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Startup Stories: Entrepreneurship Education & Startup Training by Europe’s Founders

Startup Stories: Entrepreneurship Education & Startup Training by Europe’s Founders

By Daniel Kunz
Daniel Kunz from the Nerd Entrepreneurs team interviews the best and brightest startup founders and experts so you can be ahead of the curve with your own venture. Discover how you can quickly validate your startup idea, find problem - solution - fit and acquire your first customers so you can focus on building something that will drive revenue and profits and ultimately grow to become the business you’ve always dreamed of.
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DELIVERY: How to build a startup and enjoy the ride w/ LuckaBox cofounder Aike Festini

Startup Stories: Entrepreneurship Education & Startup Training by Europe’s Founders

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Plants & Health: How any business can improve their employees’ health and reduce their buildings’ energy consumption w/ Oxygen at Work cofounder Manuel Winter
IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. This episode brings us together with Manuel Winter, cofounder at Oxygen at Work, a startup that aims to Improve air quality in office spaces using natural plants in order to improve the health of employees and reduce the energy consumption of the buildings. In this episode we started off by looking at the startup’s creation story and how Manuel and his team got their first customer without really having a product ready. Manuel dives deeper into what the first version of the product looked like and compares it to what it looks like today, explaining how Oxygen at work can differentiate itself from its competition using data. Manuel also explained how his team tackles the challenge of selling a fuzzy and long term vision of healthier employees to his customers, as well as his worst mistake and biggest achievement launching Oxygen at work and growing it to what it is today. Problem - Solution Fit How did the team test that there were people with a problem / need for it? How did the team identify your perfect customer in the beginning? What were the first steps the team took after deciding to go with it? Product What did the team’s first product / MVP look like? How does the product work now, concretely? How will the team differentiate itself from others coming into the same space? Sales How did the team get to their first customer? How does the team sell companies such a long term and fuzzy benefit? Is the team mostly targeting companies that already have plants? What’s the business model behind Oxygen at Work? General What’s something Manuel did badly while working on your startup? What’s one thing Manuel did really well? Question from the audience: When is the best moment for a company that is built primarily with private funds to look for an investor to finance their growth? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
48:04
August 26, 2019
EXPERT SERIES: Finding the best angel investors for your startup w/ Business Angel and President of Zurich at Business Angels Switzerland Johann Schlieper
This episode brings us together with Johann Schlieper, President of the Business Angels Switzerland network and an active investor himself, with a strong focus on market-driven innovations. Johann has founded three startups himself and primarily invests in technology and durable consumer goods startups.     In this episode we started off by exploring the good and the bad sides of being an investor, what you need to become an investor yourself, the biggest mistakes to avoid when starting out as an angel, and how he evaluates the quality of an idea. We then asked for advice he would give to founders, for example how to filter the good from the bad investors, how many hours to invest in your startup and the three things that investors want to see in a founder.   IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST.   We covered the following topics:   Personal questions: What does he enjoy about being an investor? What doesn’t he enjoy about being an investor?   Angel Investing: How much money & experience does someone need to have to start angel investing? What are the biggest mistakes new angel investors make? How does he find out whether a founder has integrity and endurance? How does he evaluate the quality of an idea?   Advice for founders: If I pitch my idea and I haven't gotten any real traction yet: How could I still convince you to invest? How can market-driven innovations convince investors to get funding? When doesn’t it work? What are the three things he looks for in a founder, before you invest? How does he detect a ‘bad’ investor from a ‘good’ investor as a founder (how would he do it)? If I pitch my idea and I haven't gotten any real traction yet: How could I still convince him to invest? How many hours does expect a founder to be working on his / her idea per day? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
39:02
July 23, 2019
WOMEN’S BUSINESS WEAR : Configuring your own business attire online w/ Snordtmade founder Sarah Maria Nordt
Before I jump into this week’s episode I wanted to take a moment to share one of the challenges many entrepreneurs in Switzerland - including me - face when building up a team of qualified and trustful people. When you’ve built your first prototype or MVP and are ready to go all in on your idea - maybe you even received some money from family, friends or first investors - when you get to that moment when you need someone to focus on the technical side of your startup you’ll quickly realize that finding good software developers that are willing to sacrifice their high salaries to join you in your risky adventure, is going to be quite a challenge - especially in Switzerland. Why? Because you’re competing with big tech companies that have deep pockets and are willing to pay good developers a ton of money for their work. So, what can you do about that? One way I’ve found to get around this is to broaden your perspective and look for people elsewhere, for example in Lisbon. Lisbon has been called the European Silicon Valley for good reasons - Forbes Magazine says it is fast becoming a creative and tech startup hub, helped by accelerator funding, tech incubators and newly refurbished coworking spaces popping up all over the city. One company that I’ve come across and that I’m sharing with you without getting paid for it is helping startups set up their remote team in Lisbon is called Lisbon Tech Guide, they brand themselves as your partner to support you find and manage your team in Portugal. They cover everything you need from recruitment, company incorporation, budget planning, accounting, human resources management, tax advisory, co-working spaces, fiduciary topics, team building events and more. You can get a free 30-minute consultation call by visiting their website lisbontechguide.com to answer all your questions about setting up your team in Lisbon. Check them out at lisbontechguide.com and start building your remote team.  This episode brings us together with Sarah Maria Nordt, founder of Snordtmade, a startup that focuses on sophisticated ladies business fashion.  In this episode we started off by exploring the very beginnings of Snordtmade, how Sarah and her team tested the market need for her products, the first steps they took to launch the company and how they got their first customer. We then dove deeper into how they were planning to create demand for their brand in such a competitive environment, and what some of her low points were during her journey. IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: Problem - Solution Fit How did she test that there were people with a problem / need for it?  How did she identify your perfect customer in the beginning? What were the first steps she took after deciding to go with it? What did her first product / MVP look like? How did she get to your first customers? Sales & Marketing How did she manage to create / is she creating demand for her brand? How much is she selling, and how does she plan to grow these numbers? Persistence How did she make it financially possible to start & continue with her project? What were some emotional low points and how did she get out of them? Personal Fashion Configurator What is it and why does she think it will help her better solve the problem? Other questions What’s something she did badly while working on her startup? What’s one thing she did really well? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
55:05
July 8, 2019
EXPERT SERIES: Launching an investment fund w/ VI Partners founding partner Alain Nicod
This episode brings us together with Alain Nicod, a business angel, founder of various startups like LeShop in 1997 and Partner at VI Partners. Alain likes searching for startups and meeting exceptional people, and he believes it’s important that an entrepreneur can manage the day-to-day firmly, be realistic and have good sales skills.  In this episode we started off by exploring what he enjoys about being a partner at an investment fund of over CHF 100 million, and what he misses about being on the other side. We then dive deeper into questions around how a fund works, what the returns on investment have to be, how the process of launching a fund work, what skills are needed, and more. Finally, we asked Alain for specific advice that we could apply to our own situation, how we could detect a good from a bad investor and what he looks for in a founder. IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: Personal questions What do you enjoy about being a partner at an investment fund? What don’t you enjoy about your job? What are the challenging moments? How do you sleep, knowing that your investors expect you to multiply their CHF 101 million? How does a fund work? Why does a return on investment ‘need’ to be 10x or higher? After how much time does a fund need to see a return on their investment (exit, IPO, merger, acquisition)? How high do the returns need to be, to open an additional fund? How do you launch your own fund? How does the process work? How long does it take? What people / skills should be part of the team that opens a fund? What’s the minimum size that makes sense for a fund (no health care focus)? Advice for founders The founders need a side-job, should both work part-time or one full-time? How do you detect a ‘bad’ investor from a ‘good’ investor as a founder (how would you do it)? What do you look for in a founder? Is there a startup that should exist and that someone should start? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
