Photo: Workpath

Workpath: Agile Goal Management With OKR

Workpath helps companies achieve goals using the OKR method. The founders present their company in our interview.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem are you solving?

Workpath: Workpath is an SaaS platform for results-oriented strategy implementation. More specifically, our software connects key metrics with the associated outcomes to fill gaps between strategies and their actual execution. That’s a simple description of the OKR method. With our software and training programs, we want to create more agility, focus, transparency and commitment for different areas of an organization, which can achieve real added value faster. On the whole, employees’ daily tasks, ongoing projects and KPIs are linked to the overarching strategies and goals of the company and aligned accordingly. We call this outcome management.

What has become more and more obvious to us in recent years is that despite the increasingly complex and dynamic market environment, many established companies still rely on old organizational structures with a rigid and central approach to decision making. More flexible and adaptable market players have had a clear advantage since the corona pandemic at the latest. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to integrate the most important tools and organizational models of digital pioneers into a holistic software solution. It is meant explicitly for enterprises. Workpath offers a helpful basis for agile working in order to meet today’s requirements.

“We tailored Workpath to the requirements of large European companies from the very beginning”

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Workpath: At the moment, there are two types of OKR management solution providers: One type offers instruments that are purely administrative and are meant to coordinate strategies from management’s point of view. These tools often don’t have any real measurable impact on the success of a company, partly due to the fact that employees are not involved in processes.

The other type, user-oriented providers, can not always cater to the high demands of large companies when it comes to this kind of tool. This includes platform management, data security and protecting employee privacy. We tailored Workpath to the requirements of large European companies from the very beginning and focus on user friendliness and employee involvement. Our software intuitively guides teams through the process of goal planning and implementation. Thanks to cross-organizational coordination anchored in the OKR framework, corporate strategies can be broken down to different levels. We actively support our customers with templates, learning content and an integrated analytics suite so they can gain a better understanding of their processes and evaluate strategic progress.

Munich Startup: What is your founding story?

Workpath: Workpath’s co-founders worked in startups and venture capital prior to founding the company. Especially in this environment, we quickly realized how rapidly the working world is changing and that many large companies are far from being adapted to the agile market of the future. While we were working together for the same company, we quickly discovered our common interest in sustainable organizational models and in new forms of cooperation. We started looking for ways to use our experience to show how fundamentally leadership and processes in companies need to change in the digital age. The result was the founding of Workpath. Just a few months later, we already signed the first customers with the first version of our tool – not least thanks to how user-friendly it is. Our goal since then has been to solve companies’ essential problems with Workpath.

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Workpath: After the decision had been made to found Workpath, we quickly took our first steps. Because we had already worked with large companies before, we were able to finance the first 20 to 25 employees with our own revenue. At the same time, we faced the challenge of finding enough investors for our vision. That was the only way our startup could continue to grow and to also make it possible to continuously improve our product. We then raised roughly 15 million euros in venture capital from experienced VC investors in two funding rounds.

“It’s essential for us to learn from our mistakes”

Munich Startup: How is business going?

Workpath: The changes over the last few years, not least those caused by the pandemic, are what motivated many of our customers to take a more active approach to agile governance and outcome management. That’s something that we – thankfully – were able to benefit from with our software. We’ve acquired some new customers, but it’s with our existing customers in particular that we’ve experienced strong growth in the last two years. Some of our customers, like SAP and Bosch, are now using Workpath in an increasing number of units in order to coordinate them better.

We’re also proud of our continuous growth as a team and that we now have more than 120 international, talented individuals on board.

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?

Workpath: We value Munich very highly as a startup location. It’s no coincidence that the city is Germany’s second largest startup hub after Berlin. As a result, we’ve found many talented employees here. On top of that, the city has motivated some to move here and make it their home. Due to the many other tech companies that are located here, some of which are also established companies, a kind of ecosystem has emerged that offers a variety of networking opportunities. Accordingly, the talent market here is also very large and it isn’t always easy to attract potential employees, especially if you’re competing with a large corporation. But that’s something we’ve also found a solution for at Workpath: the option to work remotely. The remote model has become established at our company due to the pandemic, and it’s working out smoothly. One positive effect is that some employees always work remotely, which has made it possible for us to form a very international team. We can all learn something completely new from each other, and that makes working together even more exciting.

Munich Startup: Risk or security?

Workpath: The clear trend is towards risk. Despite our rapid growth, it’s still just as important to be able to make decisions quickly just like on day one and, when in doubt, it’s better to learn quickly from a situation than to not even give it a try. That doesn’t always work out 100 percent, which is why we follow an error culture. It’s essential for us to learn from our mistakes and to come away from each one with more experience.

Nevertheless, we’re obviously aware of our responsibility. When you have more than 120 employees, you can’t just rush decisions because you like to take risks. We aren’t going to endanger our employees or customers with the decisions we make. We’re always a safe and solid partner. And it’s important to us to keep it that way.