The most interesting tech startups

24.11.2018   |  Tech

LinkedIn updated at the beginning of this fall the top of the most interesting startups in 2018. As expected, the top is dominated by tech companies. I’ll analyze in brief of few of them.

  • Lyft (1st place – transport). Without the fuss and oscillations experienced by Uber, the company has grown from 20 to 35% of the US car sharing market over the last two years. The company is assessed to be worth $ 15.1 billion, after a recent capitalization of $ 4.3 billion. The hi-tech transport market is clearly expanding, as the LinkedIn top also includes Bird (5th place, electric scooters) or Aurora Innovation (9th place – autonomous cars). And on a slightly different market, Flexport (ranking 13), whose mission is the digitalization of the freight transport.
  • Coinbase (3rd place – cryptocurrencies). It is an exchange/digital wallet for cryptocurrencies, which has spectacularly increased up to 20 million users, in spite of the recent devaluation of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Coinbase has built its success on reliability and transparency, as they consider themselves to be “something else than a company belonging into the “run-fast-and-break-things” class. The focus is on financial education. Blockchain technology, on which the cryptocurrencies are based, also powers Ripple (ranked 7th), a cross-border money transfer business currently with over 100 clients of the major banks class, or Robinhood (ranked 6th), whose ambition is to offer the services of a classic bank at more accessible rates, 
  • Noodle.ai (4th place 4 – artificial intelligence). Delivers artificial intelligence (AI) “as a service”. For instance, it has supplied to the biggest private aviation company in the world, XoJet, a learning algorithm that has improved the flight fares substantially. Also, it has contributed to the energy optimization of a steelworks facility in Arkansas, by predicting the power consumption so that the latter could resell the calculated surplus.
  • Rubrik (10th place – cloud). It is one of the companies with the most rapid growth. For instance, its client base multiplied times four in 2017, which has instated its statute of unicorn, being worth $ 1.3 billion. Rubrik delivers several server solutions and take pride in the ease of configuration (which takes less than 15 minutes) and speed of access. Cloud is included in the top also by the presence of Snowflake Computing (ranking 20th), which, among other things, facilitates access to Amazon and Microsoft.
  • Puls (11th place – smart devices consulting). It has started as an on-demand repairs service for smartphones, to become a sort of consulting service for the various types of consumer devices, from Smart Home to home appliances. The idea is simple: they send you a specialist to your door in less than one hour. It has over 2,500 such experts in its database. I have selected this company, as it might fall into a category of “facilitators”, which gets connected with the services or others, the same as a part of the financial or cloud applications.

Above, I have tried to group the successful startups to prove that AI, cloud or transports are currently some of the hottest business fields. The offer is rather diverse for each of these fields, because, naturally, without an individualized and successful idea, no startup is a startup.

Octavian Pătrașcu  |   24.11.2018   |  Tech

Three things to test and maintain in HR: hard skills, soft skills, and motivation

25.04.2019   |  News  |  Startup
The quality and efficiency of an employee mainly depend on their professional qualifications, but the modern human resources theory refers to this only through a partial term, namely "hard skills". In terms of evaluations and professional management, these “hard skills” are supplemented by a range of different qualities defined as "soft skills", such as the motivation that an individual demonstrates or chooses to develop.

Hard Skills: Easy to identify, necessary, but not enough

The term "hard skills" applies especially to fundamental professional knowledge, skills, and abilities, but not only. For example, if a programmer has to write code in Java, he will obviously have to know the programming language. In the field of hard skills, however, complementary skills such as foreign languages ​​or driving licenses also come into play. If the job description is not IT-related, the computer skills - quasi-generalized today - are also in the same complementary category. Upon hiring, hard skills can be easily tested or proven. Basically, all the skills in this category can be certified through a diploma or a certificate of qualification. These skills are the basis for the future work of the employee, but in the vast majority of cases, they are not enough to ensure good performance at the workplace.

Soft Skills: harder to test, especially required for higher positions

These are somewhat social qualities, relating especially to people-interacting abilities. Soft skills include teamwork skills, communication skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to solve problems as they come. From simple politeness to a nonconflictual attitude, a whole range of attributes can be added here, including good time management or the desire to conform to strict professional ethics. If hard skills are easy to identify, in the case of soft skills, the stereotype enumerations present in CVs are never enough proof of their existence. They can somehow be felt when hiring, during their interview or, possibly, through psychological tests set up by human resources specialists. As they mostly focus on human interaction, soft skills are increasingly needed as the position of the employee in the hierarchy is higher, but the situation differs from one job description to another. If the programmer we had as an example earlier does not necessarily need soft skills when writing code, a sales or marketing specialist will interact with the top management and thus cannot work without them.

Motivation: differs from case to case

Motivation is a problem that concerned psychologists way before Maslow's Human Pyramid of Needs. There are many hypotheses and models that relate to this theory. I will just state that a first classification refers to financial and extra-financial motivations. The former refers to material compensation and are accepted unanimously. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, it has become clear that there is no direct link between payment and the efficiency of a person. 100 years ago, however, besides the famous $5-a-day salary, Henry Ford offered land lots, kindergartens for their children and, in the case of immigrants, English courses to help them integrate into the mass production processes. Today, large companies provide health insurance, relaxation areas, various educational classes, physical activity facilities. All of these include career plans and contract terms that offer job security and much more. Perhaps, the first thing to remember is that motivation differs greatly from one employee to another. Effective management should be as flexible as possible, in accordance with the needs and incentives of employees, beyond the standard packages.

The Employer’s Perspective

From what we described above it seems that that the employer will consider the three components as we’ve structured them. Hard skills are easy to identify and absolutely necessary to ensure performance in a particular position, so these are the first ones that will be tested. Soft skills can be identified to a certain extent in the midst of the employment process, but initial perceptions can be confirmed or denied later on. What’s more important is sustaining them at the workplace, often as a necessity for promotion on a higher hierarchy level. As final words, motivation has qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. Employers should be less concerned about the answer to the question "how motivated is an employee?", but rather show concern towards the type of motivation that employees are most responsive to. Schematically speaking, if hard skills are mainly the employee's concern, soft skills relate to a process that takes place between the employee and the company, and in the case of motivation, it should meet the needs of the employee. Only by paying attention to all the three components, the employer and the employee can have a mutually satisfactory and productive relationship.
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