Co-Founder of Karl Karlo and Hungry Ventures
Hometown: Hannover, Germany
Fun Fact About Yourself: At 6’4, I’m the smallest among my siblings.
Undergraduate School and Major / Degree programme: FHDW Hannover – B.A. in Business Administration & Insurance
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your life so far: I’d have to say that there are two:
– Having exited my first venture.
– Being cash flow positive from day 1 and having created 7 jobs at my current venture.
Was Entrepreneurship always your career goal? Not at all! As a teenager, I was extremely fascinated by reinsurance. Thus, I started off in the industry and spent the first four years of my professional life reinsuring hotels in the Caribbean. That’s the career I initially thought I was going to pursue.
Throughout my studies at ESMT and by being exposed to Berlin’s vibrant startup ecosystem, however, I started to become more and more interested in and got extremely excited about entrepreneurship!
What led you to pursue an MiM at this point in your personal development? At the time, there were two main factors: my academic curiosity and the tremendous employability associated with having a MiM degree.
How did you decide if a MiM was worth the investment? Looking at the academic rigor, reputation, and network of a top-tier business school, I never had any doubts about the MiM being worth the investment.
What other MiM programs did you apply to? How did you determine your fit at various schools? None. Initially, I was planning to apply to a handful of schools in the UK and in Germany, but wanted to get a feeling for the schools before applying. ESMT was my first stop and just felt like the right place for me – so I decided: That’s where I want to be!
What was the key factor that led you to choose this Masters in Management and why was it so important to you? In addition to its location and the integrated internship, I chose ESMT because of the extremely international student body and the university’s emphasis on a social market economy and stakeholder value.
Tell me about your venture: I founded my first venture, Karl Karlo, because my co-founder Henrik and I were unable to find the right snack to boost us through energy slumps. Thus, we quit our jobs to create what we were looking for: organic, environmentally and socially sustainable energy balls. Within the first 6 months, we were able to secure shelf space in Germany’s largest supermarket chain and aboard an airline. Being a boot-strapped startup, we then needed a strategic partner to enable further growth. We found that partner in Melitta, who ended acquiring the whole brand at the beginning of 2019.
Today, I am continuing my entrepreneurial journey at a different venture: Hungry Ventures: An innovation consultancy and venture builder for companies in the food industry. Our clients include corporates such as Mondelez, Ritter Sport, and EDEKA. We’ve spun off Hungry Ventures in November 2019 and have grown our team to 7 people since then without raising any external funding.
How has your business school experience helped you in creating and launching your business? Being at ESMT has helped me tremendously. Not only has it given me the necessary technical tools, but also the confidence to become an entrepreneur. In addition, ESMT’s network and alumni are a great asset and have opened various doors for me.
What activities/experiences have most benefitted you on your entrepreneurship journey during your time at business school? Looking back, there are two main activities. First, the fact that ESMT is teaching by the case method which fostered my entrepreneurial thinking. Second, the integrated Social Impact Project which I completed in Lima, Peru. It showed me how much a motivated team can achieve in a very short amount of time – even, when starting from scratch.
What quality best describes the MiM classmates you’ve met so far and why? The quality that best describes my classmates would be reliability – I could always count on them.
What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies? Hard work and dedication pay off.
What are the next steps for you / your entrepreneurial venture? Being primarily focused on supporting clients from the German-speaking countries at this point in time, internationalizing the business will be the next big step for Hungry Ventures.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Continuing to lead Hungry Ventures!
DON’T MISS: MEET THE MIM ENTREPRENEURS OF 2020