A Look Inside Hub.no with Giulia

Her name is Giulia Praticò, she is Swiss-Italian and she currently works in Oslo as Acting Country Manager of Hub.no stepping in for the mighty Raja Skogland who is in maternity leave.

«I moved to Oslo from Beijing in April 2013 – air pollution was off-the-charts (literally) and intercontinental plane rides had become very mundane. However, relocating to Norway was a big detour from my life plans at the time – I had just ‘repatriated’ to China after taking an MSc in London, and I very much intended to stay».

Before then Giulia lived in Wuhan, Hubei where she spent parts of her early twenties.

«As a young adult, I kept bouncing between England, China, Switzerland and Italy so my national identity is a bit muddled. Even so, I feel downright European and I am proud of having trained at the EU Delegation to China & Mongolia where I became acquainted with migration policy, a big research interest of mine  and, coming from a family of migrants, a subject very close to my heart».

Tell us about Hub.no

Hub.no Norway is a free online platform tailored to the needs of Norwegian growth start-ups. The Hub help these companies with recruitment and raising capital. Furthermore, the platform gives start-ups access to best-practice tools that can help them develop even further. We have recently launched an event section where we map exciting happenings within the eco-system. We are thrilled to co-host an event of our own with SingularityU Denmark during Oslo Innovation Week, so please mark your calendars!

Hub.no exists across the Nordics and it’s a pleasure to work with & learn from my colleagues in Denmark, Sweden and Finland! Hub.no creates a lot of value for Norwegian start-ups, which often find it hard to believe everything we do is for free – forever. Truly. No funny business.

What features should start-up have to succeed in Oslo?

A kick-ass team. Nothing beats a squad with serious personal drive – other than a squad with personal drive, a solid value proposition AND a strong customer orientation. This is why I feel that our job section is the jewel in the crown of the Hub project, and we put a lot of resources into running it to its full potential.

We advertise start-ups’ positions throughout our social media channels to reach the biggest possible number of potential candidates. We then pre-screen applicants against the job description of the position to which they have applied. This means that start-ups only receive relevant applications – straight to their inbox. The Hub’s interface also enables start-ups to streamline communication with the applicants, so we encourage interacting with the platform as much as possible.

What is the percentage of start-ups that have really been successful in these years?

It’s probably easier to answer this question in the reverse: 90% of all funded (!) start-ups fail within their first year of existence. Of the surviving 10%, very few are what we define ‘unicorns’ (which is what you may refer to as ‘really successful’). Personally, I believe that success is a relative concept and doesn’t always equal making the big buck. Similarly, a start-up doesn’t necessarily have to invent The Self-Peeling Potato (aka have a strong tech focus) to bring value to the community. This is why I co-founded oslo soup  a microfunding dinner aimed at supporting and raising funds for community-enhancing projects in Oslo.

We are going strong. Our fifth event just took place at Skippergata 22 and it was once again a full house: almost 100 people chose to spend their Sunday afternoon with us instead of basking in the sun. This is a testament to Oslo’s love for social entrepreneurship, and flies in the face of those who said the concept would never take off (proving skeptics wrong is a maximum pleasure of entrepreneurship).

We look forward to our next event at the Center For Afrikansk Kulturformidling (CAK) on November 26th, and I take the opportunity to ask anyone who wants to get involved to please get in touch at info@oslosoup.org, we are very much run for you – by you.

Don’t you think companies in Oslo hire too much based on friendship, recommendation instead of real meritocracy?

Expanding a team is a complex process, and it’s easy to forget how much trust it involves. Bad hiring has repercussions for any company, but it can be fatal for start-ups trying to build themselves from scratch. Trustworthiness is often a gut-feeling, and going the extra mile to meet a potential employer is the most valuable initiative one can take when job-seeking.

Networking plays a fundamental role because the hiring process boils down to salesmanship – you must sell yourself in, and doing so through a screen up against several other well-qualified applicants can be extremely tricky. My advice is to follow up all job applications with a polite phone call and a short meeting request – chances are they’ll say yes, everyone loves coffee in Norway!