Mr. von Blücher, you are a headhunter and primarily place staff in start-ups, often in the field of green technology. How did you get there?
My company “Talent Tree” has been on the market for six years. Before that, I had set up a kind of brokerage exchange in Berlin for start-ups and investors who were interested in the green technology world. At the time, these founders chronically underestimated how exhausting, costly and frustrating the search for personnel is. And then I was asked again and again: “Don’t you know a good co-founder or salesperson or techie?” So I started writing intro emails and then kept hearing a few months later: “Hey, thank you, it worked.”
And so was the business idea born?
Yes! At some point there was a company from England who transferred me a couple of pounds for it and said: “Please, we need more of these good people.” And then it was clear to me: Oops, that’s not just something I do I like to do anyway, but here there is obviously a willingness to pay. We are now just under 20 people and no longer serve the early-stage start-up market, but rather the segment of 30 to 300 employees.
And what kind of people are you looking for for them?
Especially executives. It is important to find bosses who, with a certain degree of humility, want to create something creative out of nothing. At the same time, however, they must also be able to build and lead a rapidly growing team. That is a very special area of tension, where classic managerial personalities may not succeed and culturally fail to find each other.
Climate-Tech is the name of an area in which many new professions are allegedly emerging. Is that how you see it, and what exactly is climate tech?
Yes that’s true! Climate-Tech is a modern collective term, in the past we used to say “Cleantech” and “Greentech”. Cleantech is often a bit of a red rag for investors: a lot of hardware, very machine-heavy, extremely high upfront costs before you find out: Does the business model work? Climate-Tech, on the other hand, describes rather light-weight, faster scalable business models, and that is also what I am currently observing: that the mainstream is also supporting this topic for the first time.
What is this expressed in?
In the start-up world there are many groups, such as “Leaders For Climate Action”, “Startups for Tomorrow”, “Greentech Alliance” and “Entrepreneurs for Future”, in which the idea that business models should be meaningful, coincides with scalability, which I couldn’t see 10 years ago. Oh, not even three years ago! The subject will go through the roof.
Which professions are being created there?
Even Peter Drucker, the old management guru, always had the saying: “What you can’t measure you can’t manage.” And when we talk about CO2 and the recording of the CO2 footprint, we first have to have a kind of Map the digital twin of reality. That is why there are now a large number of digital start-ups that actually do nothing other than record the CO2 value chains. Otherwise we cannot really understand: what is the influence of what? This is where the new professions are created.
What positions exactly?
Carbon Accountant, for example. In addition to data protection officers, there are more and more climate protection officers. They are increasingly becoming full-time climate protection managers who examine the CO2 flows and potential savings. Data engineer is also an increasingly popular profile. Ultimately, recording the CO2 value chain is all about data and how to deal with it. What is also still frequently used in this area are solar fitters, they are called “solateurs”.
So don’t all new jobs in the field have to do with digitization?
Many, but not all. Also important in the discussion are the large industries that are still at the very beginning of digitization, such as Prop Tech, i.e. the real estate sector. Or Ag Tech, i.e. the area of agriculture and food tech. For example, the attempt to solve the major nutritional problems in the field of plant breeding with vertical farming.
And do you find all of these new professions mainly in start-ups?
The start-up world anticipates – and that is now detached from climate tech – a lot that will eventually reach corporations. When I think of Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches, for example: These profiles were all standard in the start-up scene ten years ago, and they are now fully established in large companies too. A very vivid example in which new job profiles are emerging in the start-up world is the topic of no code or low code.
There are a few start-ups that use very simple technology and user interfaces to enable ordinary people to develop software applications. In principle, this means that anyone can build software adapted to their own company in the future. Companies that recognize this will gain a clear competitive advantage. In addition, the so-called “citizen developer” does not have to be based in Germany. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created in this area over the next few years. All over the world.