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A Day in the Life Interview: Michael Hurnaus from Tractive

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Sony Creative Software Inc.

We are so excited to be joined by Michael Hurnaus from Austrian based startup, Tractive. Tractive has developed a series of innovative wearable devices for pets, and are the forerunners in the development of hardware, gadgets and apps specifically designed for pet owners. Never fear a missing pet again, with Tractive’s GPS pet tracking device, connected to a users smartphone the app allow owners to track their pets in real time ensuring their safety. And with more plans to come this startup is at a really exciting time!

1. First can you tell us a bit about your job?  What does your company do?

Tractive develops wearable devices for pets. The most popular product is a GPS Pet Tracking device that works with a user’s smartphone. Most customers are dog or cat owners that are worried about the whereabouts of their beloved animal. With Tractive, pet owners can track the location of their pet in live at any point in time, and get an alarm if the pet leaves a certain area (e.g. backyard).

In my role as CEO and Co-Founder I am in charge of product development, planning, business development, sales, marketing and more. However, for most areas I have fantastic team leads and employees that do a great job abstracting me from details, allowing me to ‘steer the ship’.

2. What brought you to this area?

Back in 2012 we were looking for a lost dog together with friends in Silicon Valley. After a few hours of searching we found the dog, but were surprised to learn that there wasn’t a product that could help avoid a situation like this. I talked to a few friends about this and thought, we might as well found the company that creates this product. This is how it started.

3.  What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?

My day starts between 6:00 am and 6:40 am, depending on whether my 2 year old son wants to get up early. I try to get to the office quickly to have some productive time before the entire team is in the office. I don’t have the same structure everyday, but try to start each day by setting my agenda and defining some day goals for myself. I leave work typically between 5:30pm and 6:30pm to also get to spend some time with my son or to go running.

4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?

We are constantly working on improving the existing product, the user experience of our apps and increase customer satisfaction. Currently we are working on the next 2 generations of our GPS tracking products, that will be fantastic for our customers.

5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?

The fact, that we started with an idea and launched a working product very quickly, makes our team very proud. The fact that we have a lot of customers provide feedback about Tractive helping them find a missing dog, is rewarding everyday. I don’t think there is one single achievement, I think it is the sum of all the ‘little’ achievements we had over the course of the last 3 years.

6. What is the one app you could not live without?

Runtastic. I try to go running 3-5 times a week to free up my mind. Could not do it without this app

7. What’s the best thing about working at your company?

That every employee makes a difference and every employee still significantly impacts the success of the business. We would not be where we are today, without a dedicated team.                            

8. Where is the after work hangout?

The bike trail next to the Danube river, which is where I do my after work runs.

9. Who is your professional role model?

I had the opportunity to work alongside Jeff Bezos in a few meetings. He is very smart and has done a lot of things right. I like that he is a long-term thinker.

Else than that, Elon Musk – This guy is a pretty genius visionary.

10. What makes Pasching/Linz a good city for startups?

Access to great talent is probably one of the most important things for us.

11. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?

1) Culture fit. We would not hire people that do not fit our company culture. More often than not, this is something we recognize in a few minutes during the interview

2) Passion. Employees with passion for their job are the best employees.

3) Experience. Not necessarily work experience, but things like side projects or other projects where the employee did something, he or she did not have to do. (Which comes back to passion…)

12. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?

Start with the right team, covering multiple areas of expertise (product, finance, marketing, tech…).

 

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