AI company named for Čapek's robot aims to put Czech Republic on global startup map

Rossum AI is on a mission to free businesses from manual data entry – and it's seeking new talent to scale its expansion.

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 12.04.2021 11:16 (updated on 13.04.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

In 2017, three doctoral students of artificial intelligence from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University developed technology that could teach computers to read documents the way humans do.

Built by Tomáš Gogár, Petr Baudiš and Tomáš Tunys, Rossum (the name comes from Czech writer Karel Čapek’s play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”) is capable of extracting data six times faster than the human rate. Last year alone it managed to save companies across a number of sectors over one billion keystrokes, the equivalent of 150 years of human labor.

Today, the company automates document communication for customers on five continents and a client roster that includes Siemens, Bosch, Cushman & Wakefield, Veolia, and, here in the Czech Republic, Alza, Kofola, and Mattoni.

After tripling its revenue in 2020, Rossum plans to further its expansion efforts over the next several years. And it's currently seeking local talent to help spread the word about its revolutionary data capture product on a global scale.

To lead its expansion into new markets, the company has added a key hire from the international startup world as its Chief Revenue Officer. Isaac Buahnik, an American go-to-market expert helped launch several tech unicorns including Wix, SimilarWeb, and Yotpo.

We recently spoke to him about the types of candidates he's looking for as Rossum hires for a number of new positions, and why the company's technology is poised to be a game-changer for businesses around the world.

What attracted you to this Czech company and its rather ambitious vision?

Rossum has a bold vision to automate all official business to business communication. I was attracted to the disruptive potential, and the huge ambition to solve a very real problem that touches upon any business function or vertical anywhere in the world.

In addition, I love the technical ability, expertise, and know-how of the founders. They’re not only gifted tech visionaries, but they’ve brought an exceptional DNA to a team which is extremely talented, hardworking, and humble. The diversity among colleagues makes Rossum pretty unique, with staff from over 27 different nationalities and women making up 50 percent of our leadership team.

What are some of the unique challenges you face in this new role?

Putting the Czech Republic on the global startup map is a huge task. The ecosystem and infrastructure to develop fast-growing tech companies isn’t as developed as it is in other cities such as San Francisco, Tel Aviv, or Berlin. Nonetheless, disruptive companies such as Rossum are changing the narrative. Our founders’ intention to grow the company locally with pride and to share and sell Czech tech on a global scale is a big deal. We are nurturing the local startup ecosystem, with the ambition to showcase Prague as a hotbed for tech that can not only deliver innovation, but also cater to a global market.

Having worked with previous companies which were also considered the “underdog” on the global spectrum, I know this can be done. What’s more, it can be used to our advantage. Of course, there are key challenges such as finding the right talent with the skills and potential to join the company. Since there isn’t a huge startup ecosystem locally, the pool of talent is very limited in comparison to other cities. Finding this talent at the rate of growth which the company is experiencing is our toughest business challenge right now.

Which strategies from other companies you helped scale are you bringing to Rossum?

Building confidence is key. Believing in what you do and believing in yourself is the only way to succeed. Think about Wix, when I joined the company it was a team of 50 or so people and it was unheard of to see an Israeli tech startup creating a B2C product successfully for a global market. Today it's one of the biggest tech stories with a $16 billion market valuation. People are skeptical because they haven’t seen it before, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. 

Changing the mindset of the team, which is used to working in companies where the expectation is linear growth is key. Our 5-10 year business & product roadmap can only be achieved with exponential growth across all disciplines. Creating and executing this growth plan through aggressive go-to market operations is what I hope to achieve for Rossum.

What are you looking for as you seek candidates to join the Rossum team?

I’m looking for people with an X factor. This means a strong desire to grow, ability to adapt, and a real obsession with being the best at whatever they do. Often people I interview spend too much time blowing their trumpet on past achievements. I’m more impressed and inspired by people who show me a vision of what they’d like to achieve in the future. This is especially important for companies like Rossum which create disruptive technologies and a new category altogether. 

Nobody in the team has had previous experience in this space because it didn’t exist. People that join us will dictate how the product is defined, sold, shared, and marketed. It is an exciting challenge but also a huge responsibility that requires out-the-box thinkers and pioneers that can lead and think on their feet.

Which positions are currently open in the company?

In terms of specific roles we’re hiring for at the moment, we’re really expanding our Business Development teams. We're looking for people that have a passion for opening up doors and that are relentless advocates for sharing our vision and value proposition. Rossum works with Fortune 1000 companies in the US and Europe, so business development personnel need to be well-versed in international business relations. Besides that, of course they need to have the hunger and stamina to join a company in hyper-growth, with global talent that is fully committed to experience the ride of a lifetime.

This article was written in cooperation with Rossum. Read more about our sponsored content policy here. If you’re interested in joining Rossum’s Team, feel free to reach out to anyone in the team or apply through Rossum’s site.

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