Young Entrepreneurs with a Long-Term Vision
When Eiso Kant and his partners Jorge Schnura and Philip Von Have took first prize in last year’s IE Venture Day competition, they were the first team of undergraduate students ever to win the award. Yet, despite their young age and early career stage, Eiso says they knew that a relatively long-term vision would be essential to the success of their start-up project, Tyba.
“Tyba is a junior recruitment platform, where we match opportunities from fast-growing companies all around the world with young, college-educated talent,” Eiso explains. “This is a problem that affects hundreds of thousands of companies and millions of young people, and we took a very long-term view on how we wanted to solve that.” This long-term vision, he believes, is what impressed the Venture Day judges, along with the team’s ability to “clearly articulate through data and numbers where we already were and where we wanted to get.”
A year on from being named the top start-up by both the Venture Day judging panel and the competition audience, Tyba is certainly making good progress towards realizing its founders’ vision. From a team of seven at the time of last May’s Venture Day final in Madrid, Tyba has now grown to 21 employees, and Eiso says they will reach 30 by the end of this summer. The company’s recruitment service has expanded to cover job opportunities in 17 different countries, and financial projections are also looking bright.
Considering the impact of winning the competition, Eiso says, “It’s been an experience that has given us a lot of exposure, and allowed us to meet and stay in contact with some incredible people.” Indeed, the Venture Day win came at a time when Tyba was on something of a roll; the company won several other accolades in the same period, and three months later they closed their first seed investment of US$1.3 million. However, while highlighting the positive publicity and useful connections that awards can generate, Eiso also warns that it takes more than a trophy to impress a prospective investor. “They’re going to look at your company, personal recommendations and what you show them in much more depth.”
Start-up doesn’t mean quick fix
This understanding that depth and long-term development are essential to the success of a start-up has characterized the evolution of Tyba from the beginning. As Eiso points out, “Very often by the time the story is re-told in the press, it sounds like it all happened very fast.” But in fact he and co-founders Jorge and Philip – all classmates in the Bachelor of Business Administration program at IE University – spent more than a year discussing potential ideas before deciding on the focus of their venture.
Even once they’d identified a start-up idea they were excited about, the trio deliberately took some time out before diving in. “We had quite a long-term view of things, so before starting on that five- or ten-year commitment, we decided to all go off and do something completely different for three months,” Eiso recalls. Each of them departed for a different part of the world, spending time working in management consultancy or investment banking. “This was something we never wanted to do again in our lives; we just wanted to make sure we got it out of our systems.”
Eiso also emphasizes the importance of identifying a motivation beyond simply financial gain. “Don’t do it for the money,” he advises other would-be young entrepreneurs. “If your main motivation is to make a ton of money, you’re not going to be able to hold on through the emotional rollercoaster of starting a company. If your motivation is something other than monetary, that’s going to be your driver to make the project into a company.”
Identifying a strong company mission
For Tyba, this motivating company mission is “to solve the problem of junior recruitment on a global scale” – and it’s appropriate that Eiso and his partners have also identified recruitment as one of the most important priorities within their own business. One of the main lessons they’ve learned, Eiso says, is just how crucial hiring decisions can be. “As one person, there’s only so much you can do. For every hour invested in hiring another great person, you have such an amazing impact on your company.”
They’ve also been keen to incorporate Tyba’s international outlook within their own team, whose 21 current members represent 14 different nationalities. Meanwhile Eiso, Jorge and Philip are themselves about as ‘international’ as it gets; they’re originally from the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, but between them have lived in pretty much every world region – including Asia, North America and Latin America. And IE University, where they met and formulated the plan for Tyba, provided further opportunities to experience life in a very international community.
IE’s strong focus on entrepreneurship also had a major impact, and Eiso emphasizes how essential this kind of environment can be for young entrepreneurs in search of inspiration and support. “IE gave us many things, but I think most importantly it provided us with the mind-set that it’s not impossible or crazy to go start your own business. This is something that’s woven into the DNA of the university and the business school.”
For other budding young entrepreneurs, he adds some final words of encouragement: “Starting your own company is not so much to do with money; it’s having the confidence to go do it – and that confidence usually comes from seeing other people around you do it, and having people tell you that it’s possible.”
Having received that support himself, Eiso says he and his Tyba co-founders are always keen to help support the next wave of young entrepreneurs… So whether you’re looking for a graduate role, seeking advice for your own start-up, or even think you could make a good addition to the Tyba team, why not look them up? Or find out more about this year’s IE Venture Day event.
This article was originally published in October 2019 . It was last updated in December 2021