Written By: Christine Garcia
Sascha Eder is the CEO and co-founder of NewtonX, a technology company that operates in the market research industry. Eder is originally from Germany but moved to the United States in 2014 to pursue a Masters at MIT. After doing so, he worked for McKinsey and Company where he “started seeing pain points in the market research industry, using services like expert calls and surveys as a consultant.” This is ultimately what led him to start his own company in market research.
NewtonX essentially describes itself as an “AI-powered knowledge access platform” where they are able to provide other companies with professionals who can provide specific insights. Having these professionals assist these companies with finding and ultimately providing them with the information they need in order to keep their business running saves them a lot of time and money. However, they can not always easily find these professionals without the use of the middleman, that being NewtonX who helps form these connections. Eder says, “This and the underlying technology that powers this process because we’re doing this for hundreds of companies and thousands of interactions on a monthly basis, is what we call the NewtonX graph.” This graph essentially contains information and access to close to a billion professionals from students to executives. The profiles on these professionals include not only their skills, but also lack thereof in order to connect them with the right companies.
Through this work, NewtonX hopes to accomplish its mission of becoming the leading insights platform for companies in the world, “making the process of getting hard-to-find insights as easy, quick, and cost-efficient as possible.”
When asked what foundational step Eder believes is the most critical in building a strong company, he essentially explains that it is in past experience. He says, “One thing that helped me a lot was that before I jumped into the startup world, I had a job, specifically in this case, at McKinsey, that gave me a strong foundation in the real business world in terms of interacting with clients, or managing an office environment.” While he does acknowledge that there are people who start businesses right after college and succeed, it is a lot easier if the given business owner has some past experience to help direct them on the right path to success. he also notes that in addition to past experience, it is also very beneficial to have strong mentors along the way who have experience within the business world whether they be entrepreneurs or people working within the industry. According to Eder, “they can also drastically increase your chances of success because they just help you much quicker understand the difficulties and different steps required in starting a company.” Although Eder does not have a specific inspiration himself, he does look up to those that are much more successful than he is and sets the bar for their level of success.
Nevertheless, when reflecting on his own attributes, Eder finds that he excels in his sense of resilience and tenacity. He says, “You don’t necessarily need to be the smartest person in the room as an entrepreneur for your company to be successful. What you do need to do is have a lot of stamina and don’t give up, because necessarily things will get tough.” He notes that this is especially true when you first start out as everything is slow and does not come as fast as some may choose to think.
For this reason, he highlights his failures and how common it is to fail in such an industry. He notes that he himself has failed many times over the past five years of running his business, although he notes that his biggest failure came when he began his hiring process. He had yet to establish a guideline that would allow him to pick the right fit. However, it is through this experience that he is now able to not only assess whether or not a potential hire would be the right fit, especially long-term, but he is also able to accept if they are not. He says “it is key to learn from your mistakes and he has been able to do so by acknowledging his mistakes by listing them so that he may not make the same mistakes in the future.
As far as his relationship with the Tech Incubator at Queens College, Eder was able to successfully partner with the Tech Incubator through a program called In2NYC that “allowed universities in the New York area to partner with foreign entrepreneurs.” Through this program, Eder met several talented students that have the potential of possibly being hired. In addition, he was also able to serve as a judge at the Tech Incubator’s Pitchfest which assists startup business owners in working on their pitches and presentations of their businesses.
Ultimately, over the next few years, Eder hopes to grow his company by doubling in size every year. In fact, his company is currently hiring in positions ranging from business and tech roles.
For entrepreneurs who are just starting out, Eder advises to “tap into your resources and identify the resources as much as you can.” He also says to “make sure you hire the best people [and] don’t compromise, especially on the first 10 hires….Make sure you’re excited about every single person because they will carry so much in the beginning of the company that you really need.”
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