Seedback: The Viennese startup promises a great feedback culture

“Opinion is the breakfast of champions” is a well-known and relatively hackneyed quote by American management expert Ken Blanchard. Of course, it is true despite its triviality – and has not been implemented successfully everywhere. On the contrary, Gabriel Heiml, founder of Viennese startup Seedbag, says: “Companies are often proud of their corporate culture on PowerPoint slides or written somewhere. But the reality often looks different. It frustrates both employees and managers.

“How to make feedback training more sustainable?”

Efforts are being made to develop a feedback culture. “Companies pay a lot for feedback training. After a few weeks, employees and managers usually revert to their old patterns and the investment is wasted. So the starting point for us was the question: How can we make such training more sustainable?” says Heiml.

Give and receive feedback

Seedpack developed a software solution for this purpose. “Like employee surveys, it’s important that feedback isn’t one-sided. Everyone involved gives and receives regular feedback, and their development can be followed,” explains Heiml. It occurs between managers and employees, and among employees. In addition, everyone involved receives a “toolkit” with exercises so that they can take appropriate actions based on the results.

Seatback has a money back guarantee

The questions in the seatback tool are individually tailored to the organization’s cultural goals and designed to question actual behavior. “In other culture tools, abstract questions are often asked. We avoid this to find out if the culture is not only desired, but actually lived,” says the founder. The results are not only published separately, but aggregated as “Culture Monitoring” – Seedbag’s USP, Heiml emphasizes. To underline its claim for sustainable change, Seatback also offers a money-back guarantee.

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Another important point is anonymity, says Heiml: “Well, a lot of layoffs happen by managers. But they usually don’t notice. Employees say, ‘I want to change myself’ to avoid an unpleasant conversation. Anonymity brings honest feedback – “and you can react to it in good time before it’s too late.”

Not just software

However, the software tool is only part of the Seatback offering. “Initially, we wanted to rely solely on software because of scalability, but we quickly realized that wasn’t enough,” says Heiml. So clients initially receive a half-day kickoff feedback training and then a quarterly check. This non-software segment, which currently accounts for about 20 percent of total output, is already being partially taken over by stakeholders, and will increasingly so in the future.

A seatback reference customer is the Umdasch Group with more than 8,000 employees

On the customer side, the startup, which officially launched the first FlexCo earlier this year, already has some strong credentials. One of them is the Umdash Group, which has over 8,000 employees, including its subsidiary Doga. “They started a culture development process for the whole team and since the middle of last year have been using SeaPac as a tool so that it becomes part of their practice,” says Heiml.

Fixed prices instead of a subscription model – so completely self-funded

Although working with the Seedbag tool is an ongoing process, the startup’s business model does not rely on a multi-monthly subscription model, but rather on fixed packages or package pricing. And — as the reference points out — successfully. So far the company has been entirely self-financed and should remain so. “We want natural, organic growth, not looking for exits,” says Heiml.

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Seatback wants to engage employees

A FlexCo is still a valid legal form, offering advantages regarding the transfer of shares compared to a GmbH. “We want to engage the workforce to provide economic incentives to talented and motivated individuals,” explains the founder. In addition, the new legal form represents a process of change. “I firmly believe that the business space needs advancements and changes. We want to innovate not only in our tools, but also in the conditions of the structure,” says Heiml.