This week’s featured startup is Berlin-based point of sale (POS) maestros Orderbird. Inspired by the U.S. military’s use of iPod Touches in the field, the Orderbird team figured “Why don’t we use iPod touches in the hospitality sector?” Orderbird was founded by Jakob Schreyer, Bastian Schmidtke and Patrick Brienen in 2010 and has since gone on to become one of the largest POS businesses in Germany. In this article we grill Jakob Schreyer, CEO and co-founder of Orderbird about how to find the right staff, the true nature of luck, and finding the inspiration to form a startup.
You jumped around in marketing for a few years before founding Orderbird, what inspired you to make the jump and how easy was the transition?
Working for Red Bull's lead agency was fun and the environment was already very entrepreneurial. I was based in New York, and was able to build up a great network there - it was very inspiring to be surrounded by so many creative colleagues and clients with great ideas.
When something feels right, like starting your own company, the transition should feel natural. We were free to create something really unique. After the first year of running Orderbird, my family moved to Berlin as well – that made things perfect.
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Jakob Schreyer, CEO of Orderbird[/caption]
Some might say that you were handed the opportunity through luck, could you briefly recount the P1 Club [a German night-club] story and explain the steps you had taken that allowed you to be in the right place at the right time?
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity [smiles]. If you are open to take advantage of opportunities and positive about an idea or project, you may find yourself becoming lucky.
Luck is important, and sometimes needed in small doses! I met the CEO of P1 [Radoslav Pavlov] at a nightclub in New York. We were able to convince him about Orderbird, before we had even officially launched the product! Without that meeting, things could have been very different.
One of the necessary factors for a successful startup is the right staff, what is your interview process like and what advice do you have for those currently building their own team?
For us, it's important that candidates have great experience with Orderbird from the start. This means that candidates are treated equally, and we make sure we maintain a cooperative, respectful and casual environment. For us, we want to make sure it’s fun from the beginning.
Of course, we have a clear structured interview process: first there is a telephone interview, then a personal meeting and a get-together with members of the new team. The team fit is essential. What works very well for us are employee referrals; if an employee likes his job and the company he works for, it’s the best reference.
My advice for building your own team in a start-up is creating a good team culture and spirit. When you start, you’ll be faced with challenges and tough times, where everybody and everything counts. It helps when each team member lives and breathes the vision of the company and works towards achieving the same goals. Another important factor beside the team is to stay focused. It can be hard to turn down opportunities as an entrepreneur, but is often essential to become successful.
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The Orderbird founders Patrick, Jakob, and Bastian[/caption]
Describe your funding journey, why do you think your startup got funded and what lessons did you learn from the funding process that other startups can learn?
We were very fortunate that we never had serious financial issues. We attracted great seed investors who helped us in the first stage of the company and to prepare ourselves for a larger growth investment.
An important lesson for startups - we were careful not to over-promise and we were able to reach all our milestones that we set out at the beginning. Sometimes young entrepreneurs want to shoot for the moon and have plenty of ambition, but they soon fritter without real focus.
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice that would help you run a startup what would it be?
Focus. We started with a clear segmentation, but could have probably picked an even smaller segmentation.
What are the most challenging aspects of running a startup and how can you overcome them?
With a great and motivated team, you can achieve everything! Our motto at Orderbird is: Employees first, then customers, then investors. Employees make customers happy – customers make investors happy.
So there you have it folks. Thank you to Jakob for sharing his advice for startups and revealing the techniques he uses to find success. To round up:
- "Luck" can be maximised by ensuring that you're always ready to take advantage of opportunities and by staying open and positive about ideas.
- Focus is key. Focus on your demographic, focus on solving a single problem before expanding, and focus on a single product and make it the best it can be before trying something new
- Your team is everything, if they're unhappy or dissatisfied that'll be passed on to the customers, who will pass it on to the investors
If you know a startup that has blown you away or has impressed you in some way, be sure to get in touch with us via Email, Twitter, or Facebook. What was your favourite of Jakob's business tidbits? Or a piece of business advice that has really helped you? Lets us know in the comments below.