In 2012, MBS Bachelor International Business graduate Daniel Barke and his partner, Marlon Litz-Rosenzweig, started their own business in Hamburg, Mylittlejob.
Six years later, not only the company name has changed: renamed WorkGenius, the startup is Europe’s leading service provider for matching students and professional freelancers with companies that are in need of additional manpower for digital tasks – based on self-learning algorithms.
Meanwhile, WorkGenius has opened branch offices in Berlin and New York, and has just recently raised an 8.5 million USD financing, which Daniel and his team intend to use to expand their activities in the US market, and to further develop their platform.
As of now, the WorkGenius talent pool is comprised of a 300,000 people digital workforce, serving about 5,000 companies in Europe and the US, amongst them small and media enterprises, but multinational corporations such as Bertelsmann, Amazon, and Ebay as well.
We are happy that Daniel will be one of five MBS alumni-turned-business-founders to share their experiences at the 2nd MBS Start-Up Spirit event, taking place this Thursday at Munich Business School.
In the forefront of the event, Dr. Barbara Scheck, Professor for Entrepreneurship at MBS, got the opportunity to talk to Daniel.
Dear Daniel, first of all, congratulations on the recent Series A funding for your AI-based workforce and talent infrastructure. What did, in your opinion, convince the investors to commit to WorkGenius?
Just like we do ourselves, our investors reckon that the way how people will work in the future is about to change dramatically; in addition, they believe in our vision and in our business model. Some of them have already been supporting us for years so they know that we have always been working hard to reach our goals, and always will. Still, the investors put a lot of faith in us; it is now our turn to live up to it.
What are the next steps ahead for WorkGenius?
We grew pretty quickly in 2018, and we were able to establish a solid framework in the US we want to build on to grow bigger. At the same time, we want to heavily invest in our technology in order to further develop our matching algorithms.
Furthermore, it is our goal to establish WorkGenius as a global infrastructure that enables each and every human on this planet to get access to jobs he is looking for. It is a long way, still we will reach our next milestones in 2019.
Is there a particular “lesson learned” you want to share with our students, who might very well start their own business at some point in the future?
I keep learning new things every day, just because new challenges arise every time WorkGenius enters a new phase. Still, there are some key learnings I have encountered during the last years.
One is, to share our ideas with others. Young entrepreneurs tend to think they have to protect their ideas, thus missing out on valuable feedback.
“Tomorrow is always another day”, is another one of my principles. Starting a business, you experience highs and lows; it is extremely important to keep cool, and to guide your team in the right direction. For me, it is a prerequisite to start the day in a motivated and energetic way, no matter how bad the day before has been.
To what extent did your studies at MBS as well as the experiences you made there contribute to the successful start of your business, and to turning you into an entrepreneur?
At MBS, you learn to deal with various topics and challenges at the same time, which is pretty close to what starting a business is all about. It was of great help for me to encounter situations like this already during my studies.
In addition, the practical approach of the courses helped me a lot: in daily business, it is not about dwelling on theory, but acting in a quick and agile way, and putting things to practice.
Barbara Scheck: Thanks a lot, Daniel, I am looking forward to meeting you at the MBS Start-Up Spirit event later this week!
Note: You are warmly invited to join the MBS Start-Up Spirit event, taking place at the MBS Lounge on Thursday, November 22, 2018. Please register on the Virtual Campus or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.