Interview with Martin Weber, the new Program Manager of EuropeanPioneers
So tell me about your start-up background? What are you brining to the table?
Well, before joining EuropeanPioneers I was heading the operations at Startupbootcamp Israel in Tel Aviv. (The Startup-Nation being the second strongest tech-ecosystem behind the Silicon Valley.) As COO, I was basically the foster parent for our 10 startups and entrepreneurs in the program. I coordinated all activities at the accelerator and managed all relationships with partners, mentors & tech investors. Previous to that, I was managing the investment department of StarTAU, the Entrepreneurship Center of Tel Aviv University. Amazing people there and a great way to jump right into the tech scene. In previous roles I’ve worked in corporates in the US & Germany, did product development, IT project management and was even gaining first tech investment expertise. I finished my Master in Management at ESCP Europe, studying in London, Paris and Madrid.
So what’ I’m bringing to the table is quite diverse. A chameleon maybe? ;-)
Let’s just say we got the right guy!
So what do you enjoy about the start-up culture?
It’s diversity! People have very different backgrounds, do day is like the other and things change constantly. I love the super-fast pace. Also, I got to know it as a very open community. Everyone is very keen on networking and helping each other out. I particularly like the “helping others” aspect, because it makes everyone and everything very approachable and easy.
Martin, what are your thoughts about the future of the start-up scene globally?
I believe the two next big things are a) the internet of things and b) new and innovative revenue models. The former will result in more focus on emerging ecosystems and more cross border collaboration and the latter will ensure the creative monetisation of content. It’s all a matter of data after all.
In addition, I guess there’ll be some form of saturation in the entrepreneurship world. It’s a huge hype currently and everyone wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. However, the need for similar products and services will be satisfied eventually. Let’s say there will be a vast filtering of the bad and good technologies, ideas, start-ups, and founders. And the few good players are succeeding.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs?
There are so many. But a number one thing is that founders don’t know their competition well enough. It is way too common that startups think they have the one and only groundbreaking idea. But chances are there’s already a similar (and good enough) product existing out there. That’s why competitive market research is key. Plus, it’s the easiest counter argument to throw into you face from any investor.
Besides that, know your customers really well and always be aware of your companies team-culture.
Any good tips for fresh entrepreneurs?
Besides the above mentioned? Get an office dog! (laughs) Every start-up has to have an office dog – because they light up your mood, they melt together the team spirit. As a team you’ll have a shared responsibility. You go out and leave the office every once in a while to get fresh air, it’s a good distraction from business and helps to re-focus. Sounds stupid but is very effective.
Let’s talk fun facts! What’s your favourite city?
Besides my hometown Hamburg: Tel Aviv! The people are beautiful inside and out side, the weather is amazing and the lifestyle is a cool mix of progress, tech-entrepreneurship and middle-eastern relaxation.
And what’s your favourite spot in Berlin?
I don’t know enough yet, but I like the Tilsiter Lichtspiele! It’s the second oldest cinema in Berlin and has a very charming “Kneipe”. The people are relaxed, it’s super small, very intimate, plus the movies are in their original language. ;-)
Thanks for your time Martin and have a good start at EuropeanPioneers!
Thanks Ayah, you too!
P.S.: You can reach Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org and Linkedin.