Why this Melbourne startup founder is on the hunt for an apprentice

The most important things Brosa co-founder Ivan Lim learned about running a startup didn’t come from his university course.

It was a three-month founder’s apprentice program with Tweaky’s Ned Dwyer where he discovered what it took to run a startup, and gained the passion for creating one of his own.

“Going through my university degree was helpful but the thing that really crafted me as an entrepreneur was what I learned from that program,” Lim tells StartupSmart.

“Seeing the ups and downs, the decisions made on a day-to-day basis about growing a startup – it was about moving forward while things were breaking.

“A lot of the things we do in startup land don’t really get taught to you, you don’t know what you actually have to do.”

Nearly four years later, Lim is now running his own fast-growing startup – Melbourne-based furniture marketplace Brosa – and he wants to pay it forward.

The startup, which now has a 25-person team and 2000 listen products, is now on the hunt for its own founder’s apprentice, who will work closely with Lim and the other co-founders to help build the business and learn what it takes to run a startup.

A win-win

For Lim, it’s good for his startup and a chance to offer the same opportunity that shaped his career to another lucky entrepreneur.

“It’s a win for us because we’re always looking for good people, and it’s a win for them because that individual gets to learn a tremendous amount about the inner-workings of a high-growth startup,” Lim says.

“It’ll be a lot of learning by doing. I’m a big believer in tight feedback loops for our core team members. We’re talking regularly and we look to resolve things straight away.”

The apprenticeship will be six-months of full-time, paid work. At the end of the program the apprentice will have the option of leaving to pursue their own startup, or staying on with Brosa.

Lim himself decided to stay on for another two years at Tweakly before ultimately leaving to launch Brosa.

“The future of the ecosystem is about getting more founders and better founders,” he says.

A diverse range of hopeful applicants

Lim says they’ve already receive hundreds of applications for the position from a diverse group of people.

“We’ve had people who are consultants and corporate types who want to move into startups and people working in marketing and business development,” he says.

“We want a good indication in their history that they have operational expertise, an ability to get things done and an ability to lead – these are attributes that make good founders.

“But ultimately I’m looking for a real hunger to learn. That’s a big part of our culture – we’re a team of really hungry people. We’re hungry to build a company we can be proud of.”

The startup is hoping to pick the apprentice as soon as possible, but Lim says they won’t be rushing the selection process.

Brosa has enjoyed rapid growth since securing a $2 million investment from AirTree Ventures mid-way through last year, and Lim says they place to double the amount of listed products this year and continue to expand around Australia and the world.

If you want to be a part of it, you can apply for the Brosa founder’s apprentice program here.


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