Startup Notes
From Scratch 07 | David Okuniev teaches how to build a product that users love

From Scratch 07 | David Okuniev teaches how to build a product that users love

February 13, 2019

In our seventh #FromScratch masterclass, David Okuniev taught our audience how to build a product that users love.

David is Co-Founder of Typeform. Based in Barcelona, the startup is making the filling in of forms and surveys awesome by helping users to collect data in a conversational way. A passionate creative and musician, David is a full-fledged product designer specialized in UI & UX design. As technical director for the product, he focuses on further developing the successful SaaS platform. Typeform has raised more than $50M in funding from investors like Index Ventures since it was founded in 2011.

In this episode, David and moderator Christian Miele (Partner at e.ventures) elaborate on the approach of designing for a „human experience“ (HX), the right data for assessing your product-market fit, and how to align your team to deliver a product that customers build an emotional relationship with.

Dmitri Uvarovski on how to innovate in traditional industries

Dmitri Uvarovski on how to innovate in traditional industries

January 31, 2019

Dmitri Uvarovski is Co-Founder & CMO at Homeday. Started in 2014, the Cologne-based startup is on a mission to revolutionize the way people sell and buy property. With its platform, Homeday offers data-driven pairing between real estate agents and private property owners to ensure a more transparent, efficient and overall smoother experience for all parties involved. Supported by prominent VCs like Project A Ventures, Paua Ventures, Picus Capital and Axel Springer Digital Ventures, the company has raised more than 20m€ in funding so far.

In this episode, Dmitri shares his insights on how he and his team are changing the way people buy and sell properties, the challenges, and opportunities that he sees in the real estate sector, and the role of legislation for enabling innovation.

Tobias Tschötsch on how he achieved his $100m+ exit with Contorion

Tobias Tschötsch on how he achieved his $100m+ exit with Contorion

January 16, 2019

Tobias Tschötsch is Founder & Managing Director of Contorion. The Berlin-based startup offers a B2B online marketplace for maintenance, repair and operations products. Started in 2014 with the help of investor Project A Ventures, Contorion exited only 3 years later in a presumed $100m+ acquisition to high-quality tool producer Hoffmann Group. Previously, Tobias was Co-Founder & COO of Groupon UK.

In this episode, Tobias shares his insights on how to successfully make an exit with your company. Among others, we discuss exit strategy, how to make a deal, and founders' incentivisation.

Susann Hoffmann on how to foster female entrepreneurship

Susann Hoffmann on how to foster female entrepreneurship

December 21, 2018

Susann Hoffmann is Co-Founder of EDITION F, the first business-lifestyle platform for career-interested women in Germany. Started by Susann and Nora-Vanessa Wohlert in 2014, EDITION F has grown into a community-focused platform with 600,000 unique users per month that provides women with the insights, tools and network they need to grow both professionally and personally.

In this episode, we talk to Susann about her journey with EDITION F, the differences between men and women when it comes to building companies, the challenges for women to balance family and career, and how to foster female entrepreneurship.

Daniel Krauss on building FlixBus and the key to outpacing your competition

Daniel Krauss on building FlixBus and the key to outpacing your competition

December 12, 2018

Daniel Krauss is Co-Founder & CIO of FlixBus, which is one of Europes's biggest recent startup success stories. After starting operations in 2013, FlixBus has quickly established itself as Europe’s largest intercity bus network provider that offers an affordable, alternative, and green way to travel. The startup recently entered the US market and started to also offer travel options via FlixTrain. FlixBus has raised several funding rounds from leading VCs like Silver Lake Partners, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and General Atlantic.

Before founding the company in 2011, Daniel worked in different roles at e.g. Siemens and Microsoft. He is also active as a Business Angel, including an investment into klarx.

In this episode, Daniel shares the story of FlixBus' success and explains how to put your customers first, use your data the right way, and grow faster than your competition.

