Next Steps…

I deliberately took a while while to decide how I want to work and where to get involved. I pondered to join a VC (too far away from the business) and looked at direct investments in other people’s ideas (sometimes felt I could come up with better ones myself). I enjoyed the last couple of months with discussions with fellow entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and would be founders and now it is time for the next steps.

I said that I would only be interested in businesses which make life easier for everyone, make markets more efficient and disrupt the status quo; or help reduce emissions.

So here is the news:

We have identified several business concepts that fit the abovementioned criteria. True to what I said earlier, neither of them will involve dating or gambling. None of the concepts is a clone of something that works somewhere else, so there is considerable risk involved, but also ample opportunity.

For all businesses, we will be looking for entrepreneurs to launch and manage them. They will be able to count on input and advice, and will get enough freedom to run their businesses. And they will get reasonable shares to make them real entrepreneurs. Upspring will provide ideas, know how, infrastructure and seed funding.

So from now on, we will be scouting the market for real founders with

  • great business accumen,
  • team spirit,
  • lot’s of potential
  • at least 2, but no more than 5 years of job experience.
  • An excellent business education
  • and demonstrated entrepreneurial skills.

Locations will be Hamburg and Berlin. Do contact me via xing if you know of someone. If you want to apply, send a CV via Xing.

Business ideas that excite me.

Finally getting to talk to people again. Discussing ideas, market developments, the underlying trends, barriers to entry, business areas worth disrupting and all these things just plain fun for me.

I will get bored eventually as I prefer to do things instead of talking about doing things, but for the moment I enjoy the conversation. Most of it, at least. People have been trying to drag me into their ventures and ideas and a surprising number of people, even good friends, have pitched business ideas and concepts that are just not for me.

So, here is what I find interesting:

(1) Businesses that make life easier for everyone

When I started working on  TravelChannel in 1998, I wanted to make it easier to book flights. We build the first engine that could compare flights in two totally different pricing mechanisms – the official IATA tarrifs and the so called grey market in one go, enabling people to find the cheapest flight.
Qype was started from  a similar starting point: If everyone starts telling everyone about their experience in restaurants, butcher shops or dentists, then there will be less bad experiences.

Bigger examples that fit this category. Google, Flickr, Facebook, you name it.

(2) Business that make markets more efficient and disrupt the status quo
The fun being involved in DocMorris, Europe’s largest mail oder pharmacy that delivers prescription drugs and allowes people to save was that it worked against the existing distribution structure with it’s extremely high cost to the public.
Qype also is ideally positioned to challenge existing near-monopolies like the yellow pages in each market to give local businesses more efficient advertising.
Other examples that make markets more efficient: Ebay, of course. But also craigslist, hitflip , nestoria and many others.

(3) Businesses that help us to reduce emissions
Together most other people on this planet, I am convinced that we are in a massive climate crises ,  and that mainly our carbon emissions are at a suicidal level.
I am therefore  – like many other entrepreneurs I know – particularly interested in businesses that help us reduce our carbon emissions. This is where I do most my research at the moment.
So I will try to combine my background – a degree as mechanical engineer –  with my experience in business-to-consumer internet and starting up companies.
Here I am not alone. Look at people like John Doerr, Shai Agassi, the Google guys with google.org – lot’s of inspiring examples.

In summary: Useful, disruptive, saving the environment. These are the discussions I enjoy and the businesses I will get involved in.