Mid adult doctor examining his senior patient's chest.

Almost anyone in the business world knows that finding the right talent can be a major challenge for companies, particularly for startups. This is especially true for small, international companies like Acorai, a Swedish startup that specializes in developing medical equipment for hospitals, like for example a non-invasive heart monitor.

Dan Vikström, HR manager at Acorai, shares that the company struggled to find the right specialised academics before discovering Switch to Sweden’s matchmaking tool that helped them connect with highly specialized academic talent in Sweden, more precisely Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellows. However, they have used LinkedIn as their primary recruitment tool, but also rely on their own network and industry conferences to find the right people. 

We tried to recruit specialised academics in other ways, universities and so on, but they usually can’t help us as they are not really involved with this,” he said. “With talents, when it comes to combining their knowledge with what we need, it has been a challenge finding the right expertise.

When asked about the talent needs of his company, Dan Vikström emphasized the importance of experienced individuals in all fields, specifically in product development. Also, the company is always on the lookout for interns and Dan thinks they could be a great help in academic writing and other areas. During February and March 2023, Acorai will be involved in an internship and student project with Lund University through Sustainalink.

Acorai has managed to build a diverse and highly skilled team of 15 full-time workers and a number of consultants and interns. The team is spread out over several locations, with employees in different parts of Sweden, the UK, and others in the US, Spain, and France. This diverse geographic spread allows Acorai to be closer to the market when they launch their products.

All our employees are international and they bring in new ideas and new ways of doing business. We have people from 12 countries now and it’s never been a problem. It has brought more joy than challenges overall.” Dan says.

Dan Vikström, HR manager at Acorai

However, recruiting international talent also comes with its own set of challenges. As a small company much of the hiring is often done by the CEO. With rapid growth, difficulties may arise for CEO’s to take the time to handle all the hiring, interviewing, and other recruitment tasks. To overcome this challenge, Acorai is trying to involve more people in the hiring process and differentiate their roles more as the company grows.

As the business landscape continues to evolve, more companies are recognizing the value of working with international talent. To take advantage of this, Dan thinks companies must adopt an open and flexible approach, particularly if they are a company that works remotely. However, if a company is located in a specific region, there is still much work that can be done to fully utilize the potential of international talent.

PhD students and researchers seeking to increase their chances of being hired by companies in Sweden can also play a role in maximizing the potential of international talent. Dan believes that the key is to become involved in matchmaking. 

“Matchmaking is the biggest factor in increasing the chances of PhD students and researchers getting hired by companies in Sweden,” says Dan. “By connecting with local organizations and networks, they can gain a better understanding of the needs of companies and demonstrate their value as a potential hire.”

Acorai heart monitor device

Through Switch to Sweden’s matchmaking activity that matches companies with Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellows, Acorai had a successful match with postdoc Johannes Gladisch who is now starting his journey in the company.

“When we met Johannes, he had the skills we were looking for. We needed someone from the outside with another view and perspective on things,” states Dan.

Overall, while recruiting talent can be a major challenge for small startups, Acorai’s success in building a diverse, skilled team shows that with the right approach and tools, it is possible to find the right people to help a company grow and succeed.