Sophie Chung on why Germany is behind in digital health

Sophie Chung on why Germany is behind in digital health

November 29, 2018

Dr. Sophie Chung is Founder & CEO of Qunomedical, a digital health platform that provides its clients access to affordable high-quality healthcare worldwide. With Qunomedical, patients can e.g. find information about procedures, doctors, hospitals, pricing, and destinations. Among others, users can obtain quotes from the hospital of their choice directly through the platform. Based in Berlin, the startup has raised around 2m€ in funding from top-notch VCs like Project A Ventures, 500 Startups and Kima Ventures since it was founded in 2015.

In this episode, we discuss with Sophie why healthcare is lacking innovation compared to other industries, the opportunities that exist for entrepreneurs, and how better legislation can foster the digital transformation of healthcare.

Jörg Rheinboldt on how to pick winners

Jörg Rheinboldt on how to pick winners

November 14, 2018

Jörg Rheinboldt is a legendary serial tech entrepreneur and investor that has played an integral part in setting up and financing some of Germany's most successful online companies, such as Alando.de (which was acquired by eBay only six months after launch) and N26. He also founded non-profit betterplace.org, which makes donations possible for various causes. Today, he continues to help building companies and making things happen in his role as founding CEO of APX (an accelerator by Axel Springer and Porsche).

In this episode, Jörg shares his extensive experience of over 20 years in the digital tech scene. Among others, we discuss what it takes to turn a dream into a successful company by delivering solutions that people actually want and need.

From Scratch 06 | Florian Heinemann teaches how to acquire first users and build a marketing machine

From Scratch 06 | Florian Heinemann teaches how to acquire first users and build a marketing machine

October 30, 2018

In our sixth #FromScratch masterclass, Florian Heinemann taught our audience how to acquire first users and build a marketing machine when starting a company.

Florian is Europe’s number one online marketing expert. Since 2012, he is a Founding Partner of the operational VC firm Project A Ventures. Prior, he was Managing Director of Rocket Internet. In this role, he was instrumental in building Zalando, Global Fashion Group, and eDarling. Before joining Rocket, Florian co-founded several startups and exited two of them (i.e. to Amazon). Florian has been a business angel and founding investor in close to 100 startups including Trivago, Zalando, Home24, CityDeal, Audibene, Affinitas/eDarling, ClassPass, AdScale, Mimi, Bitbond and Movinga.

In this episode, Florian elaborates together with moderator Christian Miele (eventures), on how to understand who your key customers are and tailor your product around them. He explains why it is key to start collecting business analytics data from day one and find the right approach between quantitative and qualitative marketing.

Felix van de Sand on best-practices and common mistakes in UX design

Felix van de Sand on best-practices and common mistakes in UX design

October 22, 2018

Felix van de Sand is Co-Founder of COBE, a digital agency focused on UX design. COBE provides a variety of services to its clients, ranging from design thinking to coding. Mobile and web app development agency COBE.tech also belongs to the group as well as popular Fantasy Football Manager Kickbase, which was initially only built as a design project but ended up becoming one of Germany's most popular apps among football fans.

In this episode, we discuss with Felix best practices and common mistakes in UX design. We will especially look into how to design an outstanding UX for startup success.

Ralf Wenzel on the key elements of B2B sales

Ralf Wenzel on the key elements of B2B sales

October 10, 2018

Ralf Wenzel knows how to build successful digital ventures inside out. As CSO of Delivery Hero, he is responsible for the strategic growth of the Berlin-based tech company that IPO'ed in 2017. He also stil serves as CEO of Foodpanda (sold to Delivery Hero in 2016), an international online food delivery marketplace, and worked in leading senior positions at Skrill and Jamba. Ralf is also active as an angel investor.

In this episode, we are exploring the key elements of B2B sales with Ralf. We will discuss the importance of building scale for international growth, the value of networking, and why you first have to invest in various ways to conduct B2B sales successfully.

