Hendrik runs our new office in Berlin. He previously worked for a Berlin-based venture capital fund and as an Entrepreneur in Residence at a SaaS start-up; at FI, he has worked on projects for FTSE100 clients across CPG, supply chain, energy, and health-tech. Hendrik is an economist by training and started his career in politics before getting involved in Berlin’s thriving tech scene.
1. — What motivates you?
Right now we have an opportunity to redefine how we want to live and work with a digital transition that’s affecting every aspect of society and our economies. Corporates can have a huge impact on this and I’m really excited about bringing Founders Intelligence to Germany — German corporates, especially the German ‘Mittelstand’, are some of the most innovative companies in the world and can push real change at scale. Plus, Berlin is the second biggest tech hub in Europe and there’s so much going on.
2. — What is your entrepreneurial power?
First, I’m a deeply optimistic person and believe in the power of human imagination and creativity to solve the most pressing problems. Second, I am very pragmatic about things. In previous roles I learned about the importance of fast feedback cycles and constantly validating ideas and hypotheses. A lot of corporates still make the mistake of putting together internal research teams and strategizing internally for too long, as opposed to going out, trying ideas in market and collecting feedback early.
3. — What lesson would you have for leading companies?
From my experience with corporate ventures and corporate/start-up partnerships I believe that having the right structure around your innovation capabilities and teams is probably the most important factor to increase the probability of success.
Many corporate ventures fail because they don’t have the right incentive structures and are highly dependent on corporate budgets and internal politics. In order to make corporate venturing work you need a structure that gives a high level of independence, a multi-year commitment and a long-term vision that is not influenced by any corporate budgetary cycles (find more of our thinking here).
This is similar for corporate/start-up partnerships. Without having a clear process, budget and a long-term vision on what you want to achieve you’re likely to waste everyone’s time and end up with disillusioned parties (find more of our thinking here).
4. — What do you love about FI?
I love being part of the Founders Forum family and the incredible network that comes with it. Our setup and access is very unique in Europe and I’m proud to be part of it. But what I like most is being surrounded by super smart and energetic people.
5. — What have you engaged with at FI?
I’ve worked on some very exciting corporate ventures that tackle huge problems in retail and health care, and on a couple of partnerships in the logistics space that promise to have a huge impact on their organisations.
I really enjoy co-authoring our monthly newsletter (subscribe here) and co-lead our marketing and social media initiatives.