of the first Foundum Ecosystems such as Carlos Muñoz (founder of Vueling Airlines), Didac Lee (founder of Inspirit), Albert Armengol (founder of Doctoralia), Iñaki Ecenarro (founder of Trovit), David Tomas (founder of Cyberclick), Eneko Knörr (founder of Ideateca) Jose Marin (founder of IGexpansion) and many more.

Further Foundum ecosystems will be opened in other cities, regions and countries in the near future such as Germany, Austria, Sweden and the UK.

Benefits of Foundum

Foundum supports entrepreneurs and their startups from seed to exit, enabling them to connect with stakeholders that can drive their growth and success at each stage of their business’s life cycle.

Foundum works locally, nationally and globally, making it effortless for entrepreneurs to find and connect with the right people and business service providers in their local communities who are ready to support them, as well as tapping into broader ecosystems around their specific innovative sector. For the first time the entrepreneurial ecosystem is displayed online enabling all different entrepreneurial players to present themselves and find each other.

Using the detailed information each member includes in their personal and company profiles, Foundum matches entrepreneurs and their startups with the investors, advisors and service & funding providers within their ecosystem that are best positioned to support their venture. Similarly, Foundum helps investors, advisors and service & funding providers identify the most relevant entrepreneurs and startups that best align with their criteria, capabilities and expertise.

All members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem can promote their services and list their needs in the community. Foundum will ensure the best matches are identified in each case fostering collaboration and growth.

Advisors behind Foundum

Foundum can count on a number of well-known and experienced entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial experts.

The main advisors behind the project up to this moment in time are:

Verne Harnish – Founder of EO Entrepreneurs Organisation
Ken Morse  - Founder of the MIT Entrepreneurship Institute
Laura Morse – Founder of Entrepreneurship Ventures
Juan Roure – Founder of the IESE BA Network
Javier Santiso – Founder of the OECD Emerging Markets Network

Contact Details

Foundum S.L.

Daniela Arens

www.foundum.com

email: daniela@foundum.com

mobile: +34 677 317 619

skype: danielaarens

on Twitter! @foundum

on Facebook! Foundum Page

Wrapping up an exciting week – #MWC12

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

The Mobile World Congress has opened and closed its doors in just less than one week for the 2012 edition. It was an exciting week to say the least. What was so interesting for us here at Foundum was not so much the Mobile World Congress by itself, rather all the amazing people that it brought to Barcelona as well as the high quality events that took place all around the city. Just to get a feeling about what happened outside of the MWC doors you can see Mike Butcher’s article and Helen Keegan’s Mobile Heroes webpage with a list of “fringe” events that took place this week in Barcelona

The week started off on Sunday with the event at NovotelInnovation on the Fringe. We had the pleasure to speak to a few entrepreneurs behind these mobile companies. Something that becomes obvious during such an event is that smartphones have created a huge industry of applications. One of the companies presenting was SmartSync – a way to synchronize your address book with your social networks. Some little insider info for our readers, it is now priced at €0.99, but it will be free starting next week J.

In addition there was Techcrunch@Barcelona with the formidable Mike Butcher as well as the 7th Ladies Lunch, every year organized by Helen Keegan, on Monday and Tuesday respectively. What is so good about these events is that it brings together so many different people from startups, mobile and big multinationals from all over the world. Great opportunities to make some good contacts – we have, so come along next time too!

On the Wednesday we actually hosted an event in our own offices alongside myTaxi. Ladbrokes organized the event and Layer7 Technologies sponsored (the drinks) for anyone interested in mobile gaming. We had a good show up of people from the mobile industry and we are looking forward to repeating such an event next year.

Wednesday was a busy evening. Right after our event we jumped to Swedish Beers – which has become a tradition for the Barcelona MWC. We definitely had some great beers, met some interesting entrepreneurs and obviously some Swedish people as well.

Our take on this hectic week? Barcelona keeps being the city where you work hard and play hard. The energy around the MWC has been fantastic and we love all these events going on around it so that the local community can better interact with all the talent that is coming into Barcelona. We are also hoping that now some of this talent realizes the opportunities and lifestyle that Barcelona offers – ladies and gentlemen, we are preparing for you the European hub for entrepreneurs!

SVC2BCN: Silicon Valley came to Barcelona!

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Even though it was only for a few hours, last Friday 24th of February Silicon Valley came to Barcelona! SVC2BCN was hosted in Barcelona Activa and it was a unique combination of entrepreneurs of the Valley, Spanish based entrepreneurs, investors and advisors.