From Scratch 05 | Gloria Baeuerlein & Christian Vollmann teach how to raise money

From Scratch 05 | Gloria Baeuerlein & Christian Vollmann teach how to raise money

September 26, 2018

In our fifth #FromScratch masterclass, Gloria Baeuerlein and Christian Vollmann taught our audience how to raise money.

Working as a Principal at Index Ventures in London, Gloria knows the VC industry inside out. In her role, she primarily focuses on growth stage investments across all sectors in Europe and Australia.

Being one of Germany’s most influential entrepreneurs, Christian Vollmann (CEO of nebenan.de) also invests in other founders' companies. By now, he has been involved in more than 70 startups like eDarling, trivago, StudiVZ and Researchgate. In 2017, he was voted as the German „Business Angel of the Year".

In this week's episode, recorded during our fifth #FromScratch masterclass, Gloria and Christian take a deep dive into raising capital for startups. Together with moderator Christian Miele (Partner at e.ventures), the two elaborate on techniques to determine the amount of money needed, how to structure the fundraising process, and the best practices and tactics to find and convince the right investors.

Melikshah Ünver on recruiting top talent for high-growth startups

Melikshah Ünver on recruiting top talent for high-growth startups

September 12, 2018

Melikshah Ünver is the CEO and Co-Founder of Taledo, a curated online recruiting platform that connects top 10% talents with the best open positions in Germany's digital startup ecosystem.

After working as a consultant and heading the Group Development sector of well-known HitFox Group in Berlin, Melikshah and his co-founders wanted to start their own venture and founded Taledo to help ambitious professionals find digital roles at market-leading companies.

In this episode, we are discussing Taledo's approach of matching applicants with the right employers, the state of the art of recruiting for startups, and the needs of ambitious talents today.

Jens Woloszczak and Karl Sponholz on internationalization and product best-practices

Jens Woloszczak and Karl Sponholz on internationalization and product best-practices

August 22, 2018

Jens Woloszczak (CEO) and Karl Sponholz (COO) are heading one of Germany’s most exciting FinTechs: Spotcap. Based in Berlin, the startup offers access to flexible finance and operates as a direct lender to small and medium-sized companies in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Backed by investors like Rocket Internet and Holtzbrinck Ventures, the company has raised more than 100m USD in funding so far and continues to grow quickly.

In this episode, we discuss with Jens and Karl challenges and best practices for internationalization, how to build a product that users love, and why it is important to fail fast.

From Scratch 04 | Valentin Stalf teaches how to build an outstanding MVP

From Scratch 04 | Valentin Stalf teaches how to build an outstanding MVP

August 8, 2018

Valentin Stalf is Co-Founder & CEO of N26. Over the past five years, he has become one of the world’s most influential founders in FinTech by building one of the fastest growing challenger banks in Europe. Today, N26 has 1 million customers in 17 countries. Having raised a total of $215 million over the years, Valentin is on a mission to bring modern personal banking to users around the world.

In this episode, recorded at our fourth "From Scratch" masterclass, Christian Miele (Partner at e.ventures) and Valentin discuss how to balance gut feeling vs. data analysis when building an MVP, the importance of building an "MLP", and how N26 itself was the outcome of a big pivot.

Pawel Chudzinski on how to raise money from early-stage investors

Pawel Chudzinski on how to raise money from early-stage investors

July 25, 2018

Pawel Chudzinski belongs to the most renowned VCs in Germany and Europe. Working and living in Berlin, he is Co-Founder of early-stage venture capital firm Point Nine Capital. The firm is focused on early-stage investments related to SaaS and digital marketplaces. Startups like Revolut, Typeform, and Delivery Hero belong to its portfolio.

In this episode, we are talking to Pawel about best practices on how to raise early-stage funding, stand out among the startups that ask for investments, and what the ideal relationship between VCs and founders should be like.

