Enhance your CV – on the way up climbing the peaks of success
Interview with Georgi Ivanov
This month, Success Stories Magazine introduces to you Georgi Ivanov – a young entrepreneur who in 2014, together with Volen Valkov and Dimitar Vouldjeff, founded Enhancv – a company, which throughout its platform offers the opportunity to its users to create unique resumes and multiply their chances to be hired on their desired job and which is about to get its fourth funding, this time at the amount of half a million euro. He is here to tell us about the experience he gained on the way up of this successful Startup. Enjoy this interesting conversation.
Plamena Petkova for Success Stories Mag:
You have graduated Geology, but in fact you choose to develop yourself in a rather different direction. Tell me a little bit about you, your career path and how did it happen so that you decided to start founding startups? What attracted you to this kind of self-realization?
I graduated Geology in the Sofia University and the key moment in my professional orientation was when I was an exchange student for 2 semesters at the Technical University in Munich. Then I somehow realized how many more opportunities life actually offers and broadened my horizons.
After I got back to Bulgaria I needed to change my environment and accidentaly or not I came across Start It Smart– a nongovernment organization designed to encourage more young people to start their own business. There I met with other “conspecifics”, with whom I began discussing the hottest startups, books and TED Videos from the very first day. So slowly we started to also came up with various business ideas. After several unsuccessful attempts I was able to focus on one project and the last two and a half years this is the main thing I do.
How did you come up with the idea for the foundation of Enhancv?
The idea was born when Volen made a little bit more unconventional resume for himself, which got him a job in Germany. I remember back then tolding him, “Oh man, this could be awesome business” 🙂
7-8 months later, the idea matured in his head and in December 2013 he asked me if I want us to start working on it. I agreed without thinking too much, because I liked him as well the idea a lot. Things, however, became really serious when Mitko (Dimitar, the third co-founder & CTO) joined the project and two months later we succeeded in attracting an investment from Eleven.
At this point, our team consists of 13 people and I can certainly boldly say that each one of them possesses exceptional experience at what they do, despite their age and years in branch. That is the myth we want to unfold – whether a person will perform well on a certain position in the company, doesn`t really depend on his/her years of experience or the grades they received at the university.
I know that Enhancv was one of the nominated companies in the annual Forbes Bulgaria E-volution Awards 2016 in the category „Design and Usability“. What path did you walk since the start and how does the company develop itself now, two years after its foundation?
At the beginning we started as a service company and we did each CV manually – we were meeting personally with the customers, each one of them, altering their old CVs, we were researching the companies, they wanted to apply in, we were helping them to customize their CV for each single company and at the end we were making it nicer and much more presentable.
Three months after we received the first investment we launched version 1 of our product, which aimed to give us information on how to best approach when automating the process. Two years and four versions later we have the most contemporary, modern and easy to use platform for creating resumes in the world and some of our customers have been hired on jobs in companies like Uber and Facebook and have graduated universities such as Harvard and MIT.
The award, for which we were nominated in top 3 by Forbes E-volution Awards was a great recognition for us, since the usability of our product is indeed one of the most important things for us and our users.
Let’s talk a little bit about startups in general. What does a startup need in order to succeed?
I would summarize it up by three things: a team, courage and a lot of hard work.
What are the main steps to turn the idea into a successful business?
There are many ways, as long as the above three things are also there, I think everything can be easily adjusted.
The most important thing at the beginning is whether the problem you are solving is really significant for your target audience, as under significant I mean that they are actively seeking for different alternatives to solve it. If so, then you will be able to find the appropriate business model and also customers (of course, as long as you fulfil the three requirements mentioned above:))
What is your opinion on the additional external funding of ideas and business and how easy it is to get funding for your project?
I think if you have the opportunity to find funding for your idea and from people who will be also able to help you with other knowledge and contacts, I don`t think there’s anything wrong. On the contrary – the financial freedom helps you focus on the really important metrics for your business at its beginning. For us these were “success of the CV” and the percentage of people who create quality CVs.
I definitely don`t think it is easy to get an investment – after all you have to defend an idea that does not exist yet and to convince the people to whom you are presenting it, that it is your team that will be able to implement it – i.e. whatever they ask you, you must have a well thought-out response.
Before getting into the foundation of Enhancv, you have been developing another two startup projects, not so successful. What lessons did you learn from the first two attempts for startup that are helping you now in the development of Enhancv?
I learned a lot from each one of them, but perhaps the most important conclusions were how important it is the people in the team to be not only very smart and cool but to also have different complementary skills and that whether the rest of the team work as much as you want is directly related to how much work you do by yourself. Then I realized what the phrase “Lead by example” really means – I definitely don`t think that I was the best example back then.
In addition to the development of Enhancv as a company you also do some mentoring – you are helping other startups to actuate their ideas and achieve success. What motivates you to do it?
I help them because they are the future and the more successful people there are, the more our country will be prospering. Moreover, a few years ago when I didn`t understand anything either, there were people who were also helping me in a similar way and for me it somehow feels like a duty to return the gesture. It is very interesting, but I keep seeing this by almost all entrepreneurs in the sphere.
Do you participate also in other current projects and are you preparing any surprises for us?
No, the focus is one of the most important things for the success of a startup and I don`t want to loose it for now. 😉
Tell me a little bit about Georgi Ivanov outside of Enhancv.
Georgi likes talking with funny and smart people, going to the theater, trying new things, playing table tennis, discovering obscure nooks, reading interesting books on various (but practical) topics, and calms his nerves by driving a car, ATV or just by practicing Wing Chun. 🙂
How do you think should be arranged the life of a person in order to be able to wake up in the morning with the thought “I am happily successful”?
You just have to be happy with what you have. Good things happen slowly and patience is indeed the skill that is critical to our level of happiness. We should be able to enjoy the whole work process, not just the end result.
Motivate our readers to pursue their goals with two or three sentences.
Which one is more frightening- to try to fulfill your dreams and fail along the way, or not to try at all, and then wonder your whole life “what it would be if you had tried back then…”