Fotograf: Akuo/Press

How we recruit: We pay you to challenge yourself

Hiring great talent is probably the most important challenge we are facing. But how can a small startup compete with giants like Spotify? We hope we have found the answer.

We are growing and looking for new talent and it provides a fresh new challenge: how do you find really smart and hard working people and convince them to work for you for a reasonable salary?

Building awareness about a position the conventional way is costly, with placement ads costing up to 9 000 sek per week. Attending job fairs at universities or the like is out of the question, as they are expensive, too. And we do not have a big name like Google or Spotify. Of course, startups are romanticized and many want to join the scene, but when it comes down to it we ask for hard work and dedication of our employees and pay less than they could earn somewhere else.

The pool from which we want to recruit are people who accept less money now, for more responsibility – and a risky but rewarding perspective. This limitation is bigger than we thought at first – not everybody is a risk-loving visionary and entrepreneur at heart.


Akuo is a company founded by four foreign students at the Stockholm School of Economics. They are members of the SSE Business Lab, sharing offices with other up and coming startups such as Qasa, Vilth and Tankeapoteket. Among the alumni of Business LAB are Klarna and Ung Omsorg. Akuo has developed a tea-based focus drink inspired by eastern traditions and was recently featured in Veckans Affärers list of Sweden's 71 Superstartups

Regularly the team behind Akuo will provide insights and experiences from their lives as entrepreneurs in Stockholm, and shed some light on the peculiarities of Sweden and the Swedish way of doing business.

So, once again, we had to be creative. How do we get the attention of smart people and also get them to send their CV? Offering regular jobs might work but all the noise from other companies might also drown it out. Though we have less money we can still offer something unique and appealing.

Our solution: Offering an internship for people wanting to learn German while getting paid. The catch: They have four weeks to do it. This is not only a fun thing to do, but it is in touch with the spirit of Akuō, namely that you can achieve more than you think, if you focus right. The added benefit for us: If you are drawn to the challenge, we believe you are the right person for us.

We have been hunting for work efficiency every day for the last two years and I really do believe that there is great potential in most people to achieve amazing things if they get their focus up to 100 percent. I can see myself how much I can do in a day if I just eliminate all time-wasters and use yoga and meditation for smart recovery.

So we shot a short film and came up with a detailed plan on how to learn a new language, drawing on our own experience from our successes and failures in learning Swedish. In less than two days we already reached 10 000 people with our videos and ads. I am confident that we will get a talented intern and also find a hidden gem or two in there that we can talk about other positions within Akuō.

The video:

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Under 2019 utmanar Veckans Affärer sina läsare att minska sina affärsresor med flyg med hälften. Chefredaktör Åsa Uhlin håller koll på hur det går med det och sitt eget mål att flyga mindre på bloggen VA:s klimatresa.