Full list of topics that we discussed with early stage investor Pawel Chudzinski:

[00:48 - 03:56] Introduction of Pawel and his professional background

[03:57 - 09:15] The ‚secret sauce‘ behind the success of Point Nine Capital

[09:16 - 11:33] On the right timing for raising funding at an early stage

[11:34 - 13:57] How to find the right balance between bootstrapping and raising VC money

[13:58 - 16:20] Point Nine Capital’s criteria when evaluating investment opportunities

[16:21 - 18:45] How Point Nine Capital assesses startups with B2B/B2C products

[18:46 - 21:15] On the importance and best practices of a good pitch deck

[21:16 - 26:15] How to balance honesty and over-selling your startup when pitching

[26:16 - 29:12] How to stand out among all the startups that are seeking funding

[29:13 - 31:46] Why the valuation of startups is very subjective

[31:47 - 35:00] What to be aware of regarding liquidation preferences

[35:01 - 37:45] How to choose the right VC as a founder

[37:46 - 39:29] Open positions at Point Nine Capital and its portfolio companies

From Scratch 03 | Uwe Horstmann deconstructs the traits of great founding teams

From Scratch 03 | Uwe Horstmann deconstructs the traits of great founding teams

July 11, 2018

Uwe Horstmann is one of the people that truly stand out in the Berlin startup scene. Only in his early 30’s, he has been Managing Director at Rocket Internet in the past and started his own VC firm that follows a special approach - Project A Ventures does not only invest into startups but also supports them operationally with its own team of experts. Uwe knows what qualities to look for in founding teams to increase the chances of making it to the top.

In this episode, recorded at our third "From Scratch" masterclass, Uwe and moderator Christian Miele (Partner at e.ventures) take a deep dive into the underlying elements of startup success with a special focus on the traits of founders that accomplish great things together.

 

„From Scratch“ is an exclusive series of masterclasses organized by Startup Notes in association with Digital McKinsey. It brings together Europe's top entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders to give their personal insights on becoming digital winners. The lectures are presented by Business Punk.

From Scratch 02 | Fabian Heilemann reveals the secret behind great business ideas

From Scratch 02 | Fabian Heilemann reveals the secret behind great business ideas

June 28, 2018

Dr. Fabian Heilemann rose into the spotlight of the European startup scene after founding DailyDeal together with his brother Ferry. In 2011, they sold the company to Google for $114m. Later, they went on to found FreightHub, which recently raised $23m. Currently, Dr. Fabian Heilemann serves as Partner at renown VC firm Earlybird.

In this second lecture of “From Scratch”, our moderator, Christian Miele (Principal at e.Ventures), and Fabian listed the criteria of great business ideas, explained how to identify them in a structured way, and outlined which future trends are offering business opportunities for future entrepreneurs.

„From Scratch“ is an exclusive series of masterclasses organized by Startup Notes in association with Digital McKinsey. It brings together Europe's top entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders to give their personal insights on becoming digital winners. The lectures are presented by Business Punk.

Charles von Abercron on launching and managing high-growth companies

Charles von Abercron on launching and managing high-growth companies

June 16, 2018

Charles von Abercron is the Founder & former CEO of GLOSSYBOX. Started in 2011, GLOSSYBOX is an online subscription service that delivers high-end beauty products directly to its users’ doorstep. Founded by Charles with the backing of Rocket Internet, the startup was successfully sold to The Hut Group in 2017. Having been been responsible for all of the company's operations, including brand management, strategy development and marketing concepts, Charles successfully developed GLOSSYBOX into an international role-model business for subscription commerce and led the startup until 2015. Prior, he was Vice President for International Online Marketing at Groupon International. In this episode, we talk to Charles about the importance of timing when starting a company, the particularities of the beauty industry and advice for increasing one’s personal productivity as a founder.

Finn Age Hänsel on great management and how to get through hard times

Finn Age Hänsel on great management and how to get through hard times

May 10, 2018

Finn Age Hänsel is one of the most notable personalities in the German startup scene. Based in Berlin, he is Managing Director of Movinga - an online startup that was founded with the ambition to globally disrupt the moving services industry and is backed by renowned investors like Earlybird Venture Capital, Index Ventures and Global Founders Capital.

