CEO INTERVIEW - niikiis: Highway to happy employees
CEO and Co-Founder, niikiis
Please share with us briefly what you do.
We are more than HR Software: we help employees do their job better. We help HR professionals attract, retain and develop their talent by saving them time and money, reducing and automating manual and repetitive tasks and processes while offering a better employee experience.
What were you doing before this?
For the past 14 years, I have been running the executive education division of business schools like Wharton and London Business School, and launched an on-line university at Grupo Planeta.
Describe your product. How does it work?
We offer an all-in-one intuitive and configurable HR Software (saas) as a system of record of all employee data where employees go on a daily basis on any device to track their time, learn the latest news about the company, interact with other employees and access any process set by the company (ATS, performance evaluation, onboarding, …).
What are the key benefits?
We improve efficiency and engagement enhancing employee productivity.
Who are your closest competitors?
We love competition. We learn from them. And together we reach more customers making the HR function more meaningful and strategic. In the US we love what BambooHR and Gusto are doing, in Europe, we like the approach HiBob took and the breath of Personio´s product.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
Our first customer in the US was introduced by one of our investors, and in Spain by our Chief Growth Officer. They were using excel and other tools to run their people management; for both, it was hard to track data and the employee experience was very poor.
What motivated you to start this business?
To help people grow. Treating employees like customers and applying technology to make it happen.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
I don´t regret anything. We are determined to make it work.
How did you get funded?
We raised funds from business angels; they were instrumental to launch the business.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
A referral from a customer.
Why are you looking at Asia now?
We joined Veremark’sThe Accelerator, to better understand the market and set a strategy to enter South East Asia.I have lived in Malaysia and traveled to the region almost every month while at Wharton and LBS. There is a latent need for a solution like ours.
Describe a typical workday
My time is spent in checking metrics, talking to the senior team and staff members (especially those in sales and marketing), reviewing feedback from prospects clients and existing customers, joining critical calls like closing partnerships, and talking to investors, existing and new ones.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
Prof. Ed Hess. He taught leadership during my MBA and shared the idea that employees drive businesses and if they are happy, they would attract happy customers and those will drive profitability.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
The success of niikiis is made of multiple milestones: raising funds in each stage, hiring employees, signing contracts…the day we incorporated the company was on Halloween, a good day to remember and to celebrate our anniversaries.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
Always have a Plan B, and C.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
To put some money aside to launch your own start-up (thus reducing dependence on external funding).
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
My outlook calendar.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Visit the website:niikiis
LinkedIn : Carlos Hornstein