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The Most Awesome Founder Podcast
52 minutes | 17 days ago
EP 24 - Building Digital Communities With Cory Warfield
In this episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Cory Warfield, entrepreneur, founder of ShedWool and connector with over 250.000 LinkedIn followers. Cory and Gerrit met almost 5 years ago when mentoring Cory’s startup ShedWool at an accelerator in Colorado. Since then Cory grew his startup to 20+ employees, built a massive LinkedIn follower base and launched numerous new ventures from his vast professional network. In this episode, we are discussing Cory’s incredible founder journey from literally the bottom to the top, how faith and humility drive success and some really useful tricks for leveraging LinkedIn to grow both your personal brand and your business. Hope you enjoy it!
54 minutes | a month ago
EP 23 - Building Meaningful Company Cultures With Freya Oehle
In episode 23, we introduce Freya Oehle, WHU alumn, co-founder of the online shopping tool startup Spottster, and current co-founder of digital transformation consultancy 3tausendsassa. We are discussing Freya's founder journey, from WHU to building Spottster with a school classmate, to a unique exit and to building a new startup with the same team she build her previous one. Freya is a high-energy entrepreneur, with the passion and charisma of a great leader. So it is no wonder, her Spottster team continue their entrepreneurial journeys together. Get valuable insights into building teams, establishing company cultures that are both meaningful and fun, and what leadership looks like across product and service-oriented startups. Hope you enjoy it! Part 1: Freya Preview (00:04) Part 2: Introducing Freya (02:20) Part 3: Freya’s founder journey (03:10) Part 4: The multifold business model of Freya’s current company “3tausendsassa” (08:55) Part 5: Freya’s view on differences between service or product focused firms (10:30) Part 6: The shift towards focusing on billable hours and 1:1 sales to run the company (14:14) Part 6: The pros and cons of being a service organization vs. a product organization (16:12) Part 7: The value of Freya as the translator between customer needs and 3tausendsassa’s development capabilities (15:46) Part 8: Structure as a key to working with technical people as a non-technical founder (23:50) Part 9: Freedom as the most effective way for 3tausendsassa to solve the client’s problems (20:13) Part 10: Structure as a cornerstone of Freya’s way to lead technical teams (22:36) Part 11: How Freya manages the differences in cultures of 3tausendsassa and their corporate clients (27:30) Part 12: The two types of people needed in startups and corporates (27:57) Part 13: The secrets of 3tausendsassa’s strong and trusting company culture (30:20) Part 14: How Freya established this culture (34:28) Part 15: Freya’s perspective of changing company culture with age (38:20) Part 16: Authenticity as a young startup working with formal corporate clients (41:28) Part 17: How authenticity in startup founding develops your character (45:40) Part 18: Freya’s nuggets of widsom (49:25) Part 19: What book is Freya currently reading? (51:23) Part 20: What is cycling on Freya’s playlist? (52:20) Outro Gerrit (53:57)
48 minutes | 2 months ago
EP 22 - Decoding Innovation Theater with Steve Blank
In this episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Steve Blank - legendary entrepreneur, author, adjunct professor at Stanford University, and father of the customer development / lean startup method. Steve arrived in Silicon Valley in 1978 and has played a pivotal role in the international startup scene ever since. His Lean Launchpad class redefined the way entrepreneurship is taught and changed the way entrepreneurs around the world build new ventures. He is also the author of the books “The Startup Owner’s Manual” and “The Four Steps to the Epiphany”. To learn more about Steve, you can visit his website at www.steveblank.com or follow him on Twitter at @sgblank. Joining me as co-host of this episode is Prof. Dries Faems, Chair of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technological Transformation at WHU. Together we're discussing Steve’s founder journey, but more importantly, the concept of innovation theater - those incubators, accelerators and corporate innovation labs that look slick from the outside, but are often lacklustre in producing tangible results. Steve is an absolute legend in startup circles and full of nuggets of wisdom. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we did recording it!
64 minutes | 3 months ago
EP 21 - Tackling Stigmas With Entrepreneurship with Lia Grünhage
In this latest episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Lia Grünhage, WHU alumn and founder of Avery Fertility, a Berlin-based startup that provides both women and men with top-notch education and care around fertility planning and treatment. We will be discussing Lia’s founder journey, her evolution from Amorelie management team to becoming a founder herself, the challenge of tackling cultural taboos like sexuality and reproduction and so much more. Hope you enjoy it!
58 minutes | 3 months ago
EP 20 - Founding People-Centric Ventures with Robert Ermich
In episode 20 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Robert Ermich, founder of DeinHandy, OnTruck and an exciting new stealth startup in the healthcare space. Gerrit met Robert last year when they were both coaching teams at 3-Day-Startup. It was immediately clear they were two birds of the same feather, who share the passion for startups, creative marketing and plenty of travel and outdoor adventures. But in this episode, they are discussing Robert’s founder journey, which took him from WHU to being a serial entrepreneur and eventually a business angel, the delicate balance between a great lifestyle and a successful business live, and so much more. Hope you enjoy it!
