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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In addition to the betahaus locations, we've formed a close relationship with some of the world's best coworking spaces. With your betahaus membership, you can work from any of our partner spaces for 1 day per month.
Republikken // Copenhagen, Denmark // Vesterbrogade 26, 1620 København V, Denmark
Le Laptop // Paris, France // 6 Rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris, France
utopic_US // Madrid, Spain // Calle de la Colegiata, 9, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Nest 71 // Saravejo, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Milana Preloga 12, Sarajevo 71000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Toolbox // Milan, Italy // Via Agostino da Montefeltro, 2, 10134 Torino, Italy
Edspace // London, England // Block D, Hackney Community College, Falkirk St, London, UK
Bios // Athens, Greece // Pireos 84, Athina 104 35, Greece
CoWorx // Kristiansand, Norway // Markens Gate 8, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
CRU – Loja / Cowork // Porto, Portugal // Rua do Rosário 211, 4050-524 Porto, Portugal
SPARK // Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina // Bleiburških žrtava, Mostar 88000, Bosnia & Herzegovina
StartUp Armenia Foundation // Yerevan, Armenia // 0019, 1 Marshal Baghramyan Ave, Yerevan 0019, Armenia
Tøyen Startup Village // Oslo, Norway // Hagegata 23, 0653 Oslo, Norway
Smart Coworking // Prague, Czech Republic // Václavské nám. 806/62, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Lighthouse // Tel Aviv, Israel // HaHaroshet 14-16 Ra'anana, Tel Aviv, Isreal
Fueled // New York City, USA // 11, 568 Broadway, FL 11, New York, NY 10012, United States **Maximum 3 Days
Capital Factory // Austin, USA // 701 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701, United States
Público // Mexico City, Mexico // Puebla 403, Roma Nte., 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico
Area Tres // Buenos Aires, Argentina // El Salvador: El Salvador 5218, C1414BPV CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina // Soho: Malabia 1720, C1414DMJ CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
HubBOG // Bogota, Colombia // Cl. 98 #18-71, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
CIT // Taipei, Taiwan // 10452, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, 玉門街1號
Of10 // Mumbai, India // Prudential, Ground Floor, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076, India
Kibar // Jakarta, Indonesia // Jl. Prof. Moh. Yamin No.1, RT.7/RW.5, Menteng, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta 10310, Indonesia
Midori.so // Tokyo, Japan // Midori.so Nakameguro: 3 Chome-3-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tōkyō-to 153-0042, Japan // Midori.so Nagatacho: 2 Chome-5 Hirakawachō, Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 102-0093 // Midori.so2: 3 Chome-13 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 107-0062, Japan
Launchgarage Innovation Hub // Manila, Philippines // Level 2, Industria Mall, Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Bagumbayan, Quezon City, 1110 Metro Manila, Philippines
Independent Studios // Melbourne, Australia // 39/40 Porter St, Prahran VIC 3181, Australia
Urban Station EGYPT // Cairo, Egypt // 2 Wadi El Nil Mohandeseen, Cairo, Egypt
Nairobi Garage // Nairobi, Kenya // Nairobi Garage, The Mirage, Chiromo Rd, Nairobi, Kenya
BONUS: Cowork & Relax at the Coliving Space, Coconat // Brandenburg, Germany // Klein Glien 25 14806 Bad Belzig, Germany // Get €10 off your stay
Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them.
Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.
Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear.
Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.
Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different.
Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally.
Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.
Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.
Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte
Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.
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