Karl Liebich (Co-Founder), David Jacob (Co-Founder), and Philipp Kühn (Co-Founder) © Nils Lucas
What inspired you to found your startup?
We created workeer.de as graduation project of our communications design studies. In the beginning of 2015 the rising influx of refugees became a very relevant topic and there seemed to be a lot of issues to be solved surrounding the situation. After an initial research phase it became clear that labour market access was one of the most pressing ones so we decided to offer a solution to the problems we had learned about in the process.
How do you define success for yourself and your company?
Since Workeer is a non-profit organization success for us is all about our social impact. Our goal is to support as many newcomers as possible in their efforts to find a job in Germany. Along with that we also want to raise awareness among the public for the issue and showcase inspiring stories of motivated job seekers and success stories of our platform.
Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?
Prepare for the possible success. At the time we didn’t really plan for the time after our graduation. On the day of our launch it took one tweet for the platform to go viral. What followed were thousands of emails, radio and tv interviews and overall just an overwhelming amount of attention. While we tried to make the most of it we definitely lost a lot of the momentum by for example not even being registered as a business and therefore not accepting donations, etc.
What problem does your product solve?
We connect job seeking newcomers and companies interested in hiring them in a very direct way. By focusing solely on this specific target group we offer a solution that is tailor made for the needs and circumstances that come with this specific context.
Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?
As long as we feel the need for a platform like ours we will do our best to work towards our aim to support refugees in their job search. If traditional services become more inclusive and offer satisfactory solutions for newcomers we don’t plan to keep a redundant platform online longer than needed.
How are you different?
Because we launched the first platform of it’s kind and got the intensive media coverage we did we were able to build a significant user base that is needed to make an online job board work. To this day we are the biggest platform in our sector. Additionally our background in building digital products enables us to develop a platform that really caters to the needs of our target groups which results in a very good user experience compared to less well crafted platforms.
How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?
It really depends on who is using it for what. But in general checking in weekly to see if there’s new potential candidates or open positions probably makes sense.
Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?
We believe that employment plays a very if not the most important role in building your life as a newcomer in a new home country. Therefore by creating a more promising access to the labour market we improving the lives of newcomers in Germany which is something our entire society will benefit from in the long term.
How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?
To be honest as a social non-profit startup we aren’t involved all that much in the Berlin start up scene so it would be hard for us to make a statement on that.
What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?
Definitely the networks that you can build in the city. Especially in our case it seems as if almost every other start up, initiative or project is based in Berlin. That makes collaboration and exchange very easy and is therefore a huge help.
Workeer was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.