35 minutes | 4 months ago
EP 19 - Diversity in Entrepreneurship with Gesa Miczaika
In this episode, we are sticking with stories highlighting the importance of diversity and entrepreneurship. Today, we introduce Gesa Miczaika, entrepreneur, investor and partner at German’s first all-female VC firm Auxxo. Of course, we discuss diversity in the startup world, but also the disparity of capital deployed to male vs female founders, the competitive advantage of leading an all-female VC and so much more. Gesa is truly an advocate for equality and an inspiring voice in the German startup ecosystem. There are so many takeaways from this episode, so I hope you enjoy it.
39 minutes | 4 months ago
EP 18 - Revolutionizing Pet Health Care with Mareile Woelwer
In this second episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Mareile Wölwer, WHU alumn and co-founder of Berlin-based animal health care company Vetevo. Mareile's entrepreneurial journey took her from her family farm in Mayen, to studies at WHU, to the fast-paced world of being a venture-backed founder in Berlin. Today, Mareile's start-up Vetevo is growing at a rapid pace, with over 50 employees, a seven-figure investment round and thousands of customers across Germany using their innovative pet health tracking app and testing solutions. So for you folks who want to learn more about this young entrepreneur's incredible journey, the inspiration for launching a startup dedicated to animal health and the challenges to ever-adapting founder roles, this episode is for you.
63 minutes | 5 months ago
EP 17 - Linking Artificial Intelligence and Skin Care with Franziska Leonhardt
In this first episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Franziska Leonhardt - entrepreneur, attorney, WHU alum, and founder of Berlin-based, AI-driven personalised skin care company, AVE + EDAM. Franziska’s journey has been a fascinating one. She began her career as a freelance lawyer, joined international law firm, Clifford Chance, and then became Rocket Internet’s first General Counsel — leading them though their IPO . But it was one trip to Silicon Valley in 2017 that changed Franziska’s career path forever, inspiring her to build one of the world’s first technology-driven skin care companies - all while raising her young daughter in tow. So for you folks who want to learn more about this inspiring founder’s journey, the complexities of bridging the technology and consumer goods divide, and the challenges of balancing work, life, and family, this episode is for you. Hope you enjoy it!
71 minutes | 5 months ago
EP 16 - An Engineer's View of Non-Technical Founders with Teddy Pejoski
In this last episode of season 2, we introduce Teddy Pejoski - entrepreneur, engineer, and guru at bridging the technical / non-technical divide. He is the founder of Crack Your Screen (an app with over 20m downloads), the software studio GSIX, a code academy, an engineer placement and recruiting platform, a funky sock company, and a new “no-code” technology called ENZYME. Teddy’s entrepreneurial journey is like a movie in the making. From a selling flowers in rural Macedonia to building innovative technologies the world over, he is one of those unique breeds that thinks like an entrepreneur but has the technical chops to build almost anything. So for you folks who want to dive into the mind of an engineer that knows the complexities of working with non-technical founders, this episode is for you! Hope you enjoy it!
62 minutes | 6 months ago
Ep. 15 - The Art of Lean with Tristan Kromer
In this episode, we introduce Tristan Kromer - San Francisco-based entrepreneur, innovation advisor, and Lean Startup guru. Tristan’s journey is a fascinating one - from touring musician to marketing executive, startup coach to innovation advisor for massive multinational companies. Today we’re discussing Tristan’s unique and circuitous career trajectory, what Lean really means in different contexts, the future of entrepreneurship education, and so much more! So for you listeners who want a tonne of useful advice on how to build a lean organisation, this episode is for you! Hope you enjoy it!
61 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 14 - Entrepreneurship, Investment, and the Art of Guanxi with Erik Schäfer
In this episode (recorded in November 2019), we introduce Erik Schäfer, serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and part of WHU's first graduating class of 1988. This guy has done some stuff. From founding a consultancy while in uni to linking German capital to early Silicon Valley companies; from building mines in Australia to greenhouses in China, Erik is one of WHU’s true O.G. entrepreneurs. Today we’re discussing Erik’s rich and fascinating founder journey, learning about his approach to building an adventurous entrepreneurial life, and squeezing as much wisdom and lessons as we can out of one interview alone. So for you listeners who want to learn from an entrepreneurial journey that spans a full four decades, this episode is for you! Hope you enjoy it!
47 minutes | 7 months ago
Ep. 13 - Founder-Market Fit with Martin Heibel
In this episode (recorded in January 2020), we introduce Dr. Martin Heibel, WHU alum, serial entrepreneur, ecosystem builder, and currently, cofounder and Managing Director of Ciara - a virtual assistant for sales development reps and inside sales teams. We’re discussing Martin’s journey from WHU to LMU, building the LMU Entrepreneurship Center and XPRENEURS, and founding two successful companies - IntraWorlds and Ciara. Martin’s story is an interesting one in which he built his most recent company to solve a problem he and his teams felt every day. So for you listeners who are interested in sales, B2B software solutions, or just a wicked smart and highly analytical founder, this episode is for you! Hope you enjoy it!