Before joining Movinga in 2015 and turning the struggling high-growth startup around, Finn was MD of EPIC Companies (a company builder). Prior, he made a name for himself as Co-Founder of THE ICONIC (Australia’s biggest online fashion retailer), which he built up for tech powerhouse Rocket Internet in Sydney. Since 2013, Finn is also Co-Founder of a craft beer brewery called „Berliner Berg“.

In this episode, we are discussing with Finn the different phases of a startup’s lifecycle, how to manage a turnaround when your company is struggling, and why founders should not focus too much on their competitors.

This is the full list of topics that we discussed with turnaround expert Finn Age Hänsel:

[00:37 – 05:21] Introduction of Finn and his professional background

[05:22 – 08:07] Finn’s recommendation on working in consulting before becoming an entrepreneur

[08:08 – 11:02] Why the moving services industry is one of the most exciting ones for Finn

[11:03 – 16:15] On managing the turnaround of a struggling startup

[16:16 – 21:05] How to find the right balance between growth and building a robust organization

[21:06 – 24:47] How Finn managed the turnaround of Movinga

[24:48 – 29:18] On the partial takeover of Move24 after it folded

[29:19 – 35:00] Why founders shouldn’t focus too much on their competitors

[35:01 – 37:22] Finn’s best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs

[37:23 – 39:32] Recruitment opportunities at Movinga

From Scratch 01 | Christoph Gerber demystifies entrepreneurship

From Scratch 01 | Christoph Gerber demystifies entrepreneurship

April 29, 2018

Christoph Gerber belongs to Germany's best-known tech entrepreneurs. Back in 2009, he started Lieferando — one of the first online food delivery startups in Germany. In 2014, Christoph and his co-founders sold the company for €62.9M to the Dutch Takeaway.com Group, which went public only two years later for a valuation of almost €1B. Only shortly after selling Lieferando, Christoph already started from scratch again by founding Talon.One - a SaaS company with a powerful API that enables businesses to create, manage and analyze promotional marketing campaigns.

On 27 March 2018, Startup Notes hosted the first event of its new „From Scratch“ masterclass series on digital entrepreneurship in collaboration with Digital McKinsey. Hosted at the McKinsey Experience Studio in Berlin, moderator Christian Miele (Principal at e.ventures) and Christoph Gerber together took a deep dive behind the scenes of the often glorified tech world.

In this episode that was recorded at the event, Christoph demystifies entrepreneurship by sharing insights on how he started Lieferando and takes a sweeping swipe at what he calls „Rocketpreneurs“ (life-style entrepreneurs) who either found a company just for the fame or the money. He discusses good and bad reasons to start a company as well as how important it is to take breaks. This episode is brought to with the support of Business Punk.

Chanyu Xu on trends and success factors in the foodtech space

Chanyu Xu on trends and success factors in the foodtech space

April 11, 2018

Chanyu Xu is a seasoned entrepreneur from Berlin. After co-founding several food startups like EAT ÜBER and Eating with the Chefs (backed by star investor Peter Thiel), she became the Founder & CEO of ONO Labs in 2017. ONO LABS creates individualised and life stage-tailored fast moving consumer goods for women by using natural ingredients and smart data. The startup delivers 100% natural nutrition for women before, during and after a pregnancy.

In this episode, we talk to Chanyu about trends and success factors in the foodtech space, her plans for ONO Labs, and how to get started with a MVP and make hiring decisions.

Sascha Weiler on marketing operations and advice for first-time founders

Sascha Weiler on marketing operations and advice for first-time founders

March 28, 2018

Sascha Weiler is Founder & Managing Director at Homebell. The Berlin-based startup has taken on the challenge to digitalize home improvement and living space projects by offering reliable craftsmen services at a fixed quote and fair prices via its platform. Most recently, Homebell successfully raised 11m EUR.

