Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile and have fun

Meet jovoto at startupnight in berlin

Please introduce yourself and your startup to our readers!
I’m Bastian Unterberg, founder and CEO of jovoto, a crowdstorming platform that helps global brands and NGOs solve their design and innovation challenges with a growing community of creative professionals from around the world.
I studied both computer science (University of Siegen) and design (University of Arts in Berlin) and founded my first company at 16! Alongside running jovoto, I am an advisor for both startups and top managers working for large organizations facing digital transformation. In 2013, Wiley published my first book, “Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas and Problem Solving”. I am a young father of two and if I find the time, I like to travel and explore.

How did you get the idea to your startup?
Back in 2007 and about to graduate from design, I asked myself the question: “How do I want to work (in the future)?” I was struggling with the reality that many of my friends who had already left university, had started uninspiring jobs for traditional agencies and linear organizations that left them boxed in and burnt out – their freedom and talent undermined. It became clear to me that there weren’t many options out there that didn’t lead me down the same path.

Why did you decide to start a business?
When the idea of jovoto came up I realized that our society is looking at massive change on many levels. Wherever paradigm shifts occur, interesting opportunities await. I knew that the way we work and the way future generations of talent will be motivated will fundamentally differ – a great environment to start a business.

How has your company developed since it was founded?
We started out with a few hundred designers, many from my own personal network. Because of a host of really cool challenges we’ve hosted (over 400 to-date!), our community has grown to over 80 000 creative professionals.
Today, jovoto represents a new way of working, for a new generation of creative talent, who have a fundamentally different understanding of work, life, and consumption. They can choose which projects they want to work on, when they want to work, and with whom they want to team up with – a perfect fit for how they want to work. We also make sure we provide enough opportunities to grow; they receive feedback on their work from other community members, jovoto’s creative guides, and the client. By developing their skills and learning with others, new opportunities are unlocked.

What was the biggest challenge in starting your business?
At the time we started there was literally no market. Bridging years and surviving until the model took off was a tough experience. In retrospective I am happy that we did not take any VC funding and relied heavily on bootstrapping.
Without a highly committed team sharing a vision about the future of work, a few highly dedicated angel investors and early bird clients, we wouldn’t have survived. Going the distance during these times makes every success so much sweeter these days.

What is the USP of your Start-up?
For creatives, it is our social work environment that provides lots of opportunities for collaboration and learning.
For our clients, it’s the flexible access to a massive amount of creativity, from outside their organization.

Who is the target audience?
We are always on the lookout for talented creative professionals (from architects and graphic designers to service innovators and product designers) to join our community.
Since the scope of the work we do on jovoto is broad, our clients generally fall into two categories: on the one side we work with C-level decision makers when we are working on more complex and strategic tasks. But we also work with marketing and brand managers who are looking for solutions for packaging and campaigns.

Why did you apply for the Long Night of startups in Berlin?
We saw it as a great opportunity to showcase our business model, share our learnings, and of course our growing success.

You are one of few startup companies of the Long Night of Startups. How motivating is it for you and what do you expect from the event?
We are honoured to be selected to present jovoto in the Deutsche Bank Atrium. We hope to network with potential clients and investors, as well as to exchange experience and knowledge with the other startups.

How important is this step for you? From the aspect that by many prospective clients and media attention to you?
We love any opportunity to connect with prospective clients and to spread the word about the work we’re doing. The way I see it is, if we want to make the future of work a reality for more and more creative professionals, more people need to know our model for screening ideas at internet scale exists!

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I might be surf-travelling with my family somewhere in Indonesia while I make a solid living as creative on jovoto. Not entirely unlikely, but rather a joke.
The way the next generation of talent wants to work is fundamentally changing. At the same time many organizations are challenged by the speed and pace of innovation outside their own organization. Today’s organizational design will not survive the next five years.
These two bold trends will result in massive growth for jovoto. Today only a small share of all jovoto users consider jovoto their primary source of income. This will change. In five years we will see more than 10.000 top-talents who understand jovoto as the utopian workplace of choice that became a reality.

What 3 tips would you give other startup founders on the way?
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile and have fun.
2. Turn off your tech devices more often and take the time to meet (in person) and listen to the customer/user.
3. Get to know yourself! What drives you, what really motivates you deep down, why are you considering to start your own business, which of your weaknesses could a co-founder/ team member cover, etc.

Thank you Bastian Unterberg for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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