Today analyzing your startup team becomes crucial for the success of your venture because it allows you to identify and address any issues that may be hindering the team’s performance. By understanding the dynamics of the team, you can create a more effective and cohesive working environment, which can become a unique feature of your startup to beat competitors. In Techpharus we strongly believe a great team is one of the most important competitive advantages for a startup.
We took an interview with Roy Kramer, co-founder of TeamAnalyser. This service is a powerful tool designed to help teams work more efficiently by providing detailed analysis and insights into team dynamics. The software utilizes machine learning and data analysis to identify patterns and trends within team communication, providing managers and team members with insights on how to improve collaboration and productivity.
Roy, nice to meet you! Can you share a little bit about your personal journey and how you came to be the CEO of TeamAnalyser?
I’ve been a sports enthusiast and have always believed that a team is more important than an individual. This mindset led me to become a managing director, entrepreneur, founder, investor and mentor of startups. But, as a very experienced investor once stated, in those surroundings “We talk about our employees and we talk about our teams but we never talk about our team compositions.” As a result, in our daily practice, we almost always recruit people on their individual qualities.
Also global research and 15 years of experience from YES!Delft (the most successful and one of the largest tech incubators in Europe) showed that the wrong team composition is the number one reason for the failure of startups.
I wanted to solve this “mismatch” and so, I, together with my friend John Piepers (COO and co-CEO), YES!Delft and a third co-founder, started developing and validating TeamAnalyser, a platform that helps startups and investors build winning teams. Now, I am the CEO of TeamAnalyser.
Why is it important to analyze your team’s performance and how TeamAnalyser helps teams to do it effectively?
Having the right team composition is crucial for the success of startups. We know from sports that the right team composition is much more important than individual talents. The team must be “strategic diverse”. A team with only goalkeepers or only strikers will never become champions, even if they are cultural, gender, ethnical and sexual diverse and collaborate perfectly. In order to make full use of the potential of a strategic team, the team members must also be able to recognize their strengths and weaknesses. With TeamAnalyser we recognize 5 key roles in a team: inventor, developer, builder, structurer and guardian. Knowing who plays what role in the team is key!
TeamAnalyser helps teams analyze their performance by identifying key roles within the team and where each team member contributes to growth. This leads to a common language for dialogue within the team and helps the team identify areas for improvement. TeamAnalyser also helps teams understand their current growth phase and how the team composition should be adjusted accordingly. The team composition of a startup team in the validation phase should be different from a scale-up team. This allows for informed decisions on resource allocation and changes to team processes, communication, roles, and composition to improve overall performance. TeamAnalyser is unique in that it takes into account the specific context and growth phase of the startup. For example, a deep tech startup grows much slower than a SaaS solution, that needs to be taken into account in the SWOT analysis.
Can you walk us through how TeamAnalyser’s platform works and the key benefits it offers for teams?
TeamAnalyser is a data-driven platform that helps teams analyze their performance and composition. We have analyzed hundreds of startup teams in various stages of their lifecycle. This wealth of information enables us to benchmark a startup team. Teams can easily diagnose themselves by filling out an online questionnaire and receiving feedback from other team members. The platform shows where each team member contributes to the growth and strategic diversity, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the team. This leads to recognition and a transparent dialogue based on objective arguments. The platform also provides a SWOT analysis and allows teams to determine and execute actions themselves to improve performance. TeamAnalyser can be used for team validation and due diligence for investors and corporations. The process takes only 15 minutes per team member and includes a 5-step approach to diagnose the team, analyze the team, scan the team, create the team, and assess and act. Based on the results, it is also possible to predict the probability of success and growth potential of the startup team.
In your experience, what are some of the most common challenges teams face, and how does TeamAnalyser help address them?
TeamAnalyser helps teams address common challenges such as getting the strategic diversity of the team right, balancing hiring decisions, and avoiding premature scaling. The platform matches the team composition with the current phase of the startup and provides a SWOT analysis to identify strengths and weaknesses. Is, for example, the startup team strategically diverse enough to validate, start, scale up and complete the innovation, or will it probably get stuck in one of the phases? The most common challenge is the risk of premature scaling due to an incorrect team composition and role unclarity within the team. As startups grow and change over time, it’s important to get the strategic diversity of the team right. Unfortunately, this balance is rarely considered as new people are hired and others reassigned. Building and growing a successful team is hard work and every hiring decision is critical. It’s about searching for the right combination of people. TeamAnalyser helps teams recognize these issues and determine necessary actions through self-diagnosis, making it an effective tool for startups and investors to expand the strategic diversity of their teams. It is fun, no-nonsense and the recognition of the SWOT analysis by the team is almost 100%.
Can you share any specific examples of teams that have seen significant improvements through using TeamAnalyser?
