START summit started with 350 participants

22.03.2013 11:14

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The Start Summit is the biggest Swiss start-up conference organised by students. The event started this morning. The first highlight was the key note of Klaus Hommels.
The sun was shining brightly today as 350 participants gather in St. Gallen for the START summit. Most of them are students and start-up founders but there are investors and representatives of corporations too.
 
The event started with a real highlight: a speech by Klaus Hommels. Klaus Hommels is a venture capitalist based in Zurich. He focuses on seed and early-stage investments in the internet industry. He has made early stage investments in some very successful internet businesses such as Skype and Xing. His current investments include Facebook and Spotify.
 
In his keynote Hommels shared several of his insights and experiences. The first part of the talk focussed on the personality of an ideal internet entrepreneur. Hommels thinks that the ideal person is passionate, persistent and humble. The last trait may be a little bit surprising. But Hommels had seen CEOs who were driven by vanity instead of passion for their business and this were not the best motivation for success.
 
Hommels spoke also about Do’s and Don’ts for young internet companies. His main points:
  • Do crazy stuff – don’t be too conservative
  • Learn to program – it gives you a feeling of what is doable and what is not
  • Select a really good investor – a good investor can support the company with know-how and contacts to important people
  • Meet older people and cooler people and make use of their experiences and ideas
  • Get known for one thing – do not realise all of your ideas, concentrate on the best
  • If you feel weird about something during a relationship be ready to end up the relationship
  • Live cheap – reduce expenses
 
Hommels spoke also about the background of the typical successful entrepreneur. The typical CEO is between 25 and 29, has a technical background, has a non-intact family background (knows that the sun is not always shining) and comes from a rural environment.
 
The next speaker at the START Summit was a successful internet entrepreneur: Fridtjof Detzner, CEO of Hamburg based Jimdo: To his own surprise he has the background Hommels mentioned.  
 
Jimdo is a company offering a very easy to use Do-it-yourself kit for making websites. The company grew fast to 140 employees and Detzner spoke about the challenges of the fast growth. One of the most interesting tips he gave was to build small cross-functional teams that act like small start-ups. Another interesting way Jimdo discovered to help the employees to stay passionate was to hire a Feelgood Manager who cares for the employees.
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