Tell us about yourself?
I was born and raised in the south of Italy. I graduated in Communication Design in Milan and moved to London when I was 22. I spent my working life in tech helping startups and scale-ups with product and design.
At Qubit I met my co-founder and Humaans CTO today, Karolis. From day one we had a strong relationship and it was a natural transition to go from product leaders at a scale-up to tech startup founders.
Karlos and I were always exposed to the best software to make our work better and more efficient, but the landscape of HR tools we used to manage our teams were very different.
HR tools have historically been clunky, slow and not designed to provide a great user experience while at the same time the expectations from HR buyers were increasing and their needs changing rapidly. We saw the opportunity to build something meaningful in a very large market.
This is how Humaans was born.
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
There are three lessons I have experienced so far: 1. It’s tough building a business of a meaningful scale.
1. You need to be resilient and have an insatiable desire to do it with a long term commitment.This means dealing with rejections, being comfortable on your own, and just keep going day in and day out.
2. The zero to one journey of a company is largely influenced by the quality of people you can attract, enable and retain.
3. Focus and discipline around the input is key priority. The output should be a reflection of the efforts.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Before getting started I was underestimating the level of impact that hiring can have on a business trajectory (from day one).
I underestimated how big of a challenge this can be and how vital it is to have a strong network you can rely on to get perspective.
The people that help you and educate your thinking can make a massive difference to the business trajectory.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
Building a business is really hard work and to me not necessarily compatible with a fully balanced life.
To me, the right way of thinking is about fitting with the components that are also conducive to good work – which can be for example health and family and how you find time to allocate to each aspect to ensure fulfilment.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
We observed that People Ops and HR teams in high-performing organisations were adopting technology tools to power people processes, at the core of the HR stack, that were misaligned with their growing needs, leading to unsatisfactory results and frustration.
The market for HR products is flooded with ‘all-in-one’ types of solutions that are not customizable and don’t meet the needs of scaling companies.
Organisations and their people aren’t one-size-fits-all — and our HR tech shouldn’t be either.
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
Our goal has always been to create an incredible high-quality business, powered by ambitions and driven individuals that care about building the best product in the category and distributing it in a way that’s genuine and caring for the customers.
The leaders that picked Humaans to power their people and HR infrastructure have been exposed to how we do things and our nature is resonating with them.
In terms of model, with Humaans our goal isn’t to build a one-size-fits-all ll type product, but a more flexible and scalable platform that can evolve together with business needs at scale.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
In sales, it’s important to learn quickly when to say no. It’s tempting to want to stretch too far or over-promising to close the next deal.
The risk with this is to set wrong expectations that can’t be met and this, in addition to putting the product and engineering team under stress, can be detrimental for the relationship, inaccurately inform the product strategy and ultimately damage a brand that’s still shaping up.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
At Humaans we have big ambitions and that comes with constant challenges at many levels. As an emerging player in a competitive market building a complex product, we embrace those challenges.
We believe in the quality of the relationships we build with prospective and existing customers, going above and beyond to provide a consultative high-quality experience across all touch points with our brand.
On the product side, we genuinely believe in a user-centric approach to tackle the most complex challenges we work closely with customers to shape our technology.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
Operating from London has opened up fantastic opportunities for Humaans and has centred the company in a networking hub of many other thriving startups and scale-ups.
Settling in London has allowed Humaans to have great accessibility to world-class talent when hiring and allowed us to develop our strong relationships within the tech ecosystem.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
The only downside of having a strong London presence is the competitiveness of the talent market (which is also a strength).
This is a challenge we’re happy to embrace by providing a stimulating working environment that is supportive and quality driven.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
London has a higher than the UK average cost of living, but it’s also true that it has to offer a large number of opportunities for businesses to thrive, accelerate growth and offer competitive working conditions as part of this ecosystem.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
There are no cities such as London that are so conducive to run and scale a technology business!
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
There is no perceived business impact because of Brexit.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
Our mission is to enable organisations to build a better world of work. Over the next 5 years and beyond our goal is to keep building the infrastructure that HR and People leaders can leverage to power strategic decision-making and increase the velocity within their organisations.