“Stephan is founder and CEO of FLIO, focusing on digital airport experience.
Stephan is an associate in the machine learning track of Creative Destruction Lab of the University of Toronto. Previously, Stephan founded Qype which he built into Europe’s largest local review website. Qype was acquired by Yelp in 2012.
He founded several other companies such as short-term lettings platform 9flats.com. 9flats in 2016 acquired competitor Wimdu which was then sold to Wyndham. Stephan also co-founded Germany’s leading eco-marketplace avocadostore.de – which he exited in 2017.
Earlier in his career, Stephan held top management positions at well-known internet companies such as lastminute.com, bild.de and docmorris.com.”
First and foremost I am an entrepreneur, and I love life in all it’s forms and shapes. If we ever meet, here are some topics for conversation:
(1) Startups: Since 1997, I have envisioned, funded, built, restructured, exited, traded and mentored startups. If you (like me) believe that you can become an expert in anything if you give it 10,000 hours, then I have slightly moved past that goal with more than 30,000 hours with startups. I love sharing this experience with true entrepreneurs.
(2) Investing: – a big part of the past couple of years were spent investing: in public markets, in startups. I am a value investor at heart, not because it seems fashionable now, but with long and hard training and sometimes painful learnings.
(3) Artificial intelligence or rather machine learning if termed correctly. This field is at the same time over hyped and poorly understood. Since Mid 2016 I have focused my learning on machine learning. I am an associate in the ML track of the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto, one of the best AI programmes in the world. I invest in AI startups via Density Ventures. Machine learning is what databases were 30 years ago: a core technology that will change everything over time. It is great to be part of this.
(4) Urbanism and Mobility: having spent a huge part of my life in relatively efficient European cities, I am at the proud of European cities which are much denser, greener, and have traditionally phenomenal public places, better public transport than other parts of the world. But at the same time are often slow to adapt to the new realities like biking, electric scooters or the need to rediscover public space. As this is largely a political subject I have not found a way to get involved as an entrepreneur. In a second life, I would probably want to become an urban planner where you can still influence things. As a Victorian Gentleman, I would probably have lost my last shirt investing in the London Underground and died happily.
(5) International relations: Having spent most of my time in Europe and thereof mostly Germany, I have a keen interest in the countries around us, I am a big believer in the European Union. I often feel that entrepreneurs and business people should not just focus on where their export markets are, but much more on international security and the need to defend our values.
The things I wish I knew how to do, but haven’t had the time or energy to learn are: flying a plane, playing the piano, or becoming really great in the kayak.