Nemo D’Qrill: [London Has] Events, Networking Opportunities, and Old-school People Who Want To Shake Hands Before They Sign Anything…

November 14, 2022

Nemo D’Qrill of Sigma Polaris.

Tell us about yourself?

Danish born with a broad academic background spanning mathematics, rationality theory, behavioural economics, and logic.

Dr Nemo D’Qrill is a polymath who has won debates with Nobel prize-winners in economics, been invited to speak at the World Congress of Philosophy in Beijing, was in the Olympic selection process for Judo, worked as professional flautist for the Danish Queen, debated immigration policies with ministers, and fought with fencing masters across Japan (which was humorous to watch as Nemo is 6’8”).

Currently, Nemo’s focus is on driving real change in the HR sphere using AI and science, for a better and fairer world.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Your business is only as good as the team you build. And even if the people you surround yourself with are passionate and great, it doesn’t matter if they don’t make up the awkward jigsaw of a functional start-up business.

It is hard, for sometimes brilliance is not enough to justify a team member at certain stages of your journey. Entrepreneurship is one of the hardest games of Tetris one can ever play.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Don’t bootstrap. It isn’t worth it. You might keep more control, but as a young entrepreneur you don’t have the networks to rely, or enough early clients, on to sustain your business growth.

Quickly, the 100s of pieces of business admin and team management take too high a percentage of your time.

Sure, we made it. But it wasn’t worth the struggle, and we would be miles ahead if we’d gone for some investment, even with all the restrictions that imposes upon you.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

True. It is much too easy to work 90h weeks. I have made that mistake. Luckily, I am fortunate that my partner in life put their foot down and made me see reason.

I think it is important to share your life focuses and priorities with someone who can look at them independently, whether a partner or a mentor.

Someone slightly removed who can help you keep the scales roughly balanced between your passion/mission/ambition, sleep, exercise, and any hobbies you might have that keep you sane.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

As an academic, I was shocked to hear how much recruiters relied on personal opinion, intuition and famously unreliable CVs. Unsurprisingly, it means recruitment is slow, inaccurate, highly biased, and very expensive.

To address this, I built an assessment MVP (Minimal Viable Product) that shortlisted applicants most suitable for the advertised job.

To my surprise, it outperformed humans by over three times on quality, reduced recruitment time to a fraction, and removed practically all bias.

Since then I have refined it, added AI for increased precision, and made it into a business with the potential of changing the wider recruitment landscape

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

The fact that we are both cutting edge on the technological front and the DEI impact front. It is rare that our competitors are either. Definitely never both.

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?

Investors also come with clients (indirectly via their networks), at least the best ones do.

If you are a young entrepreneur, or come from a different space hence share the problem of weaker network, you need someone to open doors.

Doing it with sales people can work, but it is really hard. The easiest is to bring in some NEDs and investors who have a stake and will champion your product and cause for you.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

I found it hard to let people go. As an impact business with lots of passion, we’ve had some amazing people working with us who frankly just slowed us down.

However, when they shared passion it was very hard to say “goodbye”, especially as some of them had taken significant paycuts to work with us.

I wasted a lot of time trying to cycle people through different roles, looking for ways they could add value, but realising that the start-up sphere just didn’t work for them.

That they couldn’t be as agile or independent as was required. I overcame it slowly, but learned the slowest possible way, but trying to prove I could find a place for the people, and only after 3-5 attempts giving up.

Now, I do 1-2 attempts. Best business practice? Maybe not, but we have to also stand by each other in early stage businesses.

What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?

Events, networking opportunities, and old-school people who want to shake hands before they sign anything…

Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?

They tend to have clear expectations of protocols and procedures, that start-ups don’t always have the capacity to satisfy.

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?

Remote office and several staff oversea.

If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?

Edinburgh. Lived there. It is great. There is a sense of social responsibility I have not experienced anywhere else in the UK.

How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?

Not applicable. The Brain Dumb is a bit of a problem, but minor.

What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?

Proving the power of DEI tech to change the way we assess people. Have some serious labels (already had i.e. Deutsche Bank) take up our tech and show the world that being fair and efficient is best for business.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

look on our website, my linkedin, or google Nemo D’Qrill and you’ll find tons of podcasts and articles about Sigma, DEI, and our mission.

Follow Sigma Polaris on Twitter or Linkedin.

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