5 October 2020

Startup Flight #12: Why we revised our vision and mission

Hi there! My name is Charlotte and I’m Co-Founder & CEO of Equalture (a hiring software that leverages gamification to debias hiring for SMBs) and living in the most beautiful city in the world: Rotterdam. Being an entrepreneur for 4 years now and building my second company together with my twin sister, I get a lot of questions from other founders and people thinking about starting their own company.

Since I believe that every single founder experience can be helpful to other founders, I decided to translate these frequently asked questions into a blog series: Startup Flight.

In this twelfth blog: Why we revised our vision and mission.

That one frustration

Best companies arise from frustrations. I don’t know if that’s factually true, but at least this is my truth. I really do believe that, if you start developing a concept because you want to solve an issue or frustration you’re experiencing yourself, eventually you will succeed. Why? Well, because companies built out of a frustration are pain killers, rather than vitamins. And these products may not be perfect on day one (and likely also won’t be perfect after many years), but at least they are actually solving a problem that people are experiencing. For me, that has lighted an inextinguishable flame that makes me a hundred percent motivated every day again. Because I want to change the status quo with Equalture. And I want to resolve my frustration. 

Okay, so about that frustration.

My frustration started when Fleur, my Co-Founder, and I were running our first company, which was a recruitment agency. We worked for large enterprises, SMBs and everything in between. And one thing that really surprised us in all these different organisations was the way they handled hiring. Or actually, how they were mishandling it in my opinion. 

This was in 2016/2017. The years in which AI became the new buzzword in our economy. The years in which everyone started talking about how automation and new technologies would eliminate human jobs. The years in which we started acting on data for the majority of our decisions. Even the years in which hospitals started experimenting with robots for surgery.

And unfortunately, these were also the years in which almost every single company still evaluated candidates based on their resume. Manually and subjectively. Which is a method that we started using for the first time in 1950!

Building a team is an art and one of the most difficult sciences at the same time. And besides that, it’s by far the largest cost item on most companies’ balance sheets. An interesting fact: SMBs spend on average 72% of their total budget on people.

And that’s what frustrated me. How is it possible that we’re spending 72% of our budget on people, but decisions on which people to hire are still gut-driven rather than data-driven, knowing that this biased evaluation method highly increases the chance of making the wrong decisions?

From frustration to product

Having that frustration is actually the best thing that could happen to me, because this frustration was my ticket to becoming a tech entrepreneur and potentially building a company that would conquer the world and disrupt the status quo. So that was our plan – translating our frustration into a product that would change the way companies hire worldwide (yes, worldwide, because I always dream big). 

And that’s how Equalture was born. We had the goal to create a technology that allowed companies to make outstanding hiring decisions by basing these decisions on data instead of gut feeling. Ultimately to shape the world of data-driven, unbiased hiring. 

Vision & Mission: Marketing vs. motivation

And that goal I just described above has never changed. What has changed, however, was our vision and mission statement – while it actually shouldn’t have changed. So here’s the mistake we made.

Now that I have deeply studied the concept of vision and mission statements, I learned that your vision and mission statement shouldn’t serve a marketing purpose. Or at least not in the first place. A company’s vision is the ultimate end-goal. It’s the thing that makes you and your team wake up in the morning, feeling energised to rock a new day. It’s about motivation.

So your vision is the end-goal, and your mission is your battle plan to reach this goal. 

Up till a few weeks ago, however, I wasn’t really aware of this. Our vision and mission statement was purely written from a marketing perspective. And as a result of that, not even every person in our team could remember it. 

That flipping point

My recent job interview with Marjet, our new Software Engineer, triggered our flipping point. During this interview, Marjet asked me what my ultimate goal for Equalture is. And my answer was to disrupt the hiring market and change the status quo by showing companies the value of hiring on data rather than gut feeling. 

At that time (read: two weeks ago), our vision was ‘’Helping companies build great teams that allow them to grow’’. Yes, that’s something we do, but it for sure wasn’t in line with the answer I provided Marjet with. Because I didn’t start Equalture to ‘just’ help companies build great teams. I started Equalture because I want to show companies that, by basing your hiring decisions on unbiased data, you can actually build much better and more diverse teams that contribute to company growth. And that made our previous vision incomplete.

So that triggered me and my Co-Founders to revise our vision and mission. To go back to the basics. Writing down what makes you want to work on this company every single day, and what needs to be done to achieve this goal.

Shaping the world of unbiased hiring

‘’Shaping the world of unbiased hiring’’. That’s our vision. And the mission that goes hand in hand with this vision is: ‘’By helping customers collect objective data on both their teams and candidates to base their hiring decisions on.’’

And we start with SMBs, because we firmly believe that startups and scaleups are the companies that will change the world first. Who adopt innovations early and truly believe in the power of disruption. 

With this ambitious vision and mission in mind, we are spending this last quarter of 2020 on fine-tuning all parts of our current product features that contribute to this goal. Together with our amazing customers.

So, are you a founder/CEO or a SMB, ready to join our disruption? You’re only one click away

Cheers, Charlotte
Co-Founder & CEO