A Day in the Life Interview: Armin Strbac, Co-founder of Shpock
This week we are thrilled to be joined by Armin Strbac, Co-founder of Shpock, one of Vienna’s most successful startups. Shpock is the most popular shopping app on the app store, selling everything from fashion to furniture and everything in between.
- First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?
My name is Armin Strbac, co-founder and co-CEO of Shpock – the flea market app for beautiful things in your neighbourhood.
Shpock can be seen as the marketplace of a new generation – built by smartphone users for smartphone users since the beginning. Buying & selling pre-used things with Shpock is easy and quick. Items are sorted by your current location, so you can browse through a vast variety of items, discover second-hand treasures or earn some money by selling your things you no longer use. Listing an item with your smartphone has to take 30 seconds, not 10 minutes – free of charge for buyers & sellers.
Since the initial launch in September 2012, Shpock (short for SHop in your POCKet) has reached to top position of the app stores in the UK, Germany, Austria & Italy.
- What brought you to this area?
Back in 2012 we realized that none of the existing online marketplaces was meeting the requirements of the smartphone generation and that’s why we didn’t buy/sell used stuff anymore – this was when the idea of Shpock was born. We got rid of the text based listings older platforms were clinging on and introduced an image-based digital stroll through your second hand neighbourhood. Listing an item with your smartphone has to take 30 seconds, not 10 minutes – free of charge for buyers & sellers.
The concept of an easy and quick mobile way to buy & sell pre-used things turned out to be a success story – within the first month 10.000 people downloaded Shpock. After 11 months we already reached the 1 million user mark. Since then the growth has been uninterrupted. Today more than 10 million second-lovers are using Shpock to buy & sell beautiful things.
- What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
Usually my alarm goes off at 7.30 in the morning. Before getting to work around 9, I’m checking my mails and Slack for important messages. At the office I’m trying to get an overview of the daily schedule – which often changes during the day because of the lively startup life: you regularly have to face challenges, you weren’t aware of before. In this way you learn to stay agile and flexible 🙂
To clear my mind and focus again in between meetings, I like to activate my body. It doesn’t have to be an hour-long session at the gym. Sometimes I’m just doing some pull-ups in our fitness area or play a quick table tennis match.
- What kind of projects are you currently working on?
On a daily basis our whole team (90 people from 25 different nations) is working hard on perfecting the mobile flea market experience for our users. At the same time we are conquering new markets in order to become the number one marketplace solution for the smartphone generation worldwide.
- What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
When we started, we wanted to build the best marketplace for the smartphone generation. Today we are proud to see that more than 10 million secondhand lovers have joined our mobile revolution. Apart from the 100 small things & features in the app which made this possible, there is one main reason for our success: the awesome team behind the app.
- What is the one app you could not live without?
Isn’t that obvious? 😉
- What’s the best thing about working at your company?
Yet again the answer is: our unique team spirit. Although we’re all working hard to deliver an app at a world class level, fun never comes too short at Shpock.
- Where is the after work hangout?
There is not just one place to hang out after work, it’s a large selection. Our new office at the Danube river bank not only invites for an after work swim in summer, it is also just a 5 minute metro ride away from the inner city of Vienna and all its bars, cafés and clubs.
- Who is your professional role model?
Rocky Balboa (see question 12)
- What makes Vienna a good city for startups?
Vienna is located in the middle of Europe which is ideal for attracting talents from the whole continent. The quality of life is outstanding, the city is safe and green. In addition, the startup community is thriving at the moment. There are more and more startups arising, and step by step Vienna is attracting international attention in this area.
- What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
Of course, skills and experience are important but we believe that people can learn everything if they are motivated. That’s why team fit & personality is far more important than mere skills. If you’re eager to make a difference and thirsty for self-improvement then you might want to be part of the Shpock team.
- And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
It’s not my advice but I truly think that Rocky Balboa is right when he says: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” The startup life isn’t easy at all and you have to be prepared to battle many setbacks. That’s why I always compare the startup life to a rollercoaster ride: it goes up and down and up again – often multiple times within a day.