1. The Idea
The initial idea is the foundation for any successful company. Andreas Tschas, CEO and co-founder of the Pioneers Festival explains, “ First, you need to think about why you are doing what you plan to do. What problems am I going to be able to solve with my startup?” Once a potential solution has been found then the financial benefits will follow. Tschas sees the startup Lightsail Energy as the perfect example. “Wind turbines only produce electricity when they spin. If there is no wind then there is no electricity. Lightsail Energy has developed a fall-back function for this. Energy is stored in compressed air which creates heat energy and it is then used when the wind turbine is not spinning.” It is no secret that you can earn a lot of money in the energy sector with this kind of innovation.
The best ideas are worthless if you don’t have the courage to implement them. Andreas Tschas quotes the commonly used term amongst startups - “Just f*cking do it”- to support this, and explains: “If you stay on the ball, keep fighting and always question yourself critically, then you will always find people willing to give you money. You just need to have passion.” Well-off people, who may well be potential investors, are never hard to find. “They mostly don’t know what to do with their money. There is nothing really attractive out there at the moment. A startup investment can therefore be very interesting.”
3. The Team
The team is one of the most important elements of a successful startup. “You really need to think long and hard about what skills these people are bringing on board when you hire them,” declares Tschas. “It is useless to have a lot of employees with the same skills.” Interdisciplinary thinking is the keyword. It is also essential that all of the values fit together. “A company is like a marriage, you are together all the time, every day at the beginning.”
4. The Community
Always keep an eye open as you progress through your career, accept help, and connect. The community is more important with startups than anywhere else. “You can easily take part in a startup event and get to know people that can help you. This can help you avoid mistakes that you may have made without the necessary information. The community is very welcoming, and very open. You should really take advantage of this,” recommends Tschas.
“You need to accept that it is not going to be a walk in the park,” grins Tschas. Even he has had to accept setbacks along the way. What you take from these is what is important according to him. “You can learn an incredible amount from failure. The first idea is often met with failure or doesn’t develop the way you would have wanted. Failure comes with the territory, and you are even more respected in America if you have suffered a failure. It is something that is part of being a businessman there. The same cannot be said about Europe, where failure can often harm your reputation. But if you don’t try, then you will never find out if is the right idea.”