The Most Awesome Founder Podcast is a show about entrepreneurs, innovators, advisors, and educators, and the stories that make them who they are today. We are brought to you by the WHU–Otto Beisheim School of Management Entrepreneurship Center in beautiful Vallendar, Germany.
EP 55 – Leveraging TikTok to build customer-centric platforms with Annika von Mutius
Episode 55 presents Annika von Mutius, a driven and motivated entrepreneur with an affinity towards technology. We were delighted to hear about her journey, building the first fully automated headhunter, Empion. Annika and her co-founder Larissa recently raised €2.4 Mil pre-seed funding with WHU alumnus Michael Stephan as a board member and angel investor.
Annika and her co-founder Larissa quickly understood the importance of matching culture, skills and values between applicants and companies, which led them to build Empion. By quantifying the tasks of a headhunter and both automating and personalizing the process for applicants, they connect the right individuals efficiently.
Tune in to find out more about their journey, in what sense their Ph.D. was of value, practicing a customer-centered approach and how they aspire to grow Empion via TikTok.
We hope you enjoy this episode!
(0:52) Dries’ introduction of Annika
(2:18) Annika’s personal entrepreneurial story
(5:10) What did you learn in Silicon Valley that you didn’t learn at WHU?
(6:41) How Annika networks
(8:35) What decisions lead to jointly found Empion with Larissa?
(11:20) Does your Ph.D. add value to what you’re developing right now?
(13:30) A more detailed Explanation of Empion
(17:00) How are you assessing your product market fit?
(22:00) Understanding the customer
(23:00) How do you use analytical tools to understand the customer and product market fit?
(25:22) What is the strategy behind being active on LinkedIn
(28:30) The relevance of TikTok
(29:25) How do I create content for TikTok?
(31:09) What do you see as the added value being connected to WHU?
(35:10) What would be your advice that you would give to your younger self?
(38:23) Why analytical thinking might be in your way
(39:12) Book recommendation
EP 54 – The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #6
In Episode 54 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we returned with the 6th inspiration session with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems.
Sticking to the format of sharing something they learned, made them think, and made them laugh, Gerrit and Dries discuss the following captivating topics:
- MBA Students and their effect on work in startups
- In what sense the “cigar butting investment strategy” can be implemented today
- What academic research about entrepreneurship is still missing
- The new OECD innovation policy for Germany
- The issues of digitalization in Germany
- How to boost the productivity of a PhD Student
We hope you enjoy listening to this podcast episode, filled with thought-provoking takeaways, just as much as we did producing it!
Sources are listed on our website: www.mostawesomepodcast.com
(0:53) Gerrit's introduction
(2:55) Something that made Dries learn – “The Lean Startup Approach” & MBA Students
(3:51) Gerrit’s explanation of “The Lean Startup Approach”
(5:12) “The Lean Startup Approach” in practice and research
(8:58) MBA students and how they affect the usage of “The Lean Startup Approach”
(11:55) How MBA students bloom in a startup
(15:00) Extending the research question to different startup industries
(18:28) Something that made Gerrit learn – the cigar-butting strategy in investing
(24:00) Warren Buffets' philosophy in “cigar butt investing”
(27:00) Downsides of “cigar butt investing”
(32:03) Does the cigar-butting strategy also work in our increasingly digitalized world?
(37:14) Does the cigar-butting strategy also work in startup investments?
(38:53) Something that made Dries think – academic research on entrepreneurship
(42:41) What are the academic scholars missing on entrepreneurship?
(45:39) Is rigor or relevance more important in entrepreneurial academic research?
(57:20) Something that made Gerrit think – New OECD innovation policy in Germany 2022
(64:00) Core problem in Germany is the low investment in digitalization
(67:00) Is the lack of digitalization in Germany a governmental or cultural problem?
(70:36) Something that made Dries laugh – what makes a PhD student productive?
(74:46) Graduate students’ relationships with professors in EU vs. US
(78:12) Something that made Gerrit laugh – PostcardMania reaction to Hurricane Ian
(81:26) Wrap up
EP 53 – Shaping company culture with Moritz Weisbrodt
In Episode 53 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are happy to interview Moritz Weisbrodt, a serial entrepreneur with experience in various industries like food, health, and logistics. His latest company Alaiko, a fulfillment-as-a-service company, just announced a 30 million series A funding round this year.
Talking as a generalist, Moritz knows the importance of corporate culture in different market environments and along different lifecycle stages. How can culture be actively shaped, and what are ways to implement it? Tune in when Moritz shares his key learnings about the essential value basis of Alaiko and gives advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
We hope to fulfill your expectations with this episode!
(00:48) Dries’ introduction of Moritz
(02:04) The entrepreneurial journey of Moritz
(04:34) Do future founders already show entrepreneurial traits in their childhood?
(08:22) How did founding as a generalist work out for Moritz?