The panel discussions ranged from the benefits of starting up in the Valley, to the current state of entrepreneurship in Spain, to how to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of the featured speakers were: Michel Kisfaludi, CEO of eyeOS CEO, Luisa Alemany director at ESADE Entrepreneurship Institute, José Mariano, Founder & CEO of inbloon, Brad Feld manager director at Foundry Group and Josep Amorós Vice-director at Wayra.

We would like to share our key take-aways from the conference with you:

Starting up in Silicon Valley

A group of Silicon Valley based entrepreneurs gave the reasons to why living and creating your own startup in the Valley is so unique.

  • Always on call: In Silicon Valley, you are always working. From the moment you wake up, you are doing business. While you have lunch, you are closing deals. It’s a good combination of good talent and people, well connected and constantly networking. Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 adventure.
  • Ties & suits don’t matter! : The Silicon Valley entrepreneurs explained how things are more laid back and relaxed. What matters is you and your project, not how dressed up you are. So remember to leave your tie at home if you’re meeting an investor in the Valley ;)
  • Grateful diet: Just a quick email to say thanks! Be grateful to those who helped you in the past – it’s a good way to keep in touch with people and keep your network healthy and well connected.
  • Pay it forward culture: Largely discussed by Steve Blank, it’s all about doing things for the others in advance. Help other fellow entrepreneurs like you without expecting anything back. Maybe one day, in the future, you can say you helped tomorrow’s Steve Jobs!
  • The culture: In the Valley the people tend to be more entrepreneurial. This is not because they are smarter, but the culture doesn’t exorcise failure as much as other cultures.

How is it to start up in Spain? Challenges & Benefits

Spanish based entrepreneurs, investors and advisors pointed out some of the challenges and benefits of starting up in Spain.

Some of the challenges…

  • Cultural laggards: Long administrative processes and fear of failure are some of the cultural background facts that are still present in the ecosystem. People don’t see entrepreneurship as a career option.
  • Raising funds & private investment mindset: You can raise funds, but don’t expect a lot. What’s more, Business Angels usually invest in projects that are copies of existing projects. You need to minimize the risk as much as possible if you want investors to inject money in your project.
  • Lack of successful stories: This obviously discourages people to start their companies and investors to bet on new projects.
  • Market Size: The size of the market makes it such a challenge to achieve a critical mass of customers. The USA is a 300 million people single market while Europe is a 500 million people highly segmented market and Spain is only 47 million people.

And the benefits…!

  • Creating a team: It’s easier and cheaper to put a team together. Talent is not as expensive as it is outside Spain. Also, in Spain there is a good level of talent in technology.
  • Public funding: Spain is well known for having access to a broad choice of governmental soft loans for entrepreneurs.
  • Networking opportunities: Entrepreneurial events are on the rise. More and more entrepreneurial events are taking place, a great opportunity to create contacts.
  • Things are changing: People are leaving the Spanish inferiority complex behind as well as creating a “we can do it here” mentality. However, it’s an on-going and long process.

How to build up an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Brad Feld shared his thoughts on creating an ecosystem from his own experience:

  • Take a leadership attitude:  If you want to start up an ecosystem, you might need to be the leader. You have to be welcoming, integrate people and start putting things together.
  • Be willing to contribute: You need to be genuinely kind. Be generous and do things without expecting anything back.
  • The ecosystem can be started up everywhere: Every start-up community has this “Silicon Valley wanna be”. But you have to make the most of your geography. Every community has its strengths and weaknesses and those need to be exploited.
  • They key is to turn things up-side down:  If you want, you can create an ecosystem just where you live. In the ecosystem, there’s no winner or losers, it’s all about being aware of what can be done and what can be improved.
  • Be patient: It is very likely that you will need to keep on working on this project for at least 20 years. It will take this much time for you to see major changes. So be sure to celebrate all the small victories!

 

The result of all the panels and conferences let us with a somewhat insatiable appetite to go to the Valley to experience the endless opportunities you have as an entrepreneur and immerse ourselves in the intense entrepreneurial way of life. BUT Spain is great, too!, There is a huge entrepreneurial community and a lot of willingness to make things happen. Our main leanings from the conference are; be generous with your fellow entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem, don’t fear failure and plan for it. Silicon Valley is a great place for entrepreneurs, and Spain is picking up a lot! We are here excited to be a part of what is to come in Barcelona!