Josef Šachta is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sharry, a workplace experience platform around digital employee badges. Before founding Sharry, he started CityBee, a leisure and lifestyle portal bringing people news about events in Prague, Czech Republic. Josef’s passion is communication in all forms which connects to Sharry as the platform bridges communication between a building and the people inside it.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I had a great childhood because my parents were always my closest friends. I was born in Prague but when I was 6 years old I moved to the small town of Rožmitál pod Třemšínem with my mom. I loved creating content, I wrote short stories and poems. I was running several school magazines. My favorite sport was football, so I spent a lot of time on the ground. I also played with Lego quite often, mostly with my best friend Michal whom I have known since I was 2 years old. And now, we have a business together.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
My very first business was a family restaurant I was responsible for since I was 17. It was in a very small village in the beautiful countryside and it was a great experience. I was a waiter, barman, cleaner, and manager all at once. After university and one year of traveling, I launched our first project together with Michal – a website about events in Prague, CityBee. We also participated in the project Apus Relax, manufacturing travel pillows for long flights. Both projects are still running, but we always wanted to run a global business. So in 2016, we decided with two other friends to launch Sharry – a workplace experience platform around digital employee badges. Our solution provides mobile access with Apple Wallet support, smart parking, hybrid work, visitor management, and employee engagement. We have been very fortunate to work with some great global partners, the result of which is more than 40,000,000 sq. ft. being powered by our software. This includes the iconic One Vanderbilt high-rise in Manhattan and the 167 Green Street multi-tenant office building in Chicago which is the first office building in the United States to offer all tenants building-wide access with a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch. We are also working closely with office buildings in England, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, South America, Belgium, Switzerland, and more to come. And in addition to that, we are talking with enterprises with a global presence to provide them with a solution that will redefine the workplace experience for their employees in the post-pandemic world.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
There are multiple lessons to be learned. Always validate the product with many customers first, don’t rely only on one or two. This means starting with very active sales and product development should follow. Another piece of advice is to hire really smart people to lead the teams, founders should feel that you can learn from them. And the last one is prioritization. I believe that is a critical skill for success in any entrepreneurship.