Founding startups successfully: personality and experience decide


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Copyright:  Image material was created with a smartphone made available free of charge by our sponsor HTC, which we checked as part of the test until it was unusable. . Photo location: Witten-Herdecke University (to present the cooperation with Masterplan.com).

Richard Branson once saidthat his business ideas always arose out of personal frustration. Various studies also show how much personality and experience impact start-up success. 2 success examples.

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The best business ideas are created in pubs

If you follow Masterplan.com founder Daniel Schütt, then the best ideas are created in pubs. For example, the first idea for their first Company meinpraktikum.de, which he developed together with Stefan Peukert when the two were talking about the quality of internships. This resulted in Employour GmbH with additional portals, which was sold to Bertelsmann subsidiary Gruner & Jahr in 2015 for a double-digit million amount.

The founders could actually have retired now, but - again in a pub - developed the idea for Masterplan.com in 2017. The online platform offers video courses in cinema quality for professional further training specifically in companies.

Employees should learn digital skills

And also this foundation was born from personal experience. In the early years at Employor, the two founders had outsourced many services to external companies and lost a lot of money. Therefore, they decided to motivate their employees to become active themselves:

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“Everyone had to learn something from a specialist area about digitization and give a lecture on it.” In this way, the company gradually acquired digital core competencies and became more independent. Schütt therefore advises other companies: "Do as much as you can and hand as little as possible to service providers".

Teaching skills for the working world of the future

With Masterplan.com, Schütt and Peukert have set themselves the goal of helping to shape the current economic and social changes and to convey the right skills for the working world of the future. The core topic: digital skills.

In the search for suitable online offers, the two had found that previous video learning offers did not meet their quality requirements. "We also noticed that technical knowledge is less important than the right attitude and organization, and that's exactly what we want to convey in our courses."

Ability to teach self-taught learning

And a third learning was necessary to optimize the offer: “Many employees find it difficult to teach themselves something. We have developed an online course for them that teaches self-taught learning. ”

Holtzbrinck Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures, Elmx-Bertelsmann's CEO Gunter Thielen and the CODE University of Applied Science's Thomas Bachem were among the investors to win. Among the speakers are prominent digital experts - among them Sibyll Brüggemann from Klarna, Florian Heinemann from Project A or Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens.

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OnlineCourses complement university offer

In September 2018 Masterplan had completed a round of financing for 6 million euros. In June 2019 then another success: The digital transformation course of the online platform is part of the study offer of the University of Witten-Herdecke. The 40 employee strong Bochum start-up grants the 2.500 students full access to its contents. These are included in the regular studies in certain degree programs via a graded module. Upon successful completion, students receive credit points.

The approximately 8-hour digitization video course in cinema quality is designed to make it easier for students to get into work or to become self-employed. The Bochum start-up also trains employees of large companies such as Siemens, the OTTO Group or Deutsche Bahn with the same course. The goal is to make all participants capable of discourse and to be open to change.

Driving social change

"We are already planning to roll out this model at other universities," explains Daniel Schütt, who, like his co-founder Stefan Peukert, is an alumnus of the university. "Our mission is to make the German economy fit for the future. That's why we start with the decision-makers and decision-makers of tomorrow. "

This shows the basic philosophy of the Masterplan.com company: "In the past, successful companies were always those who have fundamentally changed social behavior," explains Daniel Schütt, who, in the wake of the digital change, is fundamentally realigning the working world away from specialist knowledge for more humanity and empathy believes: "In the end, being close to the customer is decisive for the success of the company."

Customer proximity determines the success of the company

Customer proximity is also the philosophy of Daniel Marx and Daniel Krahn, who founded the bargain portal Urlaubsguru.de in the summer of 2012 - rather by chance during a barbecue on a balcony in Unna. Because both had good jobs at this time. But Daniel Krahn's passion and skill in finding and making the most of the best travel deals on the internet and the IT skills of Daniel Marx have resulted in a blog about cheap travel deals.

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At first, the whole thing was intended only as a hobby and a side job, but after two years it was a limited liability company with several employees and the secure jobs were already terminated. Without start-up capital, investors and a business plan, the site has been constantly evolving with growing success. For customers and media were aware of the cheap deals by word of mouth and spread this steadily. No wonder, then, that Marx and Krahn bet on measures that are rather unusual for a digital company in order to continue to establish customer proximity:

A digital company goes offline and trains

For example, through offline marketing and sponsorship measures eg Borussia Dortmund as well as with actions at city festivals, by which, according to Marx, a higher reach can be achieved than with comparable price-wise online campaigns. And because customers kept coming to the company headquarters to receive personal advice, the company finally opened two own shops in Unna and Münster, where customers can arrange their travels according to their wishes by appointment.

In the meantime, almost 200 employees work for Uniq GmbH at three locations, which in addition to holiday guru and holiday guru sites in many countries also operate the portals Fashionfee, Prinz Sportlich, Captain Kreuzfahrt and Mein Pet and - also rarely for a start-up - training company in the future shall be.


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