Mariana Cordero and the team at Hügga want to eliminate the transactional nature of online platforms that match employees with companies.
“The platforms available are transactional,” she said. “I need ‘A’ tech skill and you have ‘A’ tech skill. On the contrary, we provide compatibility and chemistry as human beings—a real fit.”
The Hügga team is launching a “holistic team builder platform” to match tech workers with companies. But no one is waiting for day one. As Mariana described it, the Hügga solution begins on “Day Zero.”
“Having a great team and the ideal job is extremely complicated,” she said. “Right now, there’s too much blind dating in the job market. We want to save everybody’s time and provide a space where ‘You can get to know them before you meet them.”
The Hügga team is building a career social network for young tech pros seeking to develop a meaningful career aligned with their individuality— rather than mindless job-hopping. The platform combines social and matching network features harnessing AI, for optimizing job suggestions, company culture fit and proposing career paths.
“We are at the early stages of AI,” Mariana said. “For me, it is about harnessing the technology to support human development, integration and well-being. It is what drove us to create Hügga in the first place and will keep driving us to reshape the work landscape as we know it today.”
Hügga is drawing strong interest.
In November 2022, the startup was chosen to participate in the six-month, pre-seed accelerator program at Newchip. In March 2023, Hügga was selected to participate in the Alpha program at Web Summit Río, 2023.
Hügga is also gaining momentum. With more than 300 beta testers on its waiting list, the startup is working toward 10K users by the end of 2023.
“We are creating a space where tech talent can thrive—a way for companies and talent to strike that perfect match, faster and easier,” Mariana said. “It’s like the professional Tinder for the tech industry. But we take the holistic approach by considering all aspects of a person, such as teamwork skills, hard skills, workstyle, personality traits and hobbies.
“This holistic vision within tech may have to do with the fact that I am a female founder with a natural people-oriented mindset—rather than the predominant task-oriented mindset of the tech industry.”
Teamwork is important to Mariana.
“As a sports person myself, I know the importance of being a team player,” she said. “As a professional in the digital industry, I have experienced the difficulties and expenses that come with recruiting and operating teams that don’t have the correct chemistry and dynamics between their members.
“To make things happen, you need a team, and not any team, a great team. As the great Michael Jordan once said, ‘Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.’”
As with many startups, an optimistic outlook for the future follows some challenges.
In 2021-2022, Hügga was creating a B2B tool, focusing on companies as its main users. Then came nearly a year of testing with more than 350 engineers in two companies. All of this led Mariana to have an eye-opening insight—workers resist using new tools that don’t portray their individuality, especially if the placement company retains their personal data.
“That’s when we decided to pivot to a B2C2B, and create a community focused on providing real value to ‘our main asset,’ the people,” she said.
Hügga is working to raise $1M to launch its product; expand its team; expand product development; and initiate a marketing strategy. The startup’s primary focus is to keep refining the user experience, consolidate product market fit and keep growing its waiting list before launching.
“We believe we’re living through a massive shift, with a new
generation of workers thinking differently about work,” Mariana said. “They crave purpose, passion and deep integration. We want to be a part of that, as part of their professional lifecycle.”
Visit hugga.io to learn more.