We give the team and every team member a respectful language, data-driven and evidence-based tool to act on their own. We can best answer this question by providing some quotes:
Personal perspective: “Even though I was aware of my advantages and shortcomings in the team, TeamAnalyser’s methodology and approach made it easier for me to discuss with my teammates and open the road to dialogue and improvement.”
Founder perspective: “TeamAnalyser allowed us to understand accurately the profile of each co-founder. Even if highly self-aware, it allowed us to have an external vision that not only focuses on the personal level but also how each profile is contributing to the success of other teammates.“
Team perspective: “We used TeamAnalyser for the first time to validate the team composition and loved the transparent guidance it gave us. It resulted in valuable dialogues and we successfully used TeamAnalyser the second time during the selection of new team members where it became a valuable component in our matching phase.”
How does TeamAnalyser integrate with other tools and technologies that teams may already be using to support their workflows?
TeamAnalyser can easily integrate with other tools and technologies teams are already using to support their workflows, such as project management tools, communication platforms and data analytics tools. This integration allows teams to have a clear overview of their progress, improve communication and collaboration and gain real-time visibility into key performance indicators and trends. This can ultimately lead to greater success and productivity.
How does TeamAnalyser differentiate itself from other team performance management platforms on the market, and why is that important for teams?
TeamAnalyser sets itself apart from other team performance management platforms by focusing on the unique needs and challenges of startups. It helps teams match team composition with the context, growth phase, and nature of the startup and encourages teams to identify and carry out actions based on the SWOT analysis, allowing teams to take ownership of their performance. Additionally, it provides real-time feedback on team performance which can help teams quickly address issues before they become major problems. This is especially important for startups, which often operate in fast-paced and ever-changing environments. TeamAnalyser’s approach is action-oriented, real-time feedback, and data-driven, which makes it an ideal platform for teams looking to improve performance and drive growth. It also provides a short online workshop (1,5 hrs) to teams and predicts the potential for success.
How does TeamAnalyser support startups and small businesses in particular, and what are some of the key challenges they face?
TeamAnalyser supports startups and small businesses by providing them with tools and techniques to measure and analyze team performance. This helps founders and managers identify areas where the team is excelling and areas where they may need improvement. By providing guidance and support on how to match team composition with the context, growth phase, and nature of the startup, TeamAnalyser can help startups to optimize their team structure, processes, and communication for maximum performance and growth.
Startups and small businesses often face unique challenges that are different from more established companies. One of the key challenges they face is the risk of premature scaling. Startups often have limited resources and need to be careful about how they allocate them. By providing a SWOT analysis, TeamAnalyser helps to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources, which can help them to avoid costly mistakes.
Another challenge that startups and small businesses face is role and task uncertainty within a team. Team members may not have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, which can lead to confusion and decreased productivity. TeamAnalyser can help to identify these issues and provide guidance on how to improve communication and clarity of roles within the team.
Another challenge is the lack of validation and scaling. Startups and small businesses are often focused on the development of the product or service, but forget to validate and scale the product. TeamAnalyser helps identify these issues and provides guidance on how to improve validation and scaling. We give these teams a respectful language, data-driven and evidence-based tool to act on their own. The greatest strength of all is that we basically don’t tell anything new, recognition is 100 percent.
Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations TeamAnalyser has with other startups or innovation-focused organizations?
TeamAnalyser has partnerships with international companies, investors, and accelerators/incubators to help startups with team performance management. Our partners have praised our tool for its ability to analyze strategic diversity and improve the processes of incubation. For example, the managing director of YES!Delft stated that TeamAnalyser helped them analyze the strategic diversity of startups and refine their process as an incubator. The CEO of Berytech, an Incubator in Lebanon, also reflected that TeamAnalyser’s concept is insightful.
Can you share any advice for other entrepreneurs and startup teams looking to build and scale successful companies?
To build and scale a successful startup, focus on having a clear vision and mission, building a strong and strategically diverse team, validating your product or service, being prepared to pivot, staying focused, seeking mentorship and advice, and monitoring and analyzing your team’s performance.
TeamAnalyser can help you to achieve this by providing tools and guidance to match team composition with the context, growth phase, and nature of the startup. It also provides actionable insights and encourages teams to take ownership of their performance. Avoid premature scaling and lack of validation by having a balance of different skill sets within the team. A lot of startups come to us only when the team is falling apart, but the key to success is to put the right team composition at the center of your strategy from the start. Remember that the needs of the startup and the team will change as the company grows and be prepared for changes in team composition.
Take the soft part of human capital and team composition as key drivers of success into account and let the team take control. It’s important to have a balance of different skill sets within the team and not over-rely on one type of team member, as this can lead to premature scaling and lack of validation. Make sure to have open and respectful conversations about team composition, and use the right tools or resources to do so. Like a winning sports team, it’s important to have a variety of players with different strengths to achieve success. Understanding, discussing, and managing the strategic diversity of your team is key to your success.