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Founder Series: How to motivate startup employees and keep them engaged?

Being able to motivate your team of employees is one of the key aspects for success of any company. Motivated employees are ready to go the extra mile and contribute with ideas and solutions. Especially if you’re a startup, because startups need to work harder to hack the right business model and support growth. Yet, motivating employees during crunch-time with limited resources can be challenging. We asked the founders from our portfolio companies to share their experience on the topic.

So, how do you motivate your employees and keep them engaged? 


Marko Gaćeša, former CEO of drytools and CTO of Alchemy.cloud


We are a very small, but strong, team of 8. We are like family, very transparent and open to each other. Our mission is very clear to the whole team: We help developers get their job done faster. I make sure every day that we are on that track.

We motivate our team by showing that everything we do impacts our customers. All members of our team are exposed to customers and that is the biggest motivation for the whole team. – Marko Gaćesa, drytools

Igor Jović, CEO of City Expert


To motivate employees is always a hard thing to achieve. Yet, it extremely important to do so because employees are running the company above everything else. It is even harder when you are startup. It is important to understand that employees do not see the same vision as the Founders do. Therefore it is the founders’ job to pass the greatness of the idea and the vision to all employees. They need to see the company not as it is at the moment but what will become. They need to see how big it will be and just how much it will impact people and the market.

It is important to keep employees updated on companies achievements and results. To share the excitement with them when the company has a big monthly growth or just landed a big contract. Employees in the startup, especially the very young ones, are fully aware of the fact that it is startup. They also know that at the beginning salaries are not as high and they need to work much more due to lack of resources. Founders must be aware of the fact that employees work for salary, they are not the owners of the company so they expect that their salaries go up just as the company goes up.

As the company grows and there are more and more employees, it gets harder and harder to keep everything together. This is where middle management comes in as most important, since it would be impossible to run, control, and motivate 50+ employees without them. One last thing that our employees highly appreciate and keeps them motivated is organizing company events. There employees can enjoy and bond with coworkers in a casual way without the every day stress of work. – Igor Jović, City Expert

Matija Žulj, CEO of Agrivi

Matija_Zulj_AgriviCEO (1)

I look at employee satisfaction and motivation from several aspects. First, we are working on solving one of the most important global issues and one side of the employee motivation comes from their will and ambition to participate in making the world a better place to live.

Second, our employee strategy is quality, not quantity of people. Therefore we always dedicate enough time for recruiting to identify the top people that fit into our team and share our values.

Third, having top people means that we need to ensure enough space for their creativity, personal development, allowing them to take responsibility and giving them credentials for the great job done. And last, but not the most important aspect, is the compensation package that needs to be motivational and attractive, otherwise, top people will be recruited from other companies since they can always work anywhere. – Matija Žulj, Agrivi