An interview with Ilias Vartholomaios and Athina Polina Dova, founders of Owiwi.
“With newer generations assuming senior positions we are seeing less bias towards more disruptive technologies like Owiwi.” – Illias Vartholomaios, Owiwi
Under the motto “hire once”, Owiwi is the greek startup that minimises the risk of a bad hire. This user-friendly psychometric tool takes away the stress of the hiring process for the candidate and helps to enhance the employer brand, while reducing associated costs for the companies. The platform helps to improve the ability of the employer to identify talent and select it in a biased-free manner.
One of the main obstacles disruptive solutions find is the acceptance and adaptation of the traditional segments of the public – Have you encountered any challenges in this regard?
Resistance to change is something we encountered very early on in our entrepreneurial journey; trying to pitch a radically new approach of assessing/screening talents for companies and their HR. The incorporation of gaming elements into an otherwise boring and outdated questionnaire or multiple-choice style form, raised a lot of questions about scientific validity. In addition to that, there was a general fear and resistance in using psychometric tools in general – let alone on a mass-scale and much less so in a gamified format.
Many of these challenges are still present, but with newer generations assuming senior positions we are seeing less bias towards more disruptive technologies like Owiwi.
How have you tried to overcome these challenges?
With that being said, overcoming these challenges was made possible by focusing on 3 things.
We took it very seriously from day 1 to focus and emphasize on raising awareness and educating audiences on our solution and our field as a whole. We used every opportunity to present our solution, answer questions, clarify and dispel any concerns about our product and nurtured relationships with potential clients.
We combined that by investing a lot on scientific research that proves our solution is valid and reliable. Thanks to these efforts we have become a leading authority in the field of games-based assessments; having published 7 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals. Moreover we try to remain as transparent as possible with the science behind our tool, offering free access to our manuals and research.
Finally, we studied our market and prospective/existing clients very closely, trying to better understand their needs and their motivations. With careful experimentation, this in turn helped us to refine our sales pitch by having a more clear sales persona and how to adapt accordingly.
There are always going to be skeptics and laggards, but its important to be open, receptive and to build and establish trust with them – nurturing them along with knowledge, social proof, testimonials and added value.
Very often, startups struggle seeking for investment – Do you have any advice for those companies trying to raise funds?
Fundraising is hard. But it is a lot easier if founders try to address certain elements before approaching investors… most notably a sure way to get an investors attention is to show that your business has traction and maybe even revenue, is growing, has a clear differentiation point (or IP) and can grow scalably. It is equally important to show a cohesive founding team with a vision and a driven team of capable talents. Also networking is important as it increases your addressable investor market.
How important do you think networking and marketing are for a company looking for funding? Can you think of any other key factors beyond the idea itself?
Networking is extremely important and effective…as long as its done right! There is a lot of trial and error involved in accomplishing that, but its worth the effort. This applies to both the founders and its employee’s, who need to champion and advocate the brand. Successfully doing so will result in lead generation and building relationships with future employee’s even. You just have to be persistent, patient and attentive, always searching for the next opportunity you hear about. Networking can also help you build a strong support network of advisors and mentors who you can consult with questions or ask for introductions to their contacts. Tools like LinkedIn are also great in that regard, as you can find potential investors and then see if you have any mutual connections. If you do, you can ask them to intro you! It is super effective and more people than you think do it – so dont be shy!
What near-future prospects and perspectives do you have for Owiwi?
Owiwi becoming the gold standard in attracting, identifying, selecting and training the best available talents – and changing the way that companies design their recruitment processes. We have a lot of interesting projects in the works, so stay tuned!
To learn more about the company, visit their website here.