Before founding Homebell, Sascha was Co-Founder at Hem, a design studio creating a new generation of sustainable furniture, accessories and lighting. Prior he worked for Rocket Internet and was part of the founders team of Casacanda, which was successfully sold to Fab.com for $10m. After the exit, Sascha served as Executive VP Europe at Fab.

In this episode, we are making a deep dive with Sascha into marketing operations. He shares his advice on how to proper set up your online marketing campaigns, startup fundraising efforts, and how to put learning experiences over making money in the short term.

Seth Pierrepont on Accel Partners’ success and the startup scene in Europe

Seth Pierrepont on Accel Partners’ success and the startup scene in Europe

March 13, 2018

Seth Pierrepont joined the international VC firm Accel Partners in 2013. At Accel, he focuses on investments in software, consumer marketplace and mobile businesses. He helped lead Accel’s investments and ongoing work in CallSign, Carwow, Kry, and Soldo. Prior to Accel, Seth invested in European companies with Vision Capital and advised technology and media companies on strategy with Oliver Wyman in San Francisco. Originally from America, he is based in London.

In this episode, we are talking to Seth about the potential of the European startup scene, Accel’s investment criteria, his best VC advice for founders and why entrepreneurs should show that they are really passionate about what they are working on.

Michael Brehm on launching startups and the key role of sales & marketing for success

Michael Brehm on launching startups and the key role of sales & marketing for success

February 28, 2018

Michael Brehm is one of the biggest names in the German startup scene. As former Executive Director & Investor at social network startup VZnetzwerke (with its brands studiVZ, schülervz, meinVZ), he forever influenced the society in his home country in many ways in the 2000’s before industry giant Facebook even entered the local market. Having built and sold several companies (e.g. to Google and eBay) and taken another one public in his career, he is especially a renowned expert on sales & marketing. Among his notable ventures was e.g. Rebate Networks, which has rolled out couponing websites all across the world.

Since 2014, Michael is a Partner at Redstone - a first of its kind venture capital firm with the approach of „VC-as-a-service“. Moreover, in the past years, he has been involved in supporting startups like Bonaverde as a member of the supervisory board and also working on launching new ventures.

In this episode, we are doing a deep dive with Michael into startup marketing & sales. Among others, we are talking to him about how to implement a coherent startup culture (especially in relation to sales efforts), the development of studiVZ back in the days, the importance of paying detailed attention to your product & customers, the qualities that make a great CMO nowadays as well as useful marketing tools and how to combine them. He is also sharing insights about his new startup i2x that he kept in stealth mode for the past two years.

Yassin Hankir on savedroid’s ICO and the future of cryptocurrencies

Yassin Hankir on savedroid’s ICO and the future of cryptocurrencies

February 24, 2018

Yassin Hankir is one of Germany’s FinTech stars. After a few years as a Consultant at McKinsey, he co-founded vaamo, a digital wealth management solution, and in 2015 started savedroid - an innovative personal savings app.

This interview is a special one - being Startup Notes’ very first follow-up episode. One year after our first conversation with Yassin on FinTech in Germany, we talked to him again triggered by some really exciting developments at savedroid. The startup recently entered the cryptocurrency space.

More specifically, savedroid is currently staging its own ICO to raise money for its vision to democratize access to cryptocurrencies. Savedroid wants to enable users to get easy access to smart crypto-savings plans and superior crypto-investment opportunities without any technological adoption barriers - leveraging savedroid’s existing core assets of AI and great UX.

In this interview, we talk about Yassin’s view on the future of cryptocurrencies, regulation in the space and we dive into the topic of ICOs. There’s definitely some really great insights in here - both for people who are new to cryptocurrencies, but also more knowledgeable members of the community.

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More info on savedroid’s ICO: http://bit.ly/2FqgewB (main sale ends 9th March 2018)

Our first episode with Yassin from February 2017: http://bit.ly/2CiOSKr

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