38:13
July 1, 2019
FOOD DELIVERY: Fake invoices and working a full-time job next to your startup w/ Casola cofounders Linda Meier & Sofia Pique Meinecke
This episode brings us together with Linda and Sofia from Casola, the first online tapas bar in Zurich. Linda, Sofia and their third cofounder Claudia started with the idea three years ago, when they realized they weren’t happy with the daily food options in Zurich, and they were looking for something between low-cost supermarket food and high-end restaurant menus - something with a good quality AND an affordable price. We discuss the first steps that the three friends took after deciding to go for it and how they registered the company - and if you’re thinking about incorporating a company yourself, here’s a quick warning from the founders: after the incorporation you will receive hundreds of fake invoices addressed to your company, and you’ll have to find the original, and pay it. We also cover their biggest challenge which is acquiring customers, as well as the personal challenge of launching a startup while having a side job. IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: Problem - Solution Fit What was your initial idea and how did you test that there were people with a need for it? What was the first step you took when you decided to do this? How did you get your first customers? How did you do the pricing, concretely? Employee > Entrepreneur How did you make it possible to start with your project, timewise and emotionally? What’s the biggest personal challenge for you during this transition? What are the challenges when working next to your startup job? Product How did you build your shop? How do you come up with recipes? Other How did they incorporate the company? What’s the biggest challenge now? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
45:54
June 17, 2019
CONTENT: Building a personal brand that reaches thousands of people, and why views don’t matter w/ GlobalTechBox founder Cédric Bollag
This episode brings us together with Cédric Bollag from GlobalTechBox, a startup enthusiast, aspiring entrepreneur, blogger, vlogger and future venture capitalist. Cédric hosts a weekly show called The Startup Show where he showcases startups and investors from different industries and stages, reaching on average 650k/month impressions across all of social media. Cédric has a passion for meeting new, interesting people which is one of the reasons he’s been so persistent and has published over 160 video interviews with founders and investors. In this episode I had the opportunity to dive into Cédric’s world and ask him about his vision behind The Startup Show, how he started it all, and many more questions that were bugging me. We cover topics like his revenue model, the importance of delegating tasks, how he grew his audience to its current size, as well as other more private topics, like his favorite book for example. Having Cédric on the show was a delight and I learned a lot from our conversation, which is why I’m super excited to share this conversation with all of you today. Enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST.   We covered the following topics: Problem - Solution Fit How he started it all How he tested that there were people with a need for what he wanted to do? How did the first steps of Global Tech Box / The Startup Show look like? How he grew his audience in the beginning and how he is growing it now Revenue Model How he generated revenue in the beginning vs now? Hustle Delegating: How does his process look like? Work life balance: How does he keep the balance? How is what he’s doing now helping reach his long term goal (venture capitalist)? Learnings What’s one thing he did really badly while working on your startup?   BOOK RECOMMENDATION Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel 12 Lessons for Life: An Antidote To Chaos by Jordan Peterson 21 Lessons for the 21 Century by Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari   IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
41:14
June 10, 2019
STARTUP LAUNCHER: Building the one-stop shop for early-stage ventures w/ AGORA founder Alex Balderstone
This episode brings us together with Alex Balderstone from AGORA, a virtual start-up launcher providing all the necessary tools for entrepreneurs, no matter the stage of their journey. Starting your own venture can be a scary project with many unknowns. How do you find the idea for your startup? How can you make sure not to make too many mistakes and fail? Where can you get support in form of advice and money? These and many more questions go through the heads of every aspiring startup founder, and they are one of the reasons Alex started AGORA. His goal is to offer a one-stop shop for early-stage ventures where aspiring and active entrepreneurs can go and get the support they need. In this episode we dive into the story of AGORA, their target audience, how AGORA is different from other platforms as well as more personal topics like the importance of mindset for entrepreneurs and what Alex did especially well and not so well while working on AGORA. IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT What’s the idea behind AGORA? What’s the business model behind AGORA? How did he test that there are people with a need for it? What were the first steps he took after he decided to do this? How does his life look like during that bootstrapping phase? CUSTOMER ACQUISITION Who’s AGORA’s target audience and where do they gather? How is the team planning to acquire your first 100 paying customers? PRODUCT Why can’t I get what AGORA is offering elsewhere? What’s your MVP going to look like? MINDSET How important is mindset in the beginning of a startup? How can you get into the right mindset, when your environment is not ideal for it? PERSONAL What’s one thing you did really well while working on your startup? What’s one thing you did really badly while working on your startup? BOOK RECOMMENDATION The Lean Startup by Eric Ries IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
31:29
May 27, 2019
FOOD: From plant-based meat to killing traditional recipes w/ Plant Jammer founder and CEO Michael Haase
This episode brings us together with Michael Haase from Plant Jammer, a startup that helps you empty your fridge with the best plant-based recipes and and also helps you stop food waste. Imagine the following situations… You are coming home after a long day at work. You open the fridge and you see some carrots, half an apple, soy sauce and mushrooms. What now? You found a nice cheap cauliflower in the supermarket, but don’t know what to do with it Your food is too salty, and you don’t know how to fix it These are just some of the situations that have made me give up and order take out, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Plant Jammer offers a variety of great features like Food Pairing, the GastroWheel and the Balancer that target the problems I mentioned before. The team has a free mobile app with over 30k active users and 3 mio recipes, and for those of you with higher goals, the app lets you upgrade to PRIME which will get you nutritional target setting and tracking as well as additional meal planning features. Having Michael on the show was a delight and I learned a lot from our conversation, which is why I’m super excited to share this conversation with all of you today. Enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT What was the initial idea and how did he test that there were people with a need? What was the first step he took when he decided to do this? How much time did it take him to build his MVP? How did he get his first users? RETENTION How did they manage to get to 30’000 active users and 3 mio recipes? PERSONAL STARTUP ADVICE What's one thing Michael did really badly while working on his startup? What's one thing Michael did really well while working on his startup? If he could put one message on a billboard to get to millions or billions of people, what would it be? What's something crazy he believes that nobody else around him believes? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
39:51
May 20, 2019
BLOCKCHAIN: A solution to some of the financial industry’s problems w/ Adjoint Regional General Manager Alan Cabello
