Having grown up in the North West of Germany, I headed for England’s North East in 1998 to read for a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Physics at Durham. Fluent in English, German, French and Spanish, with a predilection for data analytics, looking across Europe for the best entrepreneurs and companies remains second nature to me to this date.
Looking for a faster pace life, I joined an Anglo-German investment bank, where I got my first exposure to entrepreneurialism. However, it was my time in Berkeley, California, where my entrepreneurial bug really awakened. “Challenge the Status Quo” remains a core value for the Haas Business School and I still find this verbatim incredibly inspiring, for not all change is good, but by challenging the old ways you can identify better ways to tackle a given problem.
Many of my friends have become entrepreneurs since then. Collectively the experiences include both tremendous successes and disappointing failures, and it is the latter that has helped me appreciate how hard it is to scale a company and that no one can handle all aspects of growth alone. That is why at Frog we are continuously striving to build out our scale-up expertise, either as individual team members, or through our operating partner programme, which provides specialists to help our entrepreneurs succeed in the specific challenges they are facing.
Since returning to Europe in 2008, I have seen an accelerating wave of data generation and availability. The smart analyses of these data (did I mention I like data?) continue to enable scaling companies to take better decisions. And I’m convinced that this means that investors in scale-up companies should be able to make better returns than in the past at better understood (read: lower) risks.