Saloon Talks: Values and Democracy in Germany & Europe

30th October 2018

By Conor Scanlan and Jens Düing

Last Thursday evening, Frog Capital co-hosted the fifth edition of Saloon Talks with our co-investor in McMakler, Cavalry Ventures, in Berlin’s Soho House. Saloon Talks brings together entrepreneurs and investors in the tech industry with leaders in other fields. Previous editions have included several highly accomplished and inspirational speakers such as Torsten Kriening and Thomas Schachner (the