Kris

Krzysztof Marszałek

rst-it.com

Hi Christoph. Can you say in one sentence what your startup is about? 

Chris

Christoph Speckmann

4Scotty

4scotty is the platform that IT specialists use to receive attractive job offers from German tech companies.

by Krzysztof Marszałek — 14 JUL 2015

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What's your story so far and what made you want to launch a startup?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

I came to Berlin in 2012 to finish my Masters in Entrepreneurship and met my former co-founder Tim. We quickly realized that there is a lot of untapped potential in the recruiting industry. The process hasn't changed for decades and trying to disrupt the market was my motivation to get started with hytch which is now 4scotty.

Could you tell us more about merging with 4scotty?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

My current partners Frank Gessner and Matthias Schleuthner launched 4scotty three months later and got in touch with hytch in February this year. We quickly realized that it would make sense to merge both companies to have one big player in Europe.

How important is design to you? Are there any apps that you consider good looking and "well designed"?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Keeping in mind that web design has to balance the conflict between usability and visual appearance I consider it to be extraordinarly important. I really like the material design Google presented with their relaunch. I think there is a huge potential. That's why we're currently implementing these methodologies when we relaunch 4scotty in the beginning of September.

What tools do you use to monitor your app’s performance and its users’ activity?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Actually we are using a bunch of tools. The usual suspects like Google Analytics, Tag Manager and yes Excel. Now we're introducing more powerful tools like Kissmetrics, Logstash & Kibana. Love it!

You have the MVP ready. Are you going to test it within a closed group of users? If so, can you say who they are and how you found them?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

We already tested our MVP by showing the platform to a focus group of developers.

How do you collect early adopters’ feedback? Do you talk with them personally or use online forms?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Candidates are directly in touch with us via email, social networks or even the old-fashioned way by phone..

What marketing efforts do you make to make your product stand out from the crowd? What budget do you think you will need for that?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

We believe that an outstanding product can outperform most marketing channels. Hence, product development and implementing customer feedback is more important to us. Candidate referrals are the most efficient way of attracting new candidates. Besides we are sponsoring Hackathons and other live events. For sure, we are also using Social Media.

Are there any books on startups that you would recommend?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

I definitely recommend "Lean Startup" by Eric Ries. 

Did you get inspired by other startups which in your opinion are built in the right way? Can you name them?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

The way Y Combinator builds up startups is quite amazing. Especially the clear focus on growth.

What do you make money on? What did you take into consideration while creating the pricing model?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Compared to traditional headhunters we are providing access to better candidates in a shorter time period. Therefore, the companies pay either 18% on the annual salary after the successful hire or 2% for 12 months for the time the candidate works for a company. Thus, there is no risk for the employers.

How did you go about describing your business model? Did you use any established methodologies?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

4Scotty is a typical two-sided business model. 

What do you think about German startup scene? How has it evolved over the past few years?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

The German startup scene is growing at a rapid pace. Additionaly, everything is getting more professional which is a result of large & successful startups like Soundcloud or Zalando.

How did you assume there is space for your product on the Germany/Berlin startup market?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Apart from France, Germany has the largest need for developers in Europe. According to the official numbers, 42,000 open positions couldn't be filled. We would like to help the companies to fill these positions.

Cost-wise, was outsourcing to a Polish company (RST-IT) a good decision?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Apart from the opportunity costs, outsourcing to an external agency was the right decision since you profit from their experience in the very beginning. We had a tight schedule and could launch our product within 8 weeks. This wouldn't have been possible by hiring our own staff since only the hiring process of 4 people would have take longer.

What were the biggest challenges when working with a Polish software house?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Still some people in Germany are prejudiced against outsourcing work to teams in Eastern Europe. Typical doubts are, that you don't get good products for a lower price. These assumptions are completely outdated. First of all you don't actually save as much money as you would expect. Even if there are some agencies in Germany who charge three times as much. Regarding the quality,it is much more related to your communication than to anything else. Why should a polish developer be less educated than a German one?

Do you think it makes sense to visit the outsourcing company in person before starting the cooperation?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

It is a must!

What in your opinion should be taken into consideration while selecting the software house?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Past projects and the interpersonal relationships.

How do you source your staff? Do you have to compete for talent with large companies who can allow to pay more?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Our platform is 100% made for developers so we have a huge advantage because our staff wants to be part of the movement.

Are you using any CRM system in your startup? Which one?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Currently we're using Salesforce but looking forward to build our own solution.

What factors did you take into consideration while deciding on the technology for your startup? Did anybody help you with that?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

The choice to build hytch on Ruby on Rails was first of all made by RST and by the fact that it would be easy for us to find new developers. We are currently working on a new version of 4scotty which will be build on meteor.js.

What are the main challenges, other than fundraising, for startup founders before launching the product?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

The most important currency in 2015 is attention. Because the internet is so noisy these days it is a tough challenge to build up brand awareness.

If you were to start the whole venture again from scratch what would you do differently and why?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

I would build an even simpler MVP.

Can you name the three biggest challanges a startup leader has to face?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Sales, finding the right team, finding investors.

What is the best advice for a young, first-time startup CEO?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

Fail fast!

How do you check if your startup idea already exists?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

First thing you do if you have a new idea is checking Google whether someone is already doing it. If you don't find a pontential competitor in a few hours than there is definitely a chance that other players either don't exist or are doing a poor job. That's how you find out!

What online management tools can you recommend to other startups?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

If I had to choose one, I can definitely recommend Slack since it will become the all-in-one messaging and notification center.

What part of your entire MVP budget was spent on product development?

Chris

CS

4Scotty

For hytch we spent 60% of our budget on the product development.

Thanks for the interview, Christoph.

Questions? Comments? If you are considering launching your own tech startup, feel free to drop us a line below or pop me an email at k@rst-it.com. We're ready to help.

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