Founders’ Stories or What the startup life has given and taken away from me - Štěpán Gregor from Hunter Games

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“I’m the type of person who plans his own time, but also the type who has to work on the weekends. So I work when I want, which is actually all the time,” says Štěpán Gregor with a chuckle, in response to a question about the disadvantages of the startup life. He and Luboš Němeček are behind the project Hunter Games, and we spoke with him about what founding his own firm has given and taken away from him in this instalment of our “founders” interview series.

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“When the founder is diligent and puts in effort, he will always reach his goals. It is just a matter of enduring, not letting up, and not worrying too much about what others think    .”

Štěpán Gregor
Co-founder & CFO Hunter Games

#1: What’s is the most important thing – about life in general and about work – that the startup world has taught you?

Dynamicism. It might sound like a cliche, but every day is different. I’ve been in this business for three years and I have yet to experience a single day that was the same as the last.

When I was an employee, I had a tendency to fall into a routine, but the entire time I’ve been running the startup with Luboš has been one dynamic adventure.

#2: What does your average work day look like?

In the morning I take care of emails from clients,  then I go to meetings, and in the afternoon I go the office, where I finish up normal admin stuff and whatever I didn’t finish in the morning.

#3: How do you choose the people that you work with?

Těch kritérií je víc - nejprve rozhodneme podle znalostí a zkušeností, koho pozveme na pohovor, a nakonec mezi námi musí fungovat vzájemná chemie. Musím vědět, že ten člověk zapadne do našeho týmu. Někdy se stává, že se nám někdo zdá fajn, ale nemá potřebné znalosti - nebo naopak.

#4: In what ways do you think startups are different than corporations?

In every way! Startups are faster, more dynamic, and when someone decides something everything comes together quickly. Meanwhile in corporations you have to go to a bunch of meetings, and it’s a very long process before you can do anything.

#5: What was the biggest obstacle or challenge that you have had to overcome with Hunter Games?

We would like to be seen as more than just a platform where you can buy outdoor escapes. We have a much wider scope – our games can help increase interest in education in schools, and with big B2B customers our games work excellently as experiential marketing.

#6: Is there anything that founding and running a startup has “taken away” from your life? 

I’ve got a somewhat ambivalent answer for this one: I’m the type of person who plans his own time, but also the type who has to work on the weekends. So I work when I want, which is actually all the time.

#7: How do you think the Czech startup scene compares to the rest of the world?

There are a lot of people here who have great ideas and are not afraid to follow their dreams. As far as comparing our startup scene to the rest of the world, I really can’t yet, because I don’t have any experience with it. Next time!

#8: Is there anything that works better here than in the rest of the world?

There is a huge number of people here who are technically proficient, and that is, at least in the beginning stages of a startup, a big plus.

#9: Is diversity important in your team? If yes, why?

Yes! 100%. In nature it’s always true that the more diversity there is, the higher the chances of survival.

#10: Do you remember what the initial spark for starting Hunter Games was?

At the beginning we didn’t even plan to build a startup at all, it came about more or less by chance. We created a kind of outdoor battle for our friends, and they really enjoyed it.

A few months later we said that we’d do it again. Then we started getting requests from not only friends, but friends of friends… and that’s how it grew on it’s own. Some time later it occurred to us that this could be a good startup.

#11: What activity / work in running a startup do you enjoy the most?

We get very positive feedback from a lot of our games, people send us videos, and tell us how much they enjoy them. This is what motivates me when I’m having a bad day. It recharges me and gives me the energy to keep going.

#12: On the other hand, is there anything from the startup life that you could do without?

Long and boring meetings, especially the morning ones. They’re seriously a nightmare. (laughs)

#13: What kind of personality traits do you think a person should have to become a successful founder?

As my favorite saying goes “Per aspera, ad astra,” a founder should undoubtedly have infinite enthusiasm and strength to overcome the day-by-day pitfalls that running a startup brings.

When a founder is diligent and puts in effort, he will always reach his goal. It is just a matter of enduring, not letting up, and not worrying too much about what others think.

#14: Do you have any kind of vision or wish for where Hunter Games will be in five years?

We’ve already crossed the borders of the Czech Republic, as we’ve expanded to Germany, England, and most recently to Denmark. My dream is to expand even more. And also for people to realize that Hunger Games is an excellent marketing tool and way to educate, which lives up to the saying “school by game.”

Štěpán Gregor působí jako CFO ve společnosti Hunter Games, kterou založil společně s Lubošem Němečkem. Přes jejich platformu si lze zahrát geolokační hry v Čechách, na Slovensku, v Dánsku i ve Velké Británii. Hunter Games slouží jako volnočasová skupinová zábava s přáteli, firemní teambuilding nebo zážitkový marketing. Před tím, než se vydal do startupových vod, pracoval Štěpán v Londýně jako CFO ve společnosti London Theatre Direct, která je největším prodejcem vstupenek na kulturní akce v Británii. 

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