This episode brings us together with Alan Cabello from Adjoint a startup that empowers businesses in the financial industry to achieve new levels of efficiency and control by delivering blockchain technology built specifically for their needs. Having Alan on and talk about hot technological topics like blockchain and API’s in layman's terms was super insightful and helped me better understand these important technologies that are gaining more and more attention these days. Alan also shared how he perceived the difference between being a founder and being a manager at a startup, how he acquires businesses as customers, and more. I’m super excited to now share this conversation with all of you today. Enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT How did you test that there were people with a problem / need for it? What did you do exactly to identify your perfect customer for your brand and value proposition? How did you acquire your first customers? How did you decide on the pricing of your product? FOUNDING vs. MANAGING What differences do you see between your role now and the role of a founder? Why is joining an existing startup better than founding your own? Why worse? CUSTOMER ACQUISITION How do you acquire customers, and how long does that process take? What are the attributes customers want to see in you, for them to buy? TECHNOLOGY How does Blockchain work? How does it compare to an excel sheet? What are API’s and how do they work? B2B vs B2C What’s the attractive part about B2B? Doesn’t it all move very slowly? Books & other recommendation Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal It doesn’t have to be crazy at work, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
1:10:19
May 13, 2019
BUSINESS: Building a healthy company culture w/ Zenbusiness founder partner Ross Buhrdorf
This episode brings us together with Ross Buhrdorf from Zenbusiness, a startup that makes it simple, easy and accessible for everyone to start and run a small business. Ross, who is known for his ability in building teams and executing in a healthy company culture, is the former CTO of HomeAway, a home rental competitor to Airbnb that sold to Expedia for $3.9 billion in 2016. It was excited to have Ross on the show and get an insight into how a more seasoned entrepreneur is approaching the challenges one faces as a startup. We also talk about one of my favorite topics which is the building a company culture, as well as one of the challenges Zenbusiness had to face early on. I’m super excited to now share this conversation with all of you today. Enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT How did you test that there were people with a problem / need for it? What did you do exactly to identify your perfect customer for your brand and value proposition? How did you acquire your first customers? How did you decide on the pricing of your product? FAILURE First mobile app was a miss - why did it come to it and how did you fix it? CULTURE How do you create a healthy company culture? Books & other recommendation Yuval Noah Harari - 21 lessons of the 21 century IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
42:25
May 6, 2019
EXPERT SERIES: How to keep investors intrigued about your startup w/ Redalpine cofounding partner Michael Sidler
This episode is part of our EXPERT SERIES, in which we interview experts in the startup and business ecosystem, like investors and lawyers. Today I’m excited to share with you an interview my partner and I did with Michael Sidler from Redalpine, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in high tech companies in the field of ICT (internet/media/mobile) and Life Sciences. In our conversation we cover many of the questions we asked ourselves as founders when it comes to investors, like “how do you get in touch with investors?”, “how do you keep investors interested in your story?”, “what are the good and the bad sides of having an investor on board?” and “what are the most common mistakes made by founders when it comes to dealing with investors”? We had never met Michael before and the fact that he took time out of his day to answer our questions just goes to show how serious some investors can be about helping entrepreneurs succeed, and I’m super grateful to have had such an insightful conversation about topics that aren’t really talked about enough. And I’m excited to now share this conversation with all of you. Enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: About Redalpine What kind of startups do they invest in How are they helping these startups succeed, concretely (with examples) Contacting Investors How do I know if my startup is ‘scalable’ enough for VC’s? At what point should founders start contacting investors? How much traction is needed, e.g. with an e-commerce startup? How do you keep investors interested in your project, e.g. if it’s too early? The good and the bad What are the ‘bad sides’ of having VC’s on board? What should founders expect? What experiences has he made where the startup and the investors clashed together? What’s the most common mistake founders do, and how can they fix it? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
32:38
April 29, 2019
DELIVERY: How to build a startup and enjoy the ride w/ LuckaBox cofounder Aike Festini
“It’s the quality of the questions that tell my if [entrepreneurs] are going to make it or not.” - Aike Festini This episode brings us together with Aike Festini from LuckaBox, a startup that enables retailers to send their products to end customers via flexible delivery options. The LuckaBox team pays great attention to being green and will save over 12 tonnes of Co2 within the next five years, delivering goods by bike whenever possible. Aike and I met at a startup workshop years ago, when the LuckaBox idea was still in its infancy. When I recently asked her if there was one crazy thing she believed that many others didn’t, her answer was truly inspiring and motivating: “I'm deeply convinced that life is a playground to be enjoyed to the last bit. Life is not supposed to be hard. Work is supposed to motivate and inspire you to your core. Find your mojo - everything else: love, joy and success, will follow.” I loved having Aike on the show and asking her all of my burning questions about how she turned her initial idea into what it is today, how she acquired her first customers, her daunting and sometimes hurtful experience with investors, and so much more! I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: Problem - Solution Fit What was the initial idea and how did they test that there were people with a problem / need for it? Why did it not work out, and what did they do after they realized that? How did they know in which direction to go? How did they identify that this was the perfect customer for them? Customer Acquisition: How did they acquire their first customers? Pricing How did they decide on their prices? How did the competition with the Swiss Post impact their pricing? Investors What learning did she have from her first experience with investors? Why does she think every entrepreneur needs a good lawyer? Books & other recommendation Venture Deals - Be smarter than your lawyer and venture capitalist, by Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson The Pumpkin Plan - A simple strategy to grow a remarkable business in any field, by Mike Michalowicz Kellerhals Attorneys - https://www.kellerhals-carrard.ch IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
33:23
April 23, 2019
LIFE INSURANCE: Digitizing a 300 year old product w/ Safeside cofounder Michael Klien
This episode brings us together with Michael Klien from Safeside, a startup that’s taking what our parents know as “buying life insurance” and making it simple, fast and digital. Most insurance companies sell multiple products bundled around the topic of life insurance, making it difficult to understand for most of the population. This in turn means that to understand these insurance products, most people require the help of an insurance professional, which means they need to take a few hours out of their schedule, print out contracts and maybe even go to the insurance’s office to meet with the advisor. In our conversation we cover how Safeside is tackling the current problems of life insurance, how the team validated their ideas, which challenges arise when you have a remote team and how an accelerator program can help early stage founders get where they want to go faster. I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT How many customer interviews have to be done before moving on How to have a good interview with potential customers BUSINESS MODEL How Safeside wants to build a business around a low margin product How the team manages to provide high quality insurance with good user experience TEAM How working as a remote team can be challenging Tips and tricks to still be successful as a remote team F10 ACCELERATOR How an accelerator program can help you as a founder Book recommendation Chris Voss - Never split the difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
31:57
April 15, 2019
MENTAL HEALTH: How aiming for failure can help you reach your goals w/ Differ founder Geir Sand Nilsen
This episode brings us together with Geir Sand Nilsen from Differ, a startup that gives students a safe place to ask stupid questions, conversations to join, and peer mentors to talk to. Students are more stressed than ever. Loneliness, depression, and anxiety are key factors for lack of student engagement and university dropouts. 87% find it difficult to cope with their studies, 71% have or have had some kind of mental illness,  29% say they are lonely. In our conversation we cover how Geir and his startup got into this topic, how aiming for failure can help you reach your goals, and how entrepreneurs can deal with mental challenges to overcome challenges. I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PROBLEM - SOLUTION - FIT How they ended up identifying the real problem of their target audience What challenges they faced by working for someone who isn’t their customer MISTAKES Why trying to solve too many problems leads to nowhere STRUCTURES How to set up a good work structure and routine for your startup team and yourself MENTAL HEALTH The biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when it comes to mental health How you can deal with mental health issues IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
35:00
April 8, 2019
EXPERT SERIES: Corporate Venture Capital w/ Ringier Digital Ventures Managing Director David Hug
