Vladimir Kim, Serial Founder and Entrepreneur
Vladimir Kim, MSc, MBA is a graduate of the Professional MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation and has already founded several successful companies. iDWELL , opens an external URL in a new windowoffers software solutions for the digitalization of real estate management and has won several innovation and start-up awards – including one from TU Wien. His latest startup Bonrepublic , opens an external URL in a new windowis a virtual platform for effective employee engagement and motivation and is highly topical especially in times of increased home office.
Your latest start-up, Bonrepublic, is a platform for effective employee engagement and motivation. Has this topic become even more relevant due to increased work in the home office?
Yes, I think so definitely. People feel rather isolated at home. The nature of work has changed. Motivation and engagement of personnel has become a challenge.
What has been your biggest professional success so far?
I am a founder of quite a successful proptech start-up called iDWELL, opens an external URL in a new window. It is a property management CRM platform and mobile app for tenants and landlords. We service most major players in Austria, taking #1 position in our class of products in Austria. We are #2 player in Germany. We have received numerous awards for this start-up, including a proptech innovation award from TU Wien in 2020.
How did the completion of the Professional MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation contribute to achieving your career goals? From what did you benefit most?
Since I am not a career-oriented professional, probably, the impact is of different nature. I used each course as an opportunity to reflect on what I know already and how I apply it, and of course, to get more people I can work with and just have fun with nice people, drinking beer. However, my recent startup has been in the area of HR Tech, and because my MBA thesis (for which I received the best MBA thesis award) has been in the area of HR, Engagement, and Productivity Factor measurement for Remote Home Workers, this helps to position myself as HR expert within my team. Of course, previously, I had no idea about HR topics and it is important that investors see that a team consists of people with the correct competencies, in this case HR competencies. So, I think I got that one due to the MBA thesis.
And what has been the biggest challenge in your professional life so far?
Again, given that I am not a professional who is growing his career, my challenges are different. The challenge is how with a dime in your pocket to get started a company from paper scratch. To find money, to find people and resources to do it. And, every time it is the same and often more difficult challenge. The challenge is of course, to balance this challenge with challenges of having a family for those entrepreneurs that have one.
According to your opinion, what makes a good leader?
According to popular psychological frames, yes, I am a leader, but I am an innovator. And my second role is more important in the company. What makes you better than “anybody” is the skill and competence to listen carefully to people, and inspire them to do things that they don’t want to do (or want to do).
To which future-related topics should managers definitely pay attention?
Work from home is the new reality. All issues related with that like new experiences, new practices, and new tools are becoming increasingly important. The defragmentation of competencies combined with geographically distributed team members is a new challenge too. You need to bring everything to a single point in time and place all these different pieces. Knowledge becomes more and more specialized.
How do you manage to keep your work life and private life in balance?
There is no ideal solution; an entrepreneur has no private life. But, there is one magic solution: If you are lucky, you can marry your business partner, if that scheme works for her/him. Then it is kind of a family venture. But it is also not ideal and this kind of “Bonnie and Clyde relationship” is not for everyone.
Which person would you like to meet? Why?
I don’t have these goals.
Which (professional and/or private) goals do you want to achieve within the next ten years?
Probably, I will be launching another new company in the next five years.