“We see ourselves as somewhere between Tinder and SAP in terms of user experience.”

Vicoland product head András Habsburg-Lothringen explains what the platform offers customers, the future plans and why he joined the Frankfurt-based startup.

András, what exactly does the Vicoland platform do? What are the core functionalities?

The platform enables freelancers to form teams – we call them “Virtual Companies” or Vicos. These Vicos can then implement large enterprise-level projects for companies. The entire process, from project initiation to final payment, runs via the platform. This massively simplifies all processes.

The Vicos appear on the platform like a traditional service provider. How do they organize themselves?

For this purpose, we are looking for so-called Vico Leads. These are experienced freelancers who have often built up expertise and a network in a field, for example software development, over many years. These Vico Leads create a Vico on the platform, enter a few details and build a team through their network. That’s it – the platform automates all the administration from then on, allowing the Vico to act like a traditional service provider: Contracts, invoices, payments, insurance and much more. This allows Vico to focus on what it is good at – its expertise.

What do customers particularly appreciate about the platform?

That they can collaborate about it so easily with a Vico. We see ourselves between Tinder and SAP in terms of user experience – Tinder for customers, if possible, and SAP’s complexity running in the background. The whole thing runs as plug-and-play, customers don’t have to change any processes to integrate a Vico. As a result, our teams can get started with customer projects very quickly – a maximum of 72 hours elapse between customer inquiry and quotation. As a platform, we also have a lot of data that we can provide to customers for reporting purposes. The performance of our Vicos is impressive: they are on avarage 30 percent more cost-efficient than traditional service providers.

How many Vicos are currently organized on the platform?

Around 650, with over 10,000 freelancers in 52 countries. Over 1000 projects for more than 100 clients have already been completed via the platform. 

What new topics are planned for the current year?

A lot! We are constantly focusing on improving the collaboration between customers and Vicos. Just a few keywords: We integrate standardized enterprise-level insurance that covers Vicos to clients worldwide. We enable factoring so that companies with long payment terms can still work with freelancers. In addition, automated worker missclassification checks that minimize compliance risks based on project data. Right now, we’re experimenting with integrating large-language models like ChatGPT into our offer creation tool. This speeds up the creation of complex offers even more, and customers receive their offers even faster as a result. 

The Vicoland platform integrates with vendor management systems such as SAP Fieldglass. Does Vicoland thus complement SAP Fieldglass – or how is the integration to be understood?

Our integration allows Fieldglass users to collaborate with Vicos. This adds a new dimension to Fieldglass that the VMS cannot currently map. The beauty of this is how easy the integration is. Vicoland can simply be created as a supplier, and all we have to do is configure the data exchange points. Therefore, the integration can usually be implemented in one to two weeks. For more details, just stop by our SAP App Store page!

What is your long-term vision for the platform? Where does Vicoland stand in 2030?

We want to transform the professional services market. I’m convinced that Vicos are a much better fit for the demands of today’s way of working than traditional service providers – keyword New Work. Today, the Vicoland platform is focused on the implementation of digital projects, but why not include other areas as well? Why not have a global law firm as Vico?

What is your personal background? You studied in Switzerland, then did your master’s in Scotland.

Exactly. After a traditional business degree in St. Gallen, I ended up doing a computer science master’s degree in Scotland by chance. In retrospect, it was a very fortunate coincidence, as it was there that I discovered my passion for technology, which I still pursue today.

So why do you become head of product at a startup like Vicoland – and not go into industry?

The latter was the plan for a while! But after my master’s degree, I realized that I was much more interested in entrepreneurship. And I wanted to learn how to build a company from an initial idea that generates added value. Coupled with my newly discovered passion for technology, Vicoland was the perfect opportunity to learn as much as possible in this area.

What do you appreciate most about Vicoland?

It gives me exactly what drew me to Vicoland. A very steep learning curve on an important and complex problem that we want to solve with Vicos. A team that is very entrepreneurial and that I can learn from on a daily basis. A straightforward culture in which we do not have to deal with “internal politics”. A new and different challenge every day. And tangible progress – I can see that our commitment is making a difference.

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