I went to school in Berlin, studied geography, did alright, got some scholarships, went to the US and when I came back I was pretty sure I was going to get my PhD. I got started on my master’s thesis at the same time as two friends, and the three of us got so frustrated with academic processes that we handed in our theses and were done with school. We decided that getting our PhDs was out of the question for the moment, and then we decided to build tools to remedy that situation. That was my first experiment with entrepreneurship.
We were very green I’d say. We expected to build an awesome product and then everything else would happen by itself. It was a very iterative process. In the end, it turned out to be nothing like what I expected. We tried to make this project into a success. Unfortunately, there was a competitor out there that was not EU-funded as we were, but privately-funded and to be honest, also went about it in a more professional manner. After two and a half years and a steep learning curve but a product that was, in the end, inferior to the other guys, we decided to call it quits.
I joined BCG, the first company I applied to and stayed with them for three and a half years which was longer than I expected. I think I took full advantage of well, let’s be honest, the lifestyle with paid expenses and the chance to travel around and work for, in some cases, very interesting projects but always intellectually and work-ethically very challenging projects. After about three years at BCG, I got that itch again and I started thinking how I could get back to that founder lifestyle. I wanted to feel very passionate about a topic and to wanted to work on it every day and to make something. I came up with two areas where I wanted to go, which were sports and food.
I basically got kicked out of the room for all my sports ideas but my food thoughts were received quite well and I was on a very good track to start an online meat delivery service. Rocket Internet contacted me and that’s how I got connected to Bonativo. My founder from then, we hit it off quite well and we started to try and build this business which was very challenging. In the end, it wasn’t one of those fast turnovers that Rocket is really known for, so, unfortunately, we exited in July 2016.
When you are the guy founding the business, you don’t need to be someone who knows something in perfect detail but you need to be able to grasp a lot quickly, and you need to most importantly, motivate people that know things better than you. I’m pretty sure I’m going to start a company again, but this time on my own, or at least not with a big incubator. Working as a consultant is also enjoyable. I get to pick and choose which clients I work with, I get to decide on the topics and how I work on them. If clients don’t like me, that’s fine. If I don’t like them, that’s also fine. It’s a big difference to working in a more institutionalised way, so it’s fun.