Alex Mason is a Co-Founder of Stax. He is an international recruitment expert with 13 years of international experience with tech startups and scale-ups. Having led offices in Munich – Germany, Austin – USA, and London – UK, Alex Co-Founded Stax startup talent experts. A tech startup talent specialist, supporting the hiring strategies for many of Europe’s most innovative startups and incubators.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Alex shared his professional background, the inspiration behind establishing Stax and its mission, significant career milestone, his favorite quote, future plans, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
Alex, what is your background? What led you to starting your own company, and how did you end up in this space?
I have 12 years of international recruitment experience as both a Consultant and Leader across the UK, USA and Europe. I decided I wanted to start my own business to put myself and experience to the ultimate test. I always loved working directly with Founders of innovative Startups so wanted to focus the business on something I felt passionate about.
What is Stax? Tell us about what you do and what your overall mission is. What was the inspiration behind the company name?
Stax are Startup talent experts. We saw a gap in the market where we can offer our experienced guidance around many of the challenges Startup Founders face in the early stages of growth. Many founders have an exceptional product or service but lack the knowledge or experience for effective hiring.
We support Startup Founders directly through headhunting for difficult, high in-demand hires and help them design an exceptional hiring process. We also support some of Europe’s leading startup incubators and investment groups by offering our free ‘Hiring Strategies for Startups’ workshop. This gives us a great opportunity to get an introduction to some fantastic startup founders in the hope that we can support them with headhunting when the opportunity arises. We work with Startups in some of the growth sectors such as Deeptech, AI, Clean-tech and Blockchain.
Our Mission is to be the leading talent service provider for Startups and Incubators across the leading Startup Cities Globally.
For Stax’s name we wanted something that sounds like the tech space we support. It’s a kind of abbreviation for ‘Startup Talent Experts’.
What have been the most challenging moments for you and the company?
Starting a business was always going to be challenging but this is definitely the most challenging market I’ve experienced in my 12 years.
The day before launching the business I found out that my youngest daughter had been diagnosed with a rare cancer which was a curveball I wasn’t expecting! Luckily I had the support of a great Co-Founder who held things together when I needed time supporting my family. She is responding well to treatment and I’ve used this experience to spur me on.
What is one thing about building a business you did not know that you’ve learned so far since launching Stax – Startup Talent Experts?
I don’t think I really appreciated the amount of time you need to spend doing things that aren’t generating income for the company. Now that we’re more established we have set ourselves up to operate more efficiently and utilise our support functions.
What are the top qualities or skills you believe entrepreneurs need in order to be successful? Also, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Adaptability and grit are the most important in my eyes. In this World and with so much competition out there you have to be prepared to work harder than the others to stand out from the crowd. Maximise every opportunity.
If you could have a one-hour meeting with someone famous who is alive, who would it be and why?
Sir Alex Ferguson. He took on a failing club, was almost fired but then implemented his own methods, drive, and expectations to turn the club into winners year after year. It didn’t happen overnight, but he instilled a winning belief and pride in everyone that surrounded him.
How do you keep your mind healthy and stay resilient? And how do you motivate your team?
I exercise frequently and make sure I take plenty of time away from my work. Being a founder is highly addictive but I’ve learned that overworking isn’t healthy for yourself or anyone around you.
I love motivating by leading from the front. I have been an armchair leader before (not by choice) and hated every minute.
What is your favorite quote?
I saw this recently and it really resonated with me:
“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” ― Mandy Hale
What is one accomplishment you’re proud of?
Taking the leap to start my own business and seeing it succeed is the thing I am most proud of.
What drives you? How do you measure personal success?
Continuous improvement drives me. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved in our first year but there’s so much more I want to do.
The health and happiness of myself and my family are the only things that I truly measure. Everything else is just my ego.
What do you think 2024 will have in store for Stax?
We plan to hire experienced staff across the EU to continue our growth and the support of more regions in leading Startup cities.