Renowned for being home to its own start-up ecosystem, WHU is a starting point for many founders including Zalando, Backwerk, and HelloFresh. For some, it can take years until their ideas come to life or until they become a financial success. For others, it can be simply finding the right niche and investment that allows their company to flourish. With PowerUs, founded by WHU Bachelor of International Business Administration graduates Julian Lindinger and Konrad Geiger, both talent and an eye for opportunity meant a strong start for this fledgling company.
The vision behind PowerUs started when co-founders Julian and Konrad met during their Bachelor studies whilst helping to organize the student-led start-up conference IdeaLab! “Konrad started a bee-keeping farm with his family before WHU and I had worked on some start-up ideas before, so we hit it off immediately.” The original idea however started with a recruitment project for the software engineering market. After building the original product and working on it for a year, it ultimately never took off.
When an electrician friend of co-founder Konrad later connected the pair to the skilled trades industry, this sparked a fresh idea. “He was looking for a new job and he approached us as he knew we came from a recruitment perspective. We asked him how he looked for these jobs and after analyzing a popular job board website in Germany, we discovered that the user experience was flawed. There were many jobs available but with little information, and with so many companies he had never heard of, it was difficult for him to decide which was the best option for him. It was from there that we started developing the idea for Electry.”
Launched in 2019, Electry (now PowerUs) is an online career network for skilled tradespeople, for example, electricians and mechanics with highly qualified roles requiring complex work. The platform currently has 20,000 members, where they can not only network with other members but also access a public job board. This job board provides in-depth company profiles that give the worker all the information they need i.e., if the job requires travel, what tools are needed, and what they need to know before interviewing with the company. PowerUs also works with companies to develop these employer profiles to not only help them attract talent but also support workers in finding better jobs. With such a great idea, it’s not surprising that despite being a relatively young company, PowerUs has already attracted a large amount of international attention.
Earlier this year, they received investment from entrepreneurs Maximilian Viessmann, Co-Head of the Viessmann Group, founders of Flixbus, and Neal O’Mara, Vice President Engineering at Dropbox. Other investment angels also support in financing PowerUs, including German financier HV Capital and the Y Combinator program from the USA. “We are so proud to have these investors on board as they truly are of a world-class level. We are incredibly happy, but it is also a big responsibility: now we have the resources to achieve the vision we have, we really must act on that vision. Before, we grew out of cash flow and worked from month to month, trying to decide whether we could invest in hiring a software engineer for example. But now we are no longer limited by those resources and can plan for a bigger and stronger future.”
Finally, what advice does Julian have for students thinking about founding their own company? “Start while you’re at university. It does not need to be a big idea or vision; it can be something small and simple. It does not even need to occupy all your time, it’s just important to just have fun and learn from it.”