Adopto: “No Startup, Or Company For That Matter, Is Perfect.”

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Mario Buntić, CEO of the Croatian startup Adopto shares his opinion on the earliest phase of a company, his goals & most memorable moment so far.

Describe Adopto in 50 words or less.

Adopto is a specialized recruiting software for tech hiring. Every fast-growing tech company struggles with the same problem: how to scale their team fast, without huge investments and without losing the focus on product or service development. That is why we decided to build Adopto. Here’s how it works:

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Before Adopto I had an unsuccessful experience with my previous startup, after which I realized that the most important thing is the team. After that I decided to give it another try but this time I wanted to surround myself with great people.

Dino Barać was the first one to see the potential behind Adpoto so he decided to join me. I’ve known him since we were kids, we even played basketball together. Two, three months before the realization of the product I was constantly talking to him and we were developing the idea together. He believed in the whole story so much that he made the decision to quit his great job in Dubai & come back to Zagreb to work with me. He brought us international experience and started to spread his enthusiasm. Soon after Dino joined me, Nikola Biondić also decided to join – becoming the third co-founder of Adopto. I’ve known Nikola since college, we studied computer science together, and I knew he’s the best possible person for a fast and precise realization of the product.

After making the decision to finally start the business in August 2015, we found an office, got the equipment which we needed and we resigned our jobs. We expanded our team with a few new members – Josip, Bojan, Mila and Tea who are all students willing to work. Ivana, Ivan and Mario also became a part of Adopto.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Our vision is to make hiring a seamless experience for everyone. Using our platform any company, especially the fast growing ones, will be able to scale their team fast and easy. Saving their time and resources will allow them to focus on their product and ideas which lead to a more successful business. As our clients grow, so will we, and together we are looking into a bright future.

I truly hope that our tools will help accelerate the growth and development of many successful startups and companies.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Our single most important way of measuring success is the number of companies that use Adopto and their satisfaction. If the number of satisfied companies is constantly growing that is success for us.

Currently the state of our tool isn’t final, it’s actually only the beginning of our product development. Our team is and will be completely dedicated to further progress and adding new amazing functionalities while keeping it simple to use.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

First thing in the morning is coffee – no coffee, no workee. Joking aside, I always set our team goals and tasks to do for a week. If someone wants to accomplish their tasks as soon as possible they will have more free time left. I like to check others to see if they need some advice or help. Our team is small so we like to keep a family-like environment.

The early stage of a startup is perhaps the most beautiful period and for now we are enjoying it, in hopes that the enthusiasm will never leave us.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the recruiting software like you imagined it in the beginning?

Since the beginning our concept never changed but we changed the target group of our customers and the initial business model. A few of my friends started their own businesses and they all complained about the frustration they went through while scaling their team. This is the step where most companies make mistakes without even knowing it and that is a problem we solve.

The concept behind Adopto is based on that problem and we decided to design our product by this following principle – the product must simplify the most time-consuming tasks: engagement, communication, browsing, screening and managing candidates. It also must be intuitive, simple to use, offer a complete solution and users should not spend more than 5 minutes on setting it up and getting the hang of it. Driven by this principle, we built our product.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Since the beginning of our adventure, we have been financing everything out of our own pockets and savings. We chose this route because it enables us to focus on executing all our ideas without a single compromise. Because of our decision to decline investments in the early phases we now have much more freedom and better possibilities.

Our plan is to get enough customers to sustain ourselves within the first year. This way we will be independent with a proven product and ready to seek a serious investment for global expanding. Let’s see what the future will bring!

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

We have an extremely clear vision of where we want to be and we are executing the necessary steps to get there. The booming trend of building new companies is the reason why we shifted our attention towards the startups and small companies. This is a huge market full of companies who need fast and simple solutions.

As I have already mentioned, the team is of crucial importance for the success of any company and our team is made from the best people. We value each other’s knowledge and commitment because this ensures our further progress.

What do you look for in team members?

They need to be very ambitious, self-driven and believe that anything is possible if they set their mind on it. With such an attitude and good background knowledge a person can accomplish a lot. And if the whole team is alike they can conquer the world.

And last but probably the most important requirement is that they believe in our vision. If this is fulfilled everything else comes second nature and everything becomes simple and easy.

Why would a talent join your team?

Our company is still in the early stage of development but this is also the most beautiful stage where the pure talent, courage and creativity stand out. The amplitude of learning in a small startup is high, but of course, this level of commitment is not for everyone. The atmosphere in our team is friendly and we share everything we have learned with others, enthusiasm never disappears.

We think that our team and office is best place for young talents.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

There was a bunch of them but we are most proud of the fact that we managed to bootstrap a competitive product without any investments. Now, the product is live and it is actually helping real companies in their development. This is super exciting for all of us.

Besides that the most memorable moment would be when the first real user created his account and logged in to our site. We were all so excited that we had to celebrate it with a cold beer. Soon after even his boss created an account and we were watching everything through our support tool. It was such a mix of positive feelings. We are all looking forward to new, similar moments.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

Hang in there! I think that you need to blindly believe in your project. Six days of the week blindly believe and work on it like there is no tomorrow. Then take a rest day and look at your project critically, as yourself, if it makes sense, if you would pay to use it. Find your weak spots and sort them out, manage them, work around them. No startup, or company for that matter, is perfect.

If you already have customers, you should keep them close and listen to their suggestions while being smart enough to spot the valuable ones. Team members must be upbeat, agile and prepared for fast pivoting and reshaping of the product at any time.


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