What advice would you share with other founders?
I would particularly recommend technology-driven startups to work with potential customers as early as possible, for example in the form of pilot projects. This is the only way to find out what is really required of the product. One of our mentors always said that we could be embarrassed about the first version of the product. My motto is also that only those who go into the water can learn to swim.
What surprised you the most when you started out?
That it really takes longer than you think. As a young and dynamic team, you often approach things very euphorically and enthusiastically. Unfortunately, bureaucracy or long decision-making processes often slow you down again.
What would you like to see from politics and Germany as a business location?
Less bureaucracy! Many processes, starting with the foundation up to the application of subsidies, are enormously complex and time-consuming. In the end, there is no time to further develop the technology and set up the startup. I would also like the topic of entrepreneurship to be promoted more strongly in schools in order to establish a culture of entrepreneurship in Germany.
Why doesn’t Germany have a leading startup ecosystem?
I think we are on the right track in Germany. Locations such as Berlin and Munich have already built up a good ecosystem, with the Ruhr area on the rise. It just doesn't work overnight. Let's take a look at Silicon Valley, where economic development began as early as 1951 and gained considerable momentum with computer technology in the 1960s and 1970s. At that time, the focus in the Ruhr area was still entirely on mining and the steel industry. So I am very curious where the Ruhr area will possibly be in 60-70 years, because Silicon Valley took just as long to become the start-up hotspot it is today.