- Founders: Gabriel Heiml, Sebastian Körber
- Founded in: 2022
- Employees: 1 employee and several network partners
- Money raised: Self-financed and five-figure turnover
- Ultimate goal: To be THE contact for culture development and feedback in Europe
Sebastian Koerber and Gabriel Heiml work in organizational development and always receive enthusiastic responses to their training. Nevertheless, they repeatedly find that it is not easy for participants to implement the change processes in their everyday work. Another complicating factor is the lack of a feedback culture in companies, which often leads to misunderstandings. According to Gabriel Heiml, this makes change processes lengthy and difficult. In this installment of the Start-up-of-the-day series, he tells how the software Seedback can solve the problem:
What’s the problem with the feedback culture in companies?
A fundamental problem is that hardly anyone can distinguish between constructive-negative feedback and destructive-negative feedback. With constructive-negative feedback, the feedback recipient is given growth, even if this is associated with pain. In contrast, destructive-negative feedback simply adds pain to the feedback recipient. What is missing is the positive intention. Attitude makes the difference. If I am well-meaning, then I am interested in the growth and progress of the other person. Even two feedback messages that are identical in content can be either constructive or destructive because of the divergent attitudes of the feedback givers. We determine the attitude by criteria such as wording, choice of words and emotion.
At the management level, we often observe that people do not want to help each other at all and instead, abuse feedback to inflict pain on each other. This attitude is eradicated by our software Seedback. The concept is based on criteria that everyone can improve on and that contribute to the positive culture of a company. When Seedback is used repetitively, development becomes measurable and visible.
What drives you?
We want to establish employee development in companies in a sustainable way. Every employee deserves to be ideally supported and to fully realize their potential. This also leads to increased employee satisfaction. Many companies boast of a great corporate and feedback culture, but this is rarely put into practice. In fact, only 20 percent of employees are satisfied with the feedback culture at work. This leads to conflicts and increasing fluctuation. This is where we create more transparency and enable positive development. Our software can be administered internally. To enable companies to derive concrete actions from the results, we have also created packages for personal process support.
Was there ever a moment when you wanted to give up?
Two things come to mind: We worked with an external project partner in the programming of the software without mapping the corresponding IT competencies internally. As a result, the collaboration was very challenging and also eventually led to an escalation. In the end, however, the project was successfully completed. Since then, we have learned that internal IT competencies can significantly optimize the result of such a cooperation. That’s why we have now brought the IT competencies in-house.
The second critical moment happened while working with my co-founder Sebastian. We had a conflict that I had not deemed very important – until it escalated. We were able to solve this problem as well by shortening the cycles of feedback loops for a few months so that misunderstandings could no longer arise. This also boosted our confidence, especially because we learned not to let communication break down even in stressful and conflict situations and to give each other constant feedback.
What achievements have made you proud?
We created the software from scratch, and that’s something nice, especially when it’s accompanied by satisfied customers who see added value in it. One particularly memorable process was when I wanted to change the criteria of feedback sessions and the participants were against it because otherwise they wouldn’t be able to see whether they had actually made any progress. From this, I could see that there was genuine interest in our software – and the will to develop it further. The latter is what we want to see at the end of the day.
What are the conditions like at the Vienna location?
If you want to transfer company shares which have accumulated after the formation of an GMBH to employees, Austrian law is very limited. Austria still has a lot of room for improvement in employee stock options and also in GMBH law. These are the things that Austrian start-ups and other interest groups are working on and where politics is called upon.
Where would you like to be with your company in five years?
We would like to be THE contact for culture development and feedback in Europe in five years.
What is unique about Seedback?
We don’t just offer the software, we offer holistic support. That means we have the expertise of culture development, test-constructive psychological foundations, and provide concrete recommendations for action to help companies move into development. We take end-to-end responsibility for the entire process and make changes visible and measurable. While other providers conduct pure barometer surveys, we focus on the personal development journey of employees. As a result, our results are not abstract, but very concrete. In a nutshell: With us, customers find a single point of contact for all their needs: IT tool, strategy consulting and coaches.
Are you hiring?
We still have room for a late co-founder. There is no explicit profile yet, but anyone interested in the areas of organizational development, IT and feedback culture in companies can contact us with a speculative application or contact us on LinkedIn.
Want to read more posts about startups? You can find more installments of this series here.