Meet the Get Started Entrepreneurs Part 15: Skilla

13 April 2017

Matteo Volani

Founder& CEO of Skilla, Matteo Volani, and Get Started Alumnis ‘16

Our Get Started programme has helped over 270 first-time entrepreneurs move from idea to actual business in 10 weeks. This post is part of an ongoing series where we profile the many different kinds of entrepreneurs that have been part of the programme.
Anxious to get started yourself? Check out and apply before April 16th!

With its slogan “Alone we are smart, together we are brilliant”, Skilla is tapping into the often harsh non-personal market of recruiting. Read below Matteo’s story about his journey to become the LinkedIn for our next generation, specialized in the landscape of startups.

Meet Skilla

Skilla is a networking platform aimed to speed up and narrow down your quest for talent. But it’s not just about finding talent. Matteo: ‘One thing that I want to do with skilla is to give way more relevance to the personal aspect, not only the professional. Recruiting based on curricula and capacity tests might be sufficient for large scale professional job hunting, but when you’re are building something from the beginning, you want to be with people you can get along with, otherwise you’ll get into trouble. So far, there is no single platform that considers the personal aspect of people enough. For all you know, that person you think is awesome because he has 25 endorsed skills on LinkedIn just wants to be become a CEO’.

“When you are building something from scratch, you need to be with people you can get along with, otherwise you’ll get into trouble”

‘Therefore, our company focuses on the essentials: your core skills, your interests or passions and who you are as a person. Only then will people find a job that they love and are actually good at, not just claiming it’.


How it works

With the use of basic artificial intelligence and geolocation driven algorithm, Skilla will match people according to their specific requirements and goals. But this technology is all ‘behind the scenes’. Customers are simply interacting with the chat bot through messenger. Matteo: ‘Either you’re looking for the right people to work with or relevant projects/startups to join, chat with our chat bot that will find the best match for you. Skilla is the solution for the new “Can do – Will do” generation: all of this, without leaving an app you already use and check several times per day: Facebook Messenger!’


Joining the ECE community

I decided to move to Rotterdam because of the startup environment. At the same time, I was looking for a place with a lot of students, so Rotterdam made a lot of sense to me, due to the presence of Erasmus University and the University of Delft, having complementary skillsets. I first visited Rotterdam for two weeks to check out the situation. I was hoping to find cool stuff for startups. Then I heard about the Get Started program and I applied just before the deadline. Only two days later, I was accepted in the program and moved here for real.
For the duration of the get started program I used to work here every day. However, the rest of my team worked remote, so I was all alone here. I could not go to the office and crack some jokes. That’s one of the things I like most about ECE. You can find people who are in similar situations, who feel the same struggles or try to achieve the same dreams. A lot of new friendships and professional relationships come out of this. Thanks to the endorsement of ECE I was able to build a network within 2 weeks.

“Thanks to the endorsement of ECE, I was able to build a network within two weeks”

I made a partnership with ECE students, YES Delft and different kind of players to explore partnerships or at least build a network. Without the get started it would have taken me months to reach out to those people.


Current steps

‘We currently have 300 users and a presence in Bangalore – the Silicon Valley of Asia’. At the moment we are fine tuning a new version of Skilla bot. Conversational interface gives the user more power to lead the interaction, so difficulties arise in developing the flow: you need to wisely guide users where you want them to go. We are also exploring different revenue streams but Skilla will always be free for individuals and early stage startups. My whole point is to foster entrepreneurship and collaboration, so to as a revenue stream we are thinking to introduce in the future a monthly subscription for funded startups and established companies. Still, we will keep it way lower than the other recruitment packages.


The next generation LinkedIn

My biggest dream is to have Skilla as a main networking platform for youngsters. Now there is LinkedIn for corporates and some other stuff, mostly for professionals over 30. I would like to be the place for resources, inspiration, connection, network and whatever related to startups and working together for the millennia’s and in particular, the new generation. Fostering entrepreneurship among youngsters is going to grow more and more and it is going to change the way we are doing business.


Being an entrepreneur

There are a lot of bright sides but also negative ones. You have to think properly about a lot of things and set boundaries, otherwise it’s easy to be out in the clouds. A difficult thing is that there is less and less distinction between private and working life. Sometimes it is overwhelming because business problems will reflect on your personal life but also vice versa. Good things show through as well.


A final piece of advice for future entrepreneurs

Follow your ideas, but always be super open to people’s perceptions and opinions. Only when you do both you can create a great product. Because in the end, you are building a product for the customers.
So, are you looking for resources, ideas or want to start your own project and find the right people, come to skilla!


Are you ready to Get Started? Launch your own startup, in one of our special additions to the programme: the Health, and Circular Economy Tracks! Applications close on April 16th!


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Get Started is a 12-week startup programme that helps ambitious entrepreneurs grow their early stage business through mentoring, workshops and a great network of fellow entrepreneurs.

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