Justin Coetzee, CEO and founder of GoMetro came to the Netherlands to pitch at the 2014 Global Final of Get in the Ring. Justin didn’t win the competition, but went back to South Africa with a valuable asset to his company: Lukas Braunschweig. We sat down with Lukas to ask him what made him that enthusiastic to impulsively travel across the world to work for GoMetro.
Lukas, tell me what happened
I went to the Global Final in 2014 in Rotterdam. I didn’t expect much, I was just curious about the show. When I saw GoMetro on stage, I immediately loved their idea and I loved Justin, who was pitching. So I, of course, voted for him and in the app I noticed a button to ask for an internship. I thought ‘why not’ and before I knew it, I clicked it. The day after, GoMetro was still on my mind, so I again reached out to them. After a while Justin got in contact with me and after a short skype call he said ‘ok, come to South Africa’. As easy as that. Not knowing what to expect, because we didn’t talk about anything, I just went. At the end of my internship he asked me to do business development in Europe, which I’m still doing.
“When I saw GoMetro on stage, I immediately loved their idea and I loved Justin, who was pitching. So I, of course, voted for him and in the app I noticed a button to ask for an internship. I thought ‘why not’ and before I knew it, I clicked it.”
What about the value for you?
I learned to work on my own, but also know when to ask for help. At first, I asked Justin everything, but after a while I got more self-confident, knew what was expected from me and what I could and couldn’t do. What I loved most though, was that while working in a startup, your opinion is valued. I was one of three guys working on the business side and Justin came often to ask my opinion on something with the business strategy. I don’t think you’ll have that as much in bigger companies because of the hierarchy and bigger teams. At GoMetro I had a big impact in where the business was going and I really liked that.
“I didn’t try to make any contacts during these events, they just came to me basically.”
What was the value of Get in the Ring?
Well, I’ve been to the show 3 times. I love the concept: unique, different and not like any other pitching competition. Besides that you meet so many different people who are all eager about entrepreneurship and getting to know people. I didn’t try to make any contacts during these events, they just came to me basically. So it’s a great opportunity to make connections and see a great show! Also, I didn’t want to do an internship, but seeing GoMetro, I was so convinced and so passionate about it, I went for it anyway.
But don’t forget the value of Get in the Ring for GoMetro! Justin has many contacts in Europe because of Get in the Ring. Plus it’s a great door opener, he now can say that even in Europe they like GoMetro. And we have some specific contacts through Get in the Ring who really helped us for example in setting foot in Europe.
Any tips for startups looking for talent like you?
Key is your idea, that is what convinces people. After that, give people a responsibility, so they love the company, love the idea and feel committed. And although you might not have big investments yet, make sure the interns can have a decent living. If the rent in your city is always above 500 euros, don’t offer them 400, or let them stay at your place. But mostly, convince people through your idea and your energy.
Are you looking for talent? Find an event near you and apply!