Hunters + Unicorns | The Founders Edition – Pavel Dolezal #004

Welcome to Hunters and Unicorns; The Founders Edition. Today we welcome Pavel Dolezal, CEO and co-founder of Keboola. Our anticipation is high to learn more about the remarkable initiatives they are pursuing. Pavel’s story is quite unique; although many companies typically originate from the West Coast or places like Tel Aviv, Kaboola’s roots trace back to Eastern Europe. Join us as we delve into the beginnings and shed light on the evolving market dynamics, highlighting the emergence of companies like Keboola from that particular region.


Key Takeaways:

1. Pavel recounts his entrepreneurial journey, highlighting three ventures, including internet portals in the late nineties. He emphasizes the need for venturing beyond local borders and seeking co-founders with aligned moral and ethical values for a long-term commitment, emphasizing the importance of building a client-focused company.

2. The co-founder selection process involved identifying co-founders with a shared vision and technical capabilities. The motivation for founding Keboola stemmed from a desire to simplify data usage for businesses by integrating and orchestrating tools in a modern data stack.

3. Pavel emphasizes the need for hands-on understanding through customer interactions and initial implementations, debunking the idea of a sophisticated framework for startups. The two approaches to startup initiation are outlined, either addressing a specific problem within a familiar vertical or identifying a broader market need.

4. Initial efforts focused on reaching out, organizing events, and engaging with potential customers. Key customer, Tomas Chopra, provided crucial insights and challenged them to simplify complex processes for end-users.

5. They recognized a niche in retail, combining physical and virtual elements, and further explored industries like fast-food operations and banking. The validation process involved focusing on customers with large CRM and logistics systems.

6. They tested and refined their hypotheses, targeting different market segments and industries to understand market positioning. Bootstrapping helped in building a strong culture and a committed team, allowing them to adapt and scale when the time was right.

7. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation, aligning with their market positioning. They emphasized the importance of understanding when to sell a finished product versus involving customers in the product development journey.

8. Hands-on involvement from the leadership is seen as crucial for rapid adaptation in a rapidly changing environment.

9. Different methodologies like Agile, Six Sigma, and Lean are selectively applied based on the development stage and requirements.

10. Olli Krebs, Keboola’s advisor, helped them refine their deal lifecycle and introduced a structured approach to evaluating deals, improving efficiency. They realized the importance of understanding who excels in what aspect and how to effectively utilize individual strengths within the team.


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