This episode is part of our EXPERT SERIES, in which we interview experts in the startup and business ecosystem, like investors and lawyers. Today I’m excited to share with you an interview my partner and I did with David Hug, Managing Director at Ringier Digital Ventures, the corporate investment fund of the international media group Ringier. In our conversation we cover many of the questions we asked ourselves as founders when it comes to investors, like “what are the most important factors for investors to invest in our startup?”, “how many customers do we need to have before contacting investors?” and “if an investor is interested, what happens then?”. We loved sitting down with David and getting honest answers from an investment expert, which is why I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: RINGIER DIGITAL VENTURES What kind of startups do they invest in At what stage they invest How they are helping these startups succeed DUE DILIGENCE How a due diligence process looks like How they check if Product - Solution - Fit & Product - Market - Fit are reached What the most important factors investors check before investing in a startup How much traction is necessary for an investment ADVICE FOR STARTUPS What’s the mistake he sees most often founders do, and how should they fix it How to approach investors and keep them interested in your startup IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
43:09
April 1, 2019
CLEANING: Batmaid’s rise to the Top 100 Swiss Startup Awards w/ Batmaid founder Eric Laudet
This episode brings us together with Eric Laudet from Batmaid, a startup that lets you book trusted house cleaners in a blink of an eye. It enables households to book their hand-picked and declared cleaning professionals in less than 60 seconds for a one-off cleaning or with a particular frequency. Batmaid's business model creates jobs, fights against the black market and removes the hassle of hiring a maid on the client’s side. Last but not least, Batmaid is able to offer the lowest price for cleaning on the market while making sure the Batmaids remain the top-paid cleaners in Switzerland. In our conversation we cover the backstory of Batmaid and how it became to be what it is today, how the team managed to grow the platform in such a short amount of time, and we also dive into other exciting startup ideas that Eric is working on. I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: THE BACKSTORY How Eric’s background led to him starting a startup How the beginnings of Batmaid looked like How Batmaid got their first customers How Batmaid decided to price its service GROWTH How the Batmaid team managed to grow the company in such a short period of time The biggest challenges growing the Batmaid marketplace Why the team started with cleaning, and what services are next in line GOTHAM COWORKING, SHAREX, BLOODX How Eric manages his time to work on multiple projects at once What the upsides and downsides of working on more than one project at a time are Recommended books: Antifragile from Nassim Taleb IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE   Other links: https://www.startupticker.ch/en/company/batmaid https://www.startupticker.ch/en/news/june-2018/investis-acquires-10-stake-in-batmaid
52:07
March 25, 2019
MONEY: Eradicating paper bills w/ Billte founder and CEO Andrea Girasole
This episode brings us together with Andrea Girasole from Billte, a startup that offers and end-to-end invoicing software that lets them do your invoicing, while you run your business. In our conversation we cover how Andrea started out, how being part of an accelerator program helped him in the starting phase of his startup, how Billte acquires customers, and more. I’m super excited to share this episode with you today, enjoy! IF YOU LIKED THIS EPISODE, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: PRODUCT - MARKET - FIT How did Andrea make it financially, timewise and emotionally possible to start with his project? How did he figure out that there is a real problem, who has this problem and what solution would solve the problem? How did Andrea get to his first customers? How did Andrea do the pricing? F10 ACCELERATOR How did Andrea’s experience in the F10 look like? How did the program help him in launching his venture? CUSTOMER ACQUISITION How does Billte acquire customers, and how long does that process take? What are the attributes customers want to see in Billte, for them to buy? B2B vs B2C What’s the attractive part about B2B? IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
52:09
March 18, 2019
ALGAE: Why they might well be our main source of protein in the future w/ Alver cofounder and COO Majbritt Byskov-Bridges
Click here to buy your START SUMMIT ticket and get 20% off by using the promo code StartupStories@Summit This episode brings us together with Majbritt Byskov-Bridges from Alver, an startup that has developed and brought to market one of the healthiest, tastiest and most sustainable source of protein and nutrients on the planet, that in the future might very well replace most of the meat we consume today. Their innovation is a micro algae called Golden Chlorella, that compared to the traditional algae products you know, is not a pill with a bright green color and a strong smell - It’s golden and subtle in taste while still bursting with life essential nutrients. The startup aims to create food products that fit easily into your everyday life, boosted with Golden Chlorella, and they have already launched pasta, soups, sauces and many more delicious food on their website. Majbritt came from a corporate background working for big companies in different field, and is the startup COO. In our conversation Majbritt shared how it all started out, how the jump from working at a big company to working in a startup worked out for her, and much more. IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: THE START How Alver got started and what problem it’s solving Why Alver can completely replace meat PROBLEM - SOLUTION FIT How the team tests that there are people with a problem / need for their product How the team acquired their first customers THE PRODUCT What makes Golden Chlorella such a good product for everyone Why people are buying Golden Chlorella FROM CORPORATE TO STARTUP The steps Majbritt took to go from employee to entrepreneur How Majbritt tackled the financial challenge, going from a salary to no salary How different the job of an entrepreneur is compared to the one of an employee Links/Weekly recommendation:   Greenpeace report on the impact of meat consumption on global warming   IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
28:55
March 11, 2019
EXPERT SERIES: Moving Switzerland’s Digitization Forward w/ Digital Switzerland Managing Director Nicolas Burer and Startup Ecosystem Builder Matthias Zwingli
This episode brings us together with Nicolas Burer and Matthias Zwingli from Digital Switzerland, an organisation that comprises more than 130 leading companies, organisations, academia and politics to achieve its mission to establish Switzerland as a leading European digital-innovation hub. Working with startups is an integral part of this mission which is why I was super excited to hear they would join us for an episode of our expert series. Nicolas Burer is the Managing Director of Digital Switzerland and Swiss Business Angel of the Year for 2018, and Matthias Zwingli connects startups, corporates, investors and hubs as a Startup Ecosystem Builder. In this compact half hour interview we covered questions on dealing with business angels, working with corporates and more. IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: DIGITALSWITZERLAND What problem are you solving? What’s the purpose of your company? Who are your target customers and what do you offer them? What are cooperation possibilities between Startups, Corporates and Investors BUSINESS ANGELS, BOARD MEMBERS & ENTREPRENEURS At what point should a startup start to raise money from a business angel? What does it depend on? What should an early stage founder look for in a business angel? Can you tell us about the best example of a founder asking you for money? And also the worst example? CORPORATE INNOVATION What is your experience with cooperations between Startups and Corporates? What founders / startups should look for collaborations with corporates? And why? What type of person do you think should focus on working for an innovation department, and not building their own venture? Links/Weekly recommendation:   Zurück an die Arbeit by Lars Vollmer Scale ups made in Silicon Valley (we couldn’t find a link, if you do, please let us know)   IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
44:37
March 4, 2019
SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION: From living in earth houses in Africa to finishing his PhD in Zurich w/ Oxara founder Gnanli Landrou
“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”– Gnanli Landrou, founder of Oxara IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. For today’s episode we have a chat with Gnanli Landrou, founder of Oxara (meaning ‘community’ in Kabiye). Oxara is a startup that uses construction waste, especially excavation material to build safe, affordable and sustainable housing. It is a low CO2, low-cost alternative for conventional concrete used in housing. Get ready to dive in as we discover Gnanli’s amazing life journey that led him to start Oxara. We also take a glimpse of Gnanli’s unwavering determination and his hopes for the future. We covered the following topics: GNANLI LANDROU How he left Togo at 14 and got his PhD by one of the top Universities in the world His amazing business principles and vision for Oxara The impact he wants to have with his startup, and what metric he will measure it by BUSINESS How he is planning to build a business around his technology Challenges a technological startup founder faces GO-TO-MARKET How Gnanli is acquiring first customers What the long-term vision for Oxara is Links/Weekly recommendation:   Simon Sinek’s books – Gnanli admires Simon who talks about leadership and forgetting about technology, in a sense, as he applies this to his own vision in building houses with his employees and the people that he works with. Jack Ma - Gnanli likes Jack in terms of how he structures his business to have a worldwide presence. The Lean Startup book – Gnanli recommends this book to help with your business canvas and understand all the intricacy of what it means. IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
