July 16, 2020

“Founding a startup is really a journey of self-discovery”

On 6 July, the Speaker Series went into its second round. This time, the joint format of STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play, ARENA 2036, and the University of Stuttgart had the motto “From the idea to a successful startup”.

The first speaker was Jeff Burton, one of the founders of Electronic Arts (EA), via live connection from California. As someone who has been active in the startup scene since the 80s, he shared some entertaining but also informative episodes from the time EA was founded: From time-outs in which the office quickly became a playing field, to marketing measures such as team photos in Beatles look, to the traditional “Friday beer & wine meetings”. Burton’s advice to founders includes the following: “Always be honest and straightforward with yourself, even if it doesn’t benefit you.”

Afterwards, Konrad Wenzel, founder and Managing Director of nFrames, gave an insight into the work of the startup, which is a regional player from Stuttgart and develops software for 3D reconstruction from images. “Founding a startup is really a journey of self-discovery. It’s similar to traveling - it’s about broadening your view and being able to adopt new perspectives. And as for my self, I can say that the most interesting thing is to get to know yourself and the limits of your own comfort zone,” Wenzel related.

Dr. Philipp Gneiting, Head of Open Innovation and STARTUP AUTOBAHN at Mercedes Benz, took part in the subsequent virtual discussion session. Prof. Alexander Brem, holder of the Chair of Entrepreneurship in Technology and Digitalization at the University of Stuttgart, took up questions from the audience as a moderator: What is lacking in Germany that would be necessary in order to generate more startups? Where are the unicorn startups in Germany? Gneiting commented that the mindset in Germany is still an issue, as is the lack of large investments. Another aspect is the still widespread fear of theft of ideas, said Burton. But this fear has already decreased significantly over the past ten years. “Try to achieve the greatest impact you can imagine. Change the world!”

Save the date – the next Speaker Series will be taking place on 5 November 2020.

On 6 July, the following people took part in the 2nd Speaker Series (clockwise, from top left): Konrad Wenzel, Alexander Brem from the University of Stuttgart, Philipp Gneiting, and Jeff Burton.
On 6 July, the following people took part in the 2nd Speaker Series (clockwise, from top left): Konrad Wenzel, Alexander Brem from the University of Stuttgart, Philipp Gneiting, and Jeff Burton.
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