(11:05) What were setbacks that fostered major learnings?
(17:27) How is Alaiko developing employees into cultural ambassadors?
(23:20) Recruiting as a building block for culture in a start-up
(27:40) How to stay true to culture and values in challenging market conditions
(34:02) Do empathy and heartiness constitute differentiators to competition for Alaiko?
(35:23) Implementing customer centricity
(39:21) Moritz shares his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
(43:30) What podcast or books would Moritz recommend?
EP 52 - The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #5 with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems
Episode 52 features the fifth edition of the Awesome Founder Inspiration Session with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems in which they share what makes them think, learn, and laugh.
This week they touch on some of these thought-provoking topics:
- Post-money valuations of unicorns
- Elon Musk’s opinions about geopolitical problems – is there an economic calculation behind it?
- What are two of the most exciting high-tech companies?
- Why does Adam Neumann, founder of wework, still get money?
- The possible explanations ad implications of “quiet quitting”
- Body odor & chocolate bunnies
We hope you enjoy the show!
Sources are listed on our website: www.mostawesomepodcast.com
(1:01) Introduction to the episode
(2:49) Something that made Dries learn – Post money valuation of unicorn
(08:20) The findings of the paper
(10:05) Gerrit's take on arbitrary startup valuations & founder's perspective on this issue
(14:23) The danger when funds overvalue private startups & addressing governance issues of startup investing
(18:02) Something that made Gerrit learn – Elon Musk's erratic stances on geopolitical issues
(25:07) Discussing the semiconductor companies TSMC & ASML
(35:37) Something that made Dries think – Exploring diverging entrepreneurial cultures in the case of Adam Neumann
(45:57) Something that made Gerrit think – The trend of quiet quitting of Gen Z
(50:49) Quiet quitting as a form of economic optimization?
(56:42) Something that made Dries laugh – Similarity in body odor at its effect on friendships
(1:03:57) Something that made Gerrit laugh – The case of Lidl's chocolate bunnies
EP 51 - From entrepreneur to enabler with Sebastian Pollok
In episode 51 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Sebastian Pollok, WHU alum, Co-Founder of Amorelie. He is currently Founding Partner at Visionaries Club, a Berlin-based VC.
In this episode, Sebastian shares his journey with us, which was filled with many ups and downs. Sebastian has been through everything from declining a job offer at BCG to interning at Google in the USA to finally living in a dorm to work on his startup. He will share how he disrupted a complex and fragmented market through Amorelie and eventually made a big exit. He will also walk us through his VC firm – Visionaries Club and give us a sneak peek of how they are supporting startups who are trying to make a huge dent in the world.
We hope you enjoy listening to the episode as much as we had while producing it.
(01:04) Intro of Sebastian Pollok
(03:50) Sebastian’s founder journey
(24:44) Did Sebastian envision the acquisition offer?
(29:03) How did Amorelie deal with the stigma around love toys?
(32:10) Sebastian’s post-Amorelie life
(35:07) What is Visionaries Club?
(41:23) How is the Tomorrow fund structured?
(44:37) Is being a VC like being a founder?
(46:54) What advice would Sebastian give to young entrepreneurs?
(49:41) What books would Sebastian recommend?
(51:32) What is cycling on Sebastian’s playlist?
EP 50 - Managing corporate innovation with Andy Binns
In episode 50 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are happy to welcome Andy Binns to the show. Andy co-founded the innovation consultancy change logic and has more than 20 years of extensive experience overcoming innovation barriers in big corporates. Apart from his merits as a practitioner, he also published relevant academic work regarding disruptive innovation and CEO ambidexterity.
Andy shares his insights into how corporations can drive disruptive innovation from within. He also talks about how corporate innovation explorers differ from classical entrepreneurs and the challenges of idea scaling.
We hope you have fun exploring this exciting episode!
(01:20) Intro of Andy Binns
(02:50) Andy’s early career in consulting and co-founding Change Logic
(07:35) Large corporations as a driver of disruption
(11:12) How do companies self-disrupted themselves?
(15:22) The need for separation in balancing structural ambidexterity
(19:22) How do corporate innovation units successfully handle the layers of ambidexterity?
(21:40) What kind of manager types are needed for corporate exploration?
(28:50) A new generation of managers for corporate innovation
(36:20) Gerrits and Andys discuss experimentation & failure in corporate
(43:30) Moving from ideation to idea scaling phase
(48:10) What are the challenges in the practice of structural ambidexterity?
(51:30) Discussing the case of the German automotive industry
(56:17) What advice would Andy give to young entrepreneurs?
(58:55) What books would Andy recommend?
(1:00:36) What is cycling on Andy’s playlist?
Great podcast if you are interested in the topic of entrepreneurship
Love this Podcast
Lots of very good Interviews, that helped me to understand what entrepreneurship and startups are really about.
Inline Bob Sports Systems