59:24
February 25, 2019
HUMAN RESOURCES: How we can be happier at work w/ Joineer founders Nicola Ferroni & Fabian Jäger
“Get the feedback of the market. Don’t stay in your room and develop something nobody needs.”– Nicola Ferroni, co-founder of Joineer IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. Many companies today often hire employees where soft skills are often overlooked. That’s why Nicola Ferroni and Fabian Jäger, co-founders of startup Joineer, have made it their mission to change the hiring process and the future of HR. Joineer’s product aims to help companies with soft skill matching in order to hire the right candidates. We covered the following topics: THE IDEA: The origin of the idea for Joineer How the company was founded The science behind the idea SWISS STARTUP FACTORY: The accelerator program How it helped Joineer being their journey CUSTOMER ACQUISITION: The perfect customers for a tool like Joineer How the acquisition of such customers looks like THE PRODUCT: Why the team pivoted to employee surveys How Joineer is making companies better How the team measures success THE FUTURE: Discover the biggest challenges a startup like Joineer faces Get the founders’ take on the future of HR Links/Weekly recommendation:       Zero to One by Peter Thiel – inspiring how the author talks about his failures and successes. Also talks about creating not just any startup, but one that’s really disruptive.       Sapiens and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari – easy to understand and interesting to get a picture of who we are; and how in the future there is going to be superhumans and what we are going to do with it.
44:53
February 18, 2019
FAIR FASHION: Why a good product won’t sell itself w/ Dajoro founder David Rohner
“Start selling the product before you even have it.” - David Rohner, founder at Dajoro IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. Not all startups see the light of day. This is the story of Dajoro, a fashion startup focused on creating sustainable products made from pima cotton. We had a chat with David, founder of Dajoro, about how he started the project, the challenges that came along with establishing a business like this, and what made him decide to not invest in his startup anymore, despite having high-quality products. David gives a business advice or two, which we think are very applicable to anyone looking to become an entrepreneur. We covered the following topics: SUPPLY: How to find your first suppliers in a foreign country How long it takes to build a supply chain   DESIGN: Why designing clothes is not that easy How a ‘spec sheet’ can help you get the product you want How to get someone to design your clothes for free   SALES How David tried to create demand for his product Why forgetting to ‘create demand’ can kill your startup How outsourcing sales will impact your results Why you should know your sellers before selling Why you should start selling before having the product   Links/Weekly recommendation: The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – David relates it to any product that anyone tries to sell. The tipping point is that point where something suddenly out of control just becomes successful, and this book explains why it happens. IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE ---
45:08
February 11, 2019
SUSTAINABILITY: How to use someone else’s waste to build a business w/ Nicolas Huxley, founder and partner at Elephbo
“If you don’t start somewhere, you’ll end up nowhere.” - Nicolas Huxley Elephbo recycles cement bags from developing countries, mainly Cambodia. We cover where and how Nicholas got the idea for his startup and how Elephbo’s products were conceived. We also talk about the learnings and challenges of a startup, why it’s best to work with experienced people, and most of all – Nicholas couldn’t stress it enough – to start your bookkeeping and accounting early on as this can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run. IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A FIVE STAR REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST. We covered the following topics: STARTUP IDEA How Nicolas started even though he had no idea how to design clothes Recycle cement bags from construction sites Taking the leap into being a sustainable fashion entrepreneurs Nicholas’ advice for how to get started  PRODUCT EVOLUTION How Nicolas designed the first product How the focus on the lightness of the material changed everything What product ended Sneakers as main business STARTUP FUNDING: What Nicholas did to get the funding he needed How to deal with investors STARTUP TEAM Why working with experienced people is important Elephbo’s biggest learnings and challenges as a company   Links/Weekly recommendation: Biography of McDonald’s Founder, Ray Kroc - Ray Kroc hustled his whole life selling everything imaginable for 30 to 40 years  IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
47:52
February 4, 2019
FASHION: Lawsuits, and how to compete with H&M using storytelling w/ Savvy Copenhagen founder Nikolaj Rosenthal
In this episode, we have a chat with Nikolaj, founder of Savvy Copenhagen, a company based in Denmark who is one of the frontrunners in the production and sale of sustainable and organic clothing. We talk about the current shift with regards to manufacturing practices to more sustainable and eco-friendly ones and how these are even affecting the bigger commercial companies. We also dive deep into how they source their products, what their business model is, and how they are able to retain their customers by selling good quality sustainable and organic clothing that tell a story.   IF YOU LIKE THIS PODCAST, GIVE US A REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST.   We covered the following topics: NIKOLAJ & BITCOIN Why Nikolaj is getting paid solely in Bitcoin How he handles being a student, entrepreneur and professional hockey player SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING How Savvy Copenhagen is sourcing its sustainable clothes What sustainability in the fashion business really means The future of sustainable clothing COMPETITION (H&M and others) How Savvy Copenhagen competes with H&M and other big brands What launching a new product involves (it’s a whole lot!) How they retain customers to come back Why building a startup in Denmark can be a good idea LEGAL Insights into what it means to deal with a lawsuit Why investing in a lawyer at the beginning of a startup can be crucial   IF YOU DIDN’T LIKE THIS EPISODE, LET US KNOW HERE
50:10
January 28, 2019
FINANCE: The better and easier way to invest for the everyday Joe w/ Selma Finance cofounder Patrik Schär
Patrik Schär is the cofounder of Selma Finance, a digital platform that helps you invest money the right way, with a never-before-seen minimum investment amount of CHF 2’000. The platform offers online solutions and services starting at only CHF 1.20 / month and opens up the investment world to people who cannot afford a pricey face-to-face consultation with a private bank.   GIVE US A REVIEW ON APPLE PODCAST   We covered the following topics: CUSTOMERS: How you can interact with your customers and make them your best marketers How you can acquire customers more cheaply than your competitors How to handle negative reactions on the web TRANSPARENCY: How you can use transparency to improve your product and differentiate from your competitors REMOTE TEAMS: The tactics you can use to build a startup with a remote team What challenges and benefits there are to working remotely INVESTORS: What to look for in potential investors How to find the right investor STARTUP CHALLENGES: The biggest challenges and learnings for a FinTech startup in Switzerland   Here goes our weekly book recommendation: OKR (Objectives and Key Results) is a goal system used by Google and Selma Finance. It is a simple tool to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals, and a good way to start off with your idea. Check out some books on this topic here.   If you want to help us become better, give us a quick feedback: click here
56:50
January 21, 2019
BONUS EPISODE: Everything you need to know about podcasting w/ Nerd Entrepreneurs cofounder Daniel Kunz
Hi and welcome back to Startup Stories, a podcast brought to you by the Nerd Entrepreneurs. I’m your host Daniel, and today I wanted to share a particularly special episode with you. Particularly special to me because for once I was on the other side of the microphone, being interviewed by my good friend Oliver about how we are producing this very podcast.Oliver is a founder himself, and him and his team were wondering whether it would make sense to launch a podcast to share their knowledge and experience with their customers and audience. He contacted me and agreed to record our conversation, where we cover topics like Why should you start a podcast How much time goes into the production of an episode? How do we distribute our podcast? What types of marketing works best for us? How do we focus on a niche to stand out from the crowd?   Having this conversation with Oliver was so much fun and I’m super excited to share it with you now. Enjoy!
