“Our business idea started taking shape during a class in our master’s program”

Karl Edlbauer, Co-Founder & Head of Marketing, hokify

During our studies, my colleagues Daniel Laiminger, Simon Tretter, and I founded our startup hokify with the vision of connecting good people with good jobs in the fastest, easiest, and the most enjoyable way. The first steps towards our business idea were taken during a class in our master’s program Strategy, Innovation and Management Control (SIMC) at WU Vienna. In this class, Daniel and I identified a lot of barriers that keep jobseekers from finding and applying for suitable jobs. We started elaborating on our idea and developing a business model, and contacted jobseekers and companies for feedback on our product idea. In the meantime, Simon worked day and night to develop our job platform’s initial MVP (minimum viable product). We enjoyed working together in our team and we all believed in the great potential of our idea. We spent weeks together collaborating on our idea, so it was crucial that we got along really well: Simon and I had already become close friends as bachelor’s students at WU, and Daniel and I worked closely together since day 1 of our master’s program. Together, we all formed a motivated team of friends.

To get started, we needed to really understand the needs of job seekers and of companies to be able to develop a product that really adds value for both sides. WU in general and the SIMC master’s in particular offer the perfect environment to do this. The new WU campus allowed us to get instant feedback from hundreds of students on campus and test the first prototypes, which enabled us to develop our product and our business even further. But then, to get the feedback we needed and take the next steps in building our business, we had to leave our comfort zones and get real-life feedback from potential users and clients.

As soon as we had the first product market ready, we used our network of motivated fellow students to advertise hokify and to draw other students’ attention to our platform. In addition, we also had immediate access to a network of renowned companies through our studies at WU and managed to get companies onboard for our launch. Furthermore, great start-up competitions, such as the Entrepreneurship Avenue and Pioneers Festival, helped us to get attention from the media and potential customers.

The challenges in the process of formally setting up the company included negotiating with investors and legal topics in setting up the contract of our limited liability company together with our investors.

However we were able to overcome those challenges using our university network and our established strong ties with other entrepreneurs and start-up networks, such as Startup 300, Austrian Startups, and the WU Entrepreneurship Center.

Today, hokify is the biggest mobile marketplace for connecting blue-collar job seekers and companies in Austria and we support more than 350,000 job hunters and 20,000 companies in finding the perfect jobs and employees. Daniel, Simon, and I are extremely proud to have taken this step during our studies and that we have managed to build a great company with more than 25 employees. We are far from reaching all of our goals. But we have enjoyed every step of the way in creating a cool and successful company and no, as successful alumni, we still profit from everything we learned from SIMC.