During the initial phase of a startup, a lot of founders are still wearing their proverbial rose-colored glasses. Disillusionment often follows soon thereafter as soon as they realize that their co-founders actually want to head in a completely different direction. With its app, the non-profit startup AlignaTeam wants to make it possible for potential startup teams to figure out if they are a good match from the beginning — or if they have some issues to discuss.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please briefly introduce yourself and your app!
AlignaTeam: Hi! We are Linus Kohl (33, Computer Scientist) and Robin Betz (32, TUM Economist) from AlignaTeam and want to help startup teams figure out if they’re working towards a common goal. Both of us have already experienced the major issues caused by disagreement within founding teams. Harvard Business School found that 65% of all promising startups fail due to conflicts within the team. Although that’s something everyone knows, critical topics are still avoided during the early and euphoric founding stage. Robin had already created a survey that team members can use to figure out if they would make a good team. The point in time they want to start the company, for example, or whether it should become a unicorn or an SME. I thought it would be really exciting to turn the process into a free app, and that was how AlignaTeam came to be.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
AlignaTeam: A lot of coaches offer individual consulting and some startup programs have developed paper-based surveys that they work through with their teams. What makes us different on the one hand is our user friendliness and focus on founding teams. On the other hand, we want to use downstream surveys to collect important insight into whether and how conflicts were solved and then pass that on to our users directly as valuable advice.
“It’s important to us to reach teams at the right point in time during the founding stage”
Munich Startup: What has been your biggest challenge so far?
AlignaTeam: Turning the method for evaluating teams into a user-friendly concept was a complicated task, which is why the results should be considered more of a rough indicator to begin with. For the teams, it’s how they discuss relevant topics after using the app that’s decisive.
It was also more difficult to find supporters for our technical infrastructure in the beginning than would have been the case for a profit-oriented startup. But a lot could be compensated for with our network in the end.
Munich Startup: Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
AlignaTeam: It’s important to us to reach teams at the right point in time during the founding stage. They’re often in a startup program at that point, which is why those programs are our most important disseminators. They’re often familiar with these kinds of problems. Then we’re charging open doors internationally and receive valuable feedback. But we still are happy to have anyone who would like to help spread the world.
Will AlignaTeam become the first non-profit unicorn?
Munich Startup: What does Munich mean to you?
AlignaTeam: Linus was born and bred in Munich, loves the city, its way of life and the opportunities it offers. Robin studied in Munich and basically ended up here. He particularly likes the Eisbachwelle and the lively startup scene in Munich. We both think the city offers entrepreneurs an excellent infrastructure in all respects.
Munich Startup: How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
AlignaTeam: Of course we’re going to become the first non-profit unicorn. Apart from that, our goal is to make Epic Fail Nights obsolete at least when it comes to disagreements in the founding team.
Munich Startup: Isar River or English Garden?
Linus: The north part of the English Garden in summer is like going on short vacation.
Robin: The English Garden because you can chill out on the lawn and surf on the Eisbachwelle — and that’s in the middle of a big city!