He began working in project-finance and merchant acquisition, negotiating with private individuals as well as legislative powers. Dealing with exploratory negotiations and investment banking for large firms provided the challenge he had been looking for, but it lacked a sense of purpose. He finally decided to concentrate his efforts on a worthier cause: Renewable Energy. 4 Years ago, he moved to Berlin and is now working on several Internet-based projects as well as financial advising. He is currently involved in counseling betahaus members in Berlin and Köln, concerning expansion financing and businessplan related subjects.
Interview by Lisa Hillers
There is a great deal of variables a fledgling startup has to deal with. Uncertainties, like timing and relevance of the business idea, the appeal of the solution to the customer, market awareness, availability of cash, the ability to make sufficient sales and a good many others can cause quite a headache sometimes-successfully launching a startup, whilst planning and managing all these challenges carefully, can prove to be a daunting task. Having someone by your side that helps you to keep track of the financial structuring can be invaluable at times.
What are the most important aspects you are trying to communicate in a counseling-session ? Is there something specific you would like to equip your client with?
There are three integral components of a start-up. The revenue-model, the organisational structure and the financial forecast. The business world is marked with uncertainties, so, realistically, these components are subjected to constant modification. In order to ensure that the business-plan can adjust to these changes, I created an Excel-Model that combines the three constituents and promptly adapts any transition. Thus, it is a lot easier to foresee potential financial outcomes and amend graphs.
At the same time, i wanted to create a user-friendly tool, that is easily understood, even without my guidance and intervention, I thereby hope to increase my clients flexibility. Also, my previous work experience gave me some valuable insight on what a certain investor might be looking for, so I try to give as much useful advice on how to approach potential investors, as possible.
What motivates you most about starting a new project?
What motivates me are the people and their ideas. I love the human component. Startups and their success are all about the people. It is important to understand their drives, what makes them tick and their ideas and visions on what they are doing. If you don´t get a feel for that, you will not be able to properly understand a startup.
What new developments do you see in the Co-working-world? How do you imagine bethaus in 2020?
Co-working will more and more be the standard for individuals and small startups. The real growth however might come if the corporate world embraces co-working. I guess that partially depends on the growth of employees working remote . That would be an exiting development.
Betahaus could be called an 'authentic' or 'unadjusted' early-stage co-working space. The challenge is to remain like that whilst still being profitable. That can only be done by maintaining but also improving its 'name' in the industry. Helpful would be some clear successes /stories that underline its value.
Speaking of co-working , how has the betahaus-experience been so far?
It has been very pleasant. The lack of hierarchy helps to create a very relaxed work environment and gives me space to breath. At the same time, it sometimes makes it harder to stay on top of things. That´s why, in order to remain determined, i try to maintain some sort of rhythm through creating a set, daily routine.
Thank you for your time.
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Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.
Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.
If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.
The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.
It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.
Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”.
Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?
It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as well as urban planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!
A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.
Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!
Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.