As a high school student, I already had a passion for business. I created all kinds “side hustles” to jazz up my rather small pocket money. Among them: a market place for console games, a (granted: very seasonal) fire cracker business, as well as a high school newspaper, and the occasional “service business” of ball-boying on tennis courts while on family vacation.
In college I founded the first student entrepreneurs club in Austria. For my master’s thesis I researched employee incentive programs in startups in Denmark. Towards the end of my studies of business informatics it was crystal clear to me: I want to be an entrepreneur.
To become professional in one of the most important competencies of any entrepreneur – sales – I moved to Munich (a city I had always loved) and joined the sales team of an IT outsourcing company.
After four very educational and successful years, I moved to Vienna where I would go on to found or co-found three companies in the following years. Two of those companies raised venture funding of over 3 million Euros from investors in the US, Austria and Germany. Among them, the investment fund of European e-commerce billionaire Oliver Samwer and his brothers.
Some of my most valuable and formative time as an entrepreneur was my time living in Silicon Valley for half a year. I learned things that substantially influence my level of success ever since. I learned by observing and talking to successful entrepreneurs. But most importantly, I learned by being fortunate to win a handful of highly successful business people as personal mentors.
Those mentors showed me what it means to “pay it forward” – to help younger entrepreneurs by sharing knowledge. I experienced it myself, how essentially important their knowledge and support was for my own entrepreneurial success. This inspired me to start my initiatives (see here) that focus on helping young founder and innovators succeed.
Never stop. And always: keep up that startup spirit!