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Fireside chat with Christian Haas

Who is Christian?

I am a family father and a founder. My family comes first and I enjoy the privilege to work from home as much as possible and of course I share this belief with all my team members. Working with people who have achieved a successful work-life balance is more sustainable for every founder and his business.

Tell us more about your role in Valunoo

I founded my first company Data Engineers in 2017 with a focus on analytics and consulting. When we saw that our software business is more successful than our consulting, we founded Valunoo as a separate legal entity with the pure focus on software development. I am convinced that software and consulting are hardly to manage within the same company, because the business models and leadership skills are completely different.

What is the most difficult part of your job? But the most rewarding one?

The most difficult job is to adapt the pace of learning in all our processes. As a start-up you have to be successful in sales, but B2B sales is quite difficult without a flexible and personalized sales approach to every new lead. That is what I found most difficult: to adapt the learnings from our sales win & losses faster and grow faster.

The most rewarding thing for me, has always been working with clients and see how your software is really making a change in peoples work life and success. I love to talk to our users, who are commodity managers – these are people who work 4-5 levels below the C-level of a company and do the daily ground work in companies financial success. Listening to their pain points and thereby learns how your software can help these people is very rewarding for me.

Is there anything that you would change about your professional path?

Not a single thing – I learnt so much in all my career steps – I only regret that it took me 20 years of work as an employee, before I founded the first time.

What’s your key strategy for the development of your company?

Our key strategy is to build a big data eco system around every category that a company buys as a third party material or service. It’s like Google map for “things”, you search for a different article and get all the relevant information you need – additionally you also see immediately all the “similar things” around, that makes it easier for you to compare prices and start negotiations.

Our USP is our domain knowledge in all the different categories of 3rd party spend, because every category is different in it’s technical nature and features, it’s different in the data structure from the PLM-side and it’s different from the external data that are relevant in this category. But having now already more than € 780 Mio. spend in our platform in over 100 different categories is our competitive edge!

What do you think about the next period of time, keeping in mind the pandemic and the new business climate? How will your industry be affected?

In Software-as-aService we see a lot of positive influence from the pandemic and the high uncertainty in supply chains of our customer. The pandemic is pushing software in general, because you need to give your people the right tools for their work wherever they are 24/7.

And an uncertain business climate increases the demand for better data to support faster decision making significantly – and our software is providing this better data.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business

As a software entrepreneur I can only emphasize the huge impact of AI in every aspect of our services. We use already AI in setting up category models and similarity, but we are now going to extend our AI towards fully automated data extraction and automated negotiation.

As every AI-model relies on top data quality, we see that clients rely Valunoo and COVALYZE to do these things better and with higher quality, because no one wants to end in a “shit in – shit out” scenario.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

Since my high school times I love Ukrainian and Russian literature and having read all the “classics” from Dostojevski, Tolstoi and Gogol (the last one is Ukrainian!), I currently read temporary artists like Vladimir Sorokin and Dmitry Glukhovsky. Unfortunately there is quite a number of fascist authors in Russia, but both condemn the brutal attack of Putin on Ukraine and had all their life been in opposition to Putin’s regime. The next author I want to read is Juri Andruchowytch, but first I have to finish Metro 2033 from Glukhovsky, that’s what on my nightstand:-)

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