49 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 12 - Starting From a Problem with Jannes Fischer
In this episode (recorded in October 2019), we introduce Jannes Fischer - WHU alum, Forbes 30 under 30, and Founder/CEO of Zenhomes (with its brands Vermietet.de and Hausio), Europe's fastest growing digital property management platform. We’re talking about Jannes’ amazing journey from WHU to small business owner, Rocket Internet to solo entrepreneur, as well as his deep commitments to problem solving and self-directed learning that helped pave his path to success. So for you listeners out there who are interested in a young founder’s unique road to high-growth entrepreneurship, you’ll love this episode!
57 minutes | 8 months ago
Ep. 11 - Rocket Fuelled Growth with Tobi Tschötsch
In this episode (recorded in November 2019), we introduce Tobi Tschötsch - Founder & Managing Director of Contorion - a B2B online marketplace for industrial and trade supplies. We’re talking about Tobi’s fascinating startup journey from WHU to Rocket Internet/CityDeal/Groupon to founder of a company acquired for over 100 million Euros. So if you’re looking to hear an incredible founder journey; interested in learning about growing a startup from idea to acquisition; or simply hoping to hear more about one of WHU’s great entrepreneurial success stories, you’ll love listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.
38 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 10 - Medical Cannabis in Germany with Thiago Cäsar
In this episode, we introduce Thiago Cäsar, Head of Business Development of Cansativa, the leading importer and wholesaler of medical cannabis in Germany. Thiago is responsible for ensuring supply from all over the world in this extremely regulated industry. One can only imagine the conversation Thiago had with his family when he decided to transition from the German automotive industry to the fledgling cannabis sector! But with Thiago and the Cansativa team leading the way, it is clear that the mainstreaming of medical cannabis in Germany is well on its way. So if you want insights into the emerging and extremely competitive cannabis industry in Germany you should definitely give this a listen.
32 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 9 - Seed-Stage Investing with Stephan Schubert
In this episode(recorded in November 2019), we introduce Stephan Schubert, WHU alum and founder of Onvista and IS.Teledata, to name a few. He is currently founder and Managing Partner of STS Ventures, an investment firm he established to manage his business angel activities. Since the late 1990s, Stephan has invested in numerous technology startups and is one of the most active and experienced business angels in Germany. So if you're looking for an exceptional entrepreneur who has overcome many of the obstacles your startup may face in the future, Stephan is someone you’ll definitely want to hear from.
39 minutes | 9 months ago
Ep. 8 - Merging Content and Technology with Verena Hubertz
In this episode, we introduce Verena Hubertz, WHU alum and cofounder of Kitchen Stories. Kitchen Stories provides delicious, step-by-step photo and video recipes through their beautiful and user-friendly web and mobile applications. Verena and her cofounder Mengting met as business students at WHU and bonded over their love of food. Their friendship and complementary approaches to work and business led them to found Kitchen Stories in 2013. Since then, Kitchen Stories has been awarded with the Apple App Store’s Best of 2015, the 2016 Google Play Design Award, and has topped Apple’s food category in over 150 countries. In 2018, Bosch Siemens Home (BSH) acquired a majority stake in Kitchen Stories, propelling them to even further growth.
64 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 7 - Acceleration and Angel Investing with Jag Singh
Jag Singh is Managing Director of Techstars Berlin and one of Europe’s most active angel investors. He is the former MD of the METRO Retail Accelerator, founder of numerous companies, mathematician, political strategist, ad-man, and a true global citizen who is fluent in six languages. Jag is the founder of YouFundMe, MessageSpace, Wess Digital, and LabourHome. He was an advisor to Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Matthew Elliot, and numerous other political campaigns. And he is a regular contributor to the BBC, Sky News, and ITV. In 2008, Jag was recognized as one of the top 100 influential people in British politics and in 2018 the Financial Times named him to the Top 100 minority leaders in technology. He’s also likely the smartest guy in the room.
65 minutes | a year ago
Ep. 6 - Building Tech as a Non-Technical Founder with Philipp von Hammerstein
Philipp von Hammerstein is an entrepreneur, educator, software developer, and WHU alum who has spent the past decade either founding or growing technology ventures. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from WHU and full-stack developer certification from Le Wagon Coding Bootcamp. When Philipp and I first met, he was General Manager of Le Wagon Berlin and VP of Global Operations for the Le Wagon mothership. But since then, he has transitioned to his next adventure as Head of Corporate Education for CODE University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. But regardless of his role, Philipp is a tremendous asset for those who need helping bridging the void between software engineers and the non-technical business team with whom they interact.
48 minutes | 2 years ago
Ep. 5 - From Idea to IPO with Tim Thabe
Dr Tim Thabe is an entrepreneur, credit finance guru, and cofounder of SME lending platform, creditshelf. After nearly a decade in credit risk management with a number of global banks in Germany and Switzerland, Tim decided to take on the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program - which helped pave the way for his rocketfueled entrepreneurial journey. In 2015, Tim left the comforts of the banking world behind to launch creditshelf with his partners. Within four years, creditshelf became the first publicly-traded finch startup in Germany - raising over Euro 15m and growing his team to over 40 FTEs. Creditshelf now serves over Euro 400 million in loan applications per year and continues to set the standard for SME financial technology in the German market.
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