People As A Service connects small companies who want to get things done with people who have the qualification and time to get them done. Additionally, we add services to the concept, so companies can delegate any job with almost no effort and can be assured of the result.
At whom is your startup aimed?
Small and medium size companies who often lack the time, talent, and funds to get their projects done.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Every other concept is a self-service model, where the customer has to take the time to define the project, select the virtual freelancer, and then still remains with the risk that the job might not actually get done. With People as a Service, we help the customer define the project, propose only one qualified freelancer out of a pool of freelancer that we know and that we have worked with in the past, and then we follow up during the project, so that the customer can delegate and does not have to worry about the job anymore.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
I have previous management experience with different industries, and I was previous the CEO of a $160 Million Technology company. At all of my previous jobs, one of the key issues standing in the way of success was the inflexibility of the workforce concept. Companies would hold a large pool of people who might not be the best ones to do the jobs they needed, but they were not able to change this pool as quickly as needed. Furthermore, many of the employees had already lost interest in the business, since the job they were once hired for had changed so much in the meantime, that their motivation was not focused on the job anymore. With this in mind, I wrote a book in 2013 about how technology will shape the way we will work in the future, using past technological revolutions as a reference. I came to the conclusion that the time was right to start to build a company that could help companies to transform the way they work and integrate talent to a new level, however the key to success would be that those companies would be able to delegate the jobs in a secure way, as if it were an internal job.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
My biggest concern was always if I would be able to finance the business long enough to achieve critical mass for its success.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
I got my MBA from a well know Swiss University, and then started to work in Consulting and Management for different companies like Accenture, Volkswagen and others. My main driver was always to be able to fundamentally improve the way companies work, and the way people are motivate to do an outstanding job. After two very successful CEO jobs at two different companies, I saw that the time was right to build the business concept I believe is the future of work. Since no other company like this was / is offering this concept today, starting up my own business was the only choice.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
The first year I auto-financed the company to achieve a viable product and business model. Then I raised my first external seed round of $425’000 to finance the growth of the company.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
To build a functioning business model, that has so far convinced enough people of its value that I was able to find customers and investors to start growing our business.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
The business is now 1 ½ years old and we have started to use social media to keep us relevant with our audience.
How long has your business been in making, and who is the team behind the business?
Our key team members are:
Rolf Ritter – Founder and CEO, Georg Meyer – Technology Vision and Strategy, and Adriana Moreno – Business Development Manager
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Getting the word out to convince potential customers of the value they can get through our model.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
We are currently investing in a scalable sales and marketing model. Our goal is to develop this model in 2015 to then fully scale in 2016.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
Interaction, interaction, interaction. The key to finding the right business model, customer approach, messaging, etc, is to try out, get feedback, change, try out, get feedback and change again. Keeping ideas and concepts back will make the idea weaker, since with every interaction you learn something about the business you want to build and this helps you build a better business.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Patience and perseverance. It always takes longer to achieve results than one hopes, therefore it is important to remain patient to have the business develop until you can see the results without getting frustrated or demotivated, and keep on working on it to never give up.