In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, innovation often stems from the intersection of technology and traditional fields. One company pioneering such innovation is Valutico, an international player set to redefine the art of company valuation.
At its helm is Stephan Karner, the COO, whose passion not only lies in optimizing business processes but also in understanding the human element integral to every successful company. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Stephan for an in-depth conversation on Valutico, its global ambitions, and the essence of human resources in a predominantly remote work setup.
This discussion, hosted by Matthew during “Bright Founders Talk” at Temy, offers insights into the transformative journey of Valutico and the importance of maintaining human touch in an increasingly virtual world. Dive in as we unravel the intricacies of the valuation world and the strategic leadership driving it.
The Global Playbook: Stephan’s Insights into Valutico and Modern HR Dynamics
Stephan Karner journey with Valutico – the world’s first global company valuation tool – is more than just about crunching numbers. As he shared with Matthew, Valutico has successfully revolutionized what once seemed like an arcane process, only understood by financial gurus. Now, with Valutico’s optimized solutions, financial auditors and specialists can save immense time and effort on the analysis. “Company valuation is the art to determine how much a company is worth,” he explained, highlighting the monumental role of Valutico in almost 85 countries. Based out of Vienna, Austria, this end-to-end product symbolizes not only financial precision but also a startup spirit. Stephan reminisced about his initial days, where he began as an aide for government grants and funding and then naturally transitioned into spearheading global operations.
“Human resource, it’s more than a resource. It’s the essential fuel you need in a company,” Stephan remarked, emphasizing the non-negotiable importance of the right talent in any organization. As he delineated the intricacies of remote work setups, which has its share of perks and challenges, it became clear that for him, HR isn’t just about hiring; it’s about the entire lifecycle – from sourcing talent on platforms like AngelList to nurturing and developing them. He believes in the value of ‘human touch,’ not limited to the digital realm. In Stephan’s view, playing tennis with a colleague is not just about camaraderie. These moments offer insights into people’s reactions under various situations. It’s about understanding them, bonding, and knowing the kind of individuals you collaborate with daily.
For Stephan, though, it’s not all business. He’s someone who truly resonates with the “human experience.” While scaling heights with Valutico, Stephan has always prioritized the essence of human connections, whether it’s through casual interactions on holidays or integrating remote teams during business trips. His perspective is clear: in a world rapidly moving towards digital, it’s the human touch, the raw, unfiltered interactions that truly matter in the end.
Stephan Karner: From Business Dreams to A Love Affair with Machine Learning
It’s not every day you meet someone who starts off in international business administration and finds their way into the realm of machine learning. Stephan, with an infectious passion for entrepreneurship and innovation, once envisioned himself at the helm of his own enterprise. “I didn’t manage, but I’m happy about it,” he shares candidly. Surrounded by a team he adores, Stephan’s business journey is nothing short of intriguing.
But here’s the twist. Beyond business, Stephan has always been a “people person”, heavily invested in understanding emotions and human interaction. “Wherever you want to go ahead in life,” he muses, “unless you’re a specialized neuroscientist or surgeon, you need to interact with people. We’re not machines; we have feelings.” A true testament to his belief in the power of human connection, whether it’s in HR, sales, or everyday interactions.
Speaking of machines, let’s delve into Stephan’s unexpected tryst with machine learning. As he journeyed from Price Waterhouse Cooper to his dreams of setting up his own business, an end project with his wife (then partner) sparked an idea – Mold Steel. A recommendation system for fashion aficionados. But as they dug deep, they realized rule-based systems wouldn’t cut it. Enter machine learning, an old topic with newfound relevance in their venture. “It’s not just about the technology,” Stephan reflects, “it’s about understanding its impact on people.”
Stephan’s Journey: Stylists, Startups, and Lessons Learned
Stephan dived head-first into the vibrant world of startups, and it’s evident his passion isn’t just about business. It’s about understanding. The mission? Building a system that simulated the genius of a professional stylist, combining the art of fashion with the science of machine learning. “We needed something that can basically talk to people and, in a way, understand what’s in pictures,” Stephan says with enthusiasm. And while the initial reactions from many were skeptical, with some saying what they envisioned was unfeasible, the fire in Stephan’s spirit was undimmed. “We wanted to accept this challenge of doing something that everybody else said was impossible,” he remarked.
His entrepreneurial journey was a rollercoaster of both highs and pitfalls. Stephan shares candidly about the duality of startup life: the exhilaration of securing investments and the stress of looming deadlines. But woven into his story are essential nuggets of wisdom for any budding entrepreneur. Stephan emphasizes, “In the beginning, particularly in your 20s, you might think it can’t be that hard. You can change everything – but it’s hard. It will tear at you, emotionally and physically.” Yet, even in the most challenging times, it’s evident Stephan’s undying spirit and belief in his vision was the driving force.
But let’s get personal. Starting a business with your life partner? Most of us might balk at the thought, considering the added complexity and potential strain on the relationship. Yet, Stephan navigated this unique challenge with grace and a touch of humor. “After work is finished, take a break. If it’s movie night, then it’s movie night. No work talk allowed,” he laughs. But beyond the chuckles, his insights hold weight. Choosing the right business partners, trusting your instincts, and understanding who you’re dealing with are paramount. Stephan’s golden quote of the day? “Listen to your gut feeling when it comes to people. If you have a good one, it comes in quite handy.” A lesson, it seems, that goes beyond the boardroom and deep into the very fabric of life itself.
Disrupting the Future with Stephan: A Glimpse into Ambition and Authenticity
The atmosphere shifted with a palpable energy as Stephan delved into his vision of the future. His role at Valutico has always been underpinned by a deep trust from management, and at the age of 36, the weight of his responsibilities is both a testament to his capability and a driving force behind his motivation. “We still have these big new features that we’re developing,” he remarked, hinting at Valutico’s ambitious steps to further disrupt their industry. The vibrancy in his voice unmistakably signaled the pride he takes in being a part of such an innovative journey.
As the conversation wrapped up, the interviewer prompted Stephan for a quote he’d choose to wake up to every day. After a brief contemplative pause, he shared, “Never forget who you are and where you came from.” These words encapsulate the essence of Stephan’s journey and philosophy, reminding us all of the power of authenticity and the importance of staying grounded, no matter where life’s tides might take us.