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One hiring mistake entrepreneurs should avoid

Karoline Gross

For startups, building the right team is fundamental to success. Here is one mistake to avoid.

If you have ever wondered what happens to the entrepreneurs that fail in the Dragon’s Den, here is one example.

Karoline Gross who pitched for £100,000 investment on the show in 2014, has fared far better since.

Her company is Smartzer, a fashion tech startup, which Gross describes as a ’21st century replacement for the traditional shopping catalogue’, as the technology adds an extra layer of interactivity to online video content, allowing consumers to click and buy products directly from a video.

Describing her Dragon’s Den performance as a failure is slightly harsh, given the dragons were enamored with her product and entrepreneurship qualities, they just had doubts around the revenue model.

In the real world, Gross has secured £400,000 in angel funding from a range of European angel investors and has just signed partnerships with Puma and Whistles to create a seamless journey for customers, both online and in retail stores.

This video clip, focused on how to hire as a startup, is part of a wider interview conducted with Gross.

How to hire as a startup

The question of how to hire as a startup is one which provides some of the biggest challenges to founders and entrepreneurs.

For Gross, the issue is of such importance, it comes top of her list of things she wish she knew before she started out.

“We have made some mistakes in terms of the type of people we tried to work with initially.”

She is keen to pass on the lessons learnt from those mistakes.

“The biggest thing is don’t go for the people that look best on paper, always trust your gut feeling and go with the people who you think are great as people and can always learn.”

That is an interesting take on a subject which takes on increased emphasis given the global shortage of talent in the global tech industry.

Gross believes that taking this more human stance will stand the company in good stead in the long run.

“That way you will end up with a much better team who can execute quickly and you will avoid those people issues that get in the way of you building the company.”


To hear more of Gross’ views on how to hire as a startup, watch the video clip above.