49:38
January 14, 2019
LATIN AMERICAN FASHION: From IT saleswoman to fashion entrepreneur w/ Animazul founder Karin Gutzwiller-Schreier
“When people love what they do, it’s not work. It’s just what they do.” - Karin Gutzwiller-Schreier Animazul started out as a side project while working full-time in IT sales for HP, the computer company. The platform brings latin american brands with a story and an impact to European consumers, and the products can be found on the startups web-shop or in one of the many pop-up stores around Switzerland. If you want to make this podcast better, give us a quick feedback: click here In this episode you’ll learn: How Karin managed to go from IT saleswoman to fashion entrepreneur How she got her first customers and launched with a ‘BANG’ Why you shouldn’t underestimate the power of influencers How the government can help you out, for free Why building a startup with a social impact is important Why it’s important to do what you love What Karin would do differently, looking back   Weekly book recommendation: Lean in, by Sheryl Sandberg Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg   If you want to make this podcast better, give us a quick feedback: click here
1:06:04
January 7, 2019
FASHION: How ‘unicorns’ can thrive in a male-dominated startup world w/ myProfashional co-founders Antonia Maiwald and Lena Koschek
When Antonia Maiwald saw overwhelmed and frustrated shoppers in fashion stores not get the assistance they were looking for, the idea for myProfashional emerged. Half a year later she was joined by her cofounder Lena Koschek. The team has built a platform that connects stylists, fashion bloggers and influencers aka. ‘Profashionals’ with frustrated shoppers to offer them expert advice while they are purchasing their clothes. In this episode you’ll learn: How to identify your target customer aka. your ‘persona’ How to stay relevant for your target audience How to deal with the uncertainty of a startup How women can thrive in a male-dominated startup environment How the team makes sure to keep their profashionals on the platform How the team developed the first version of their platform And so much more! Weekly recommendation: Jack Ma at Hong Kong University: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWIvNfkNdeQ The Family Association, success factors of being an entrepreneurs in Europe: https://www.thefamily.co I want to give feedback: click here
1:06:08
December 31, 2018
Special Christmas Edition w/ Nerd Entrepreneurs founders Daniel Kunz & Michel Bürki
In this episode we - the two hosts and entrepreneurs behind Startup Stories, Daniel Kunz and Michel Bürki - sat together, opened up a bottle of ginger beer and asked each other a set of questions we had prepared beforehand. We went into highly personal stuff, and can’t wait to show you what a half hour conversation between us sounds like (it’s fun!).   In this episode you’ll learn: How we think our lives will look like in 10 years Why we think we work well as co-founders Why being two business cofounders can be a good thing Why we’re okay with going six months without a salary What the most exciting thing about interviewing founders is What we think we’re doing right with our own startup What keeps us up at night And more!   Weekly book recommendation:Give and Take by Adam GrantWe really enjoyed recording this episode and are so excited to share it with you. Merry Christmas!
28:57
December 24, 2018
CARS & MOBILITY: Living on half a salary and almost losing two jobs at once w/ GOWAGO co-founders Rutger Verhoef and Léo Chevailler
“I got to choose the people that I’m working with, and I would not get rid of this for anything in the world.” - Léo Chevailler   CEO Rutger Verhoef and COO Léo Chevailler share the startup story of GOWAGO, a Swiss mobility comparison platform, that makes it easy for people to get a car for a monthly price. Before GOWAGO both founders used to work for Infinity, a premium brand of Nissan. When it came time to look at new business plans for Infinity they saw there was a real problem: people were not buying, because they were overwhelmed by the amount and complexity of information.   In this episode you’ll learn: Why it’s so important to know the industry that you’re in How the right timing helped the team land their investor How the team went about splitting up their shares How two friends can work on a business together What the difference between a CEO and a COO is Why the founders see Gowago be a source of trust in a time of autonomous driving   Weekly recommendation: Jim Rohn, motivational speaker you can find on Youtube Crazy growth hacking strategies like Airbnb, Dropbox and Paypal   BONUS:If you want to get feedback from a world-class marketing and growth mentor, check out www.growthmentor.io where you can book 30min calls with experts around the world, for just around 50.-.  DISCLAIMER: We are not getting anything out of this promotion. We just love the idea and think it could be useful to some of you young entrepreneurs out there. I want to make this podcast better, please give us your feedback and click here!
56:17
December 17, 2018
LEGALTECH: Building a company around great people w/ RightNow cofounder Torben Antretter
“Finding good people is not easy. Even if you don’t have a position and you’re talking to somebody great, try to build the organization around that person, and don’t be function-oriented.” - Torben Antretter   In this episode Torben Antretter shares the story of his legaltech startup RightNow, a company that - among other things - helps airline passengers get their money back for unused tickets. The company recently finished another round of financing, adding EUR 25 Mio. to their bank, but not everything has always been as good as it seemed.   In this episode you’ll learn: How Torben managed to finish his PhD and grow his venture into what it is today How a startup can fight in the big leagues, e.g. against RyanAir (spoiler: it has to do with law!) How the team turned a threat into an opportunity and got out of it stronger than before How lower margins forced the startup to automate their business Why the team has to be good at predicting price sensitivity of their potential customers Why Torben tries to build the organization around great people, and not the other way around Why he’s hopeful for the future of their business (spoiler: it involves new product launches!)   Weekly book recommendation: Deep Work by Cal Newport got Torben to delete most of his social media profiles. He deleted Facebook and Instagram because he recognized that it really distracted him from his goals. He is now focused on the relationships that are important to him, and calls people instead of giving out ‘likes’. His relationships have gotten much more intense, and he has gotten much more focused on his work.   Check out Torben's startups: https://www.geld-fuer-flug.de https://www.bahn-buddy.de
46:54
December 10, 2018
COFFEE WASTE: From rejection to winning startup competitions, w/ Kaffe Bueno cofounder Alejandro Franco
“Fuck investors for a while, let’s work and do this.” - Alexandro Franco Kaffe Bueno (www.kaffebueno.com) extracts valuable oil from used coffee grounds and sells it to cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical companies for half the market price. The startup has patented two technologies, has deals to collect used coffee grounds from major companies around Copenhagen, and will be expanding to France and Germany in the next years. Next year the startup will establish the first coffee ground refinery, and will be able to process 5 tonnes of coffee grounds per month for 18 months; after that, the team is planning to expand to France and build an industrial refinery in Germany, where they’ll be able to refine 100s of tonnes of used coffee grounds per month. In this episode you’ll learn: How Kaffe Bueno uses waste to create amazing value and build a business What mindset will help you deal with fuck ups How to be more organized and get shit done How to stay motivated on shitty days Why impact without profits is not a sustainable business Why Alejandro wouldn’t do anything differently, looking back And so much more! Weekly book recommendation: Winning without losing, by Martin Bjergegaard, helped Alejandro organize his time, energy and efforts and get more done The One Thing, by Gary Keller, gave him the tools to find more purpose in what he was doing, helped in prioritizing his time, and made him see the importance of the ‘non-work life’ for your ‘work life’.
51:10
December 3, 2018
Trailer Nerd Entrepreneurs Podcast
Have you ever wondered how you could turn that business idea you have into reality? Or have you already started, but would love some inspiration along the way? Well these are just two of the topics you’ll find us discussing on the Nerd Entrepreneurs podcast. We interview young entrepreneurs in Europe and talk about what it really takes to build a company. Every week, we interview founders that are in the beginnings of their business. We cover the founders’ toughest challenges and biggest learnings, as well as specific questions about their startup story. Head over to www.nerdentrepreneurs.com to subscribe on your podcast app of choice
00:44
November 27, 2018
NERD ENTREPRENEURS: How not to validate your idea, with Nerd Entrepreneur hosts Daniel and Michel
This final episode of season 1 we discuss our own projects, a mindset trainer “Leadmind” and the Airbnb for desk space “FreeDesk”, and the mistakes that we went through along the way. Both projects didn’t survive the idea validation phase and have taught us a lot about what it means to be an entrepreneur.   In this episode we discuss: Why having a long term vision is important The difficulties of solving a big problem How we deal with the lows in motivation much more!   We appreciate the support of all our listeners, and the time and openness of our guests. Thank you so much for keeping this show going and sharing your experiences with the world.   Please give us feedback and improve our podcast by answering our questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
34:47
October 22, 2018
HEALTH: Leadership in startups, with IDUN Technologies cofounders Séverine Chardonnens and Simon Bachmann
“It’s a challenge to give enough input, but not too much, and not feel like you’re doing the other person’s job” - Séverine   Simon Bachmann and Séverine Chardonnens met at ETH Zurich studying health sciences and technologies. They founded IDUN Technologies in November 2017 with the vision to produce the best electrodes for improved health and performance monitoring. To provide accurate data and be accepted by the user, a wearable device needs to have two main attributes: excellent signal quality and user comfort, and IDUN Technologies’ electrodes build on exactly that. With a team of eight people - most of them engineers - the duo is thinking long term and envisioning a future where their company focuses on brain-computer interfaces and virtual reality, among other exciting things.    In this episode we discuss: Learning how to lead a team of engineers Raising CHF 100k from family and friends (spoiler alert: use WhatsApp!) The importance of stable relationships for entrepreneurs The advantages of founding a company together and much more!   Our favorite quotes were: “I would never do a startup on my own…when you’re two people you discuss and take decisions together.” - Séverine “There’s no other way than being direct when it comes to money.” - Severine “The customers are comprehensive that we’re not perfect yet.” - Séverine “The problem with bigger companies is that they don’t customize anything.” - Simon “We’re engineers in the heart, creative people, and we still want to have the flexibility to be creative and to innovate.” Séverine “You always need a balance [in the team]. Engineers love their problems and circle around them, and that is awesome but you also need to channel it in a certain way.” - Simon “Now we hired real engineers, and they really want a perfect product before they go anywhere near a customer. And it’s our challenge to tell them that nobody will hate them just because it doesn’t look like a serial product.” - Séverine “I think there’s so much potential for our technology, and that’s what makes it exciting.” - Simon   Please give us feedback and improve our podcast by answering our questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
37:45
October 16, 2018
FAILURE: From perfect team to deadly pivot w/ Yelloh cofounder Fabian Bollhalder
“Get ready to fail. In reality it’s business, and it’s going to hurt.” - Fabian Bollhalder After graduating from University, Fabian gave himself one year to work on his business ideas. He started with a startup in the legal sector and had to experience his team falling apart because of equity issues between the founders. Next, he joined the renowned Swiss Startup Factory in Zurich, built a new team up from the ground based on his learnings, and acquired his first clients. The new product, an app called Shout, helped companies get qualitative feedback from their customers via video. When the team decided to pivot, things started to go downhill. Listen on to learn more about his experience working on the new product Yelloh, and his time in the Finnish accelerator called Startup Sauna.   In this episode you will learn: Why it’s better to talk about equity distribution before starting to work with your team How to build the perfect team How a pivot can kill your startup The importance of product-market-fit The importance of defining and testing hypotheses What to look out for when applying to a startup accelerator  How to create a good customer description   Our favorite quotes: “When we pivoted we didn’t take into consideration that our target audience would not appreciate the new value proposition we created with our product.”   “Before you’ve found product-market-fit nothing else is important.”   “If you don’t have focus, you’re going to waste all your resources.”   “When you’re first starting out, you really have to know who your customer is, to the detail.”   “Get ready to fail. In reality it’s business, and it’s going to hurt.”   “If you can’t get your team right, you can’t really get anything right.”     Other useful links: What is an MVP - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_viable_product What is a Lean Canvas - https://canvanizer.com/new/lean-canvas What is a SaaS business model - https://empireflippers.com/saas-business-model-explained/ What does NPS mean - https://blog.capterra.com/what-is-nps-net-promoter-score-explained/ What’s OKR - https://www.slideshare.net/HenrikJanVanderPol/how-to-outperform-anyone-else-introduction-to-okr   Accelerator programs: Swiss Startup Factory - https://www.swissstartupfactory.com Startup Sauna - http://startupsauna.com Kickstart Accelerator - https://kickstart-accelerator.com YCombinator - https://www.ycombinator.com Axel Springer - http://www.axelspringerplugandplay.com
41:01
October 8, 2018
FOOD: From 5 - 100 meals a day, working 12 hour days and spending $15k on a website w/ Earlybird cofounder Tim Schmid
“We look like pro cooks these days, [but] the first time we were in the production kitchen we thought we could never make it.” - Tim Schmid   Right after graduating from business school in 2017, Tim called up his two cofounders to join him, and they went live with www.earlybird.ch - a food delivery startup - in December of that year. Starting with 5 bowls of healthy food every evening, they would deliver the bowls to their customers in Zurich in the mornings. Today, Earlybird delivers 100 bowls of healthy lunch and breakfast every single day, to your office and for a lower price than the market has to offer.   You will learn: How Tim went from business studies to a food startup and working in a kitchen How Earlybird got a competitive edge over its competitors How not to build a website for your startup How to launch your website in 2 days How to convince your friends to join you as cofounders   Our favorite quotes:   “You just have to jump in, do it every day, invest time and at the end you’ll be a pro.”   “You have to have the mentality to try and do your best.”   Freelancer platforms to help you build your website: fiverr.com upwork.com freelancer.com   Please give us feedback and improve our podcast by answering our questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
31:18
October 2, 2018
BLOCKCHAIN: Quitting his job, glueing chips into shoes and revolutionizing the sneaker resale market w/ - founder and CEO of Collect-ID David Geisser
“If you don’t follow your own idea, you will definitely regret it.“ - David Geisser   In 2014 David bought a Nike shoe in San Diego (US) that he really loved. Fast forward to 2017, David is researching the same shoe on the internet to buy it again. It was a special edition, and after trying to buy it on many different platforms he ended up getting it on a platform from Hong Kong. The shoe arrived, but it didn’t look the way David expected it to look. He realized had spent $100 on a fake pair of shoes. That’s when the idea for Collect-ID was born.      You will learn: How Collect-ID will revolutionize the sneaker resale market Why you should first build a minimum viable product (MVP) What the blockchain technology is about How you can deal with the uncertainty that comes with being an entrepreneur Why David was 100% sure he wanted to quit his job How he got the first people to join his team     Bomb-shell quotes: “On the one hand I feel very free, but at the same time I feel an immense pressure to be successful.”   “I think nowadays becoming an entrepreneur is safer than having a corporate job.”   “There are a lot of fakes in this market, sometimes they even look better than the originals.”   “You should quickly start to build something. I just bought some NFC chips online, glued them into my shoes and realized, WTF it’s not that easy!”   “I would not spend too much time with research. Until you build something you cannot say if it works or not.”   “The things I learn right now will make me more attractive for a future employer.”   “Everyone else is trying to beat you or be better than you.”   Please give us feedback and improve our podcast by answering our questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
51:32
September 24, 2018
REAL ESTATE: Letting people go, throwing spaghetti at the wall and pivoting to a business-to-business model w/ IMAGO cofounder & CEO Alex Just
“It was brutal. Having to let those people go was absolutely brutal.” - Alex Just     When Alex Just cofounded PapayPods.com in 2016, the vision was to digitize the entire rental housing journey and replace property management agents. From getting a lot of initial exposure, to presenting their startup at the WebSummit finals in front of 10’000 people, the beginning seemed glorious. From that moment on, everything seemed to go downhill.     In this episode Alex shares more about this tipping point, when everything stopped working as planned, how he had to let go most of his team, and how a new opportunity allowed the team to pivot and build a new positioning.     These are just a few of the awesome insights you’ll get from this episode:     What it feels and means to have to let your team go, from taking the decision to sitting in front of your team members, delivering the message How to keep your positivity up, even when everything seems to go downhill How to focus on your core problem and validate the most important hypotheses, e.g. by using landing pages like Wordpress (www.wordpress.com), Wix (www.wix.com), Unbounce (www.unbounce.com) or any other landing page builder out there     Not intrigued yet? Here are just a few of the bomb-shell quotes from this episode:     "I’m lucky enough to have failed in every single aspect, and these failure give context. It’s become so much easier to clarify." "It was hindsight and being lucky enough to have made all these different mistakes, that gave that clarity." “What we did was kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall with different ideas, and praying something sticks, and the realization that this was not working was when nothing stuck.” "I guess there’s always a little bit of insanity in everyone who becomes an entrepreneur.” “If you’re naturally curious and enjoy learning…that’s kind of the mindset that I would be applying to this situation.” “The more failures you have, the more experience you have.” “Entrepreneurship is fun, it’s exciting, but it’s business at the end of the day."      Please give us feedback and improve our podcast by answering our questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
36:00
September 17, 2018
EDUCATION: From hotel management to the 'Tripadvisor for Education' w/ Eduwo founder Raphael Tobler
"When you are 80 years old, you don't want to regret not having pursued your idea." - Raphael Tobler Raphael Tobler is cofounder of Eduwo, the 'TripAdvisor for Education'. In this episode he shares his experience going from an education of hotel manager to launching his own startup in the education sector. KEY TAKE AWAYS 1) See how Raphael decided on the idea of Eduwo 2) Learn the story of Eduwo, the main platform in Switzerland that helps aspiring students choose their university 3) Understand the three reasons why you should start your own startup while studying If you liked this episode, please give us a share and review on iTunes and let us know what you think by answering some quick questions: http://bit.ly/nerdentrepreneursfeedback
39:24
September 10, 2018
SOCIAL BUSINESS: Successes and failures of social businesses w/ Marco Righetti
"With 20 cents or one sold product, we could provide 47 days of fresh drinking water to one person in Mali." - Marco Righetti Marco Righetti is cofounder of PROJECT AQUA and RE-COFFEE. In this episode he shares his experience working on two social startups that have both had an impressive impact on people in developing countries, e.g. by providing 47 days of fresh drinking water for a person in Mali, with just 20 cents. KEY TAKE AWAYS 1) See how Marco and his business partner decided on the idea of their first project 2) Discover a new social concept called "micro-sharing" that has already impacted the lives of many people in need 3) See how Project Aqua evolved into Re-Coffee, a socially cold brewed coffee that is being sold around Switzerland and includes micro-sharing / micro-donations to Ethiopia   If you liked this episode, please give us a share and review on iTunes and let us know who we should talk to next by sending us a short message at nerdentrepreneurs@gmail.com
38:53
September 3, 2018
SUSTAINABLE FASHION: How Cofounder René Grünenfelder built a new clothing brand around sustainability
CARPASUS cofounder René Grünenfelder shares why he started the sustainable clothing brand Carpasus with his friend, how he tackled the challenges of becoming independent and why he prefers to the option of failing (or 'tripping' as we call it) as an entrepreneur.   If you like our show, please leave us a comment or review on iTunes, it really helps us improve the podcast and help more aspiring entrepreneurs like you.
37:33
August 19, 2018
DISCOUNTS: The beginnings of Switzerland's biggest student discounts platform LEGI, with cofounder Marco Bruderer (SWISS GERMAN)
LEGI cofounder Marco Bruderer (@marco_bruderer) shares how his team tested their first assumptions and went to become the biggest student discounts platform in Switzerland, and how he deals with the challenges of leading a startup.
45:32
August 12, 2018
PRODUCTIVITY: Building a software startup w/ entrepreneur Johannes Weiss
Conode cofounder Johannes Weiss (@jo_weiss) shares how he went from having an idea to launching a software product. This interview touches on subjects such as how he keeps his motivation up during tough times, how he finances his startup, how he deals with risk, uncertainty and failure and who he thinks should become an entrepreneur. This episode is brought to you by Nerd Entrepreneurs (@nerdpreneurs). We interview young entrepreneurs and share insights into their mindsets, tactics and tools, inspiring you to take the first step on your own entrepreneurial journey. Also check out our new website and get to know like minded people that can help you answer any questions you might have when building your own startup.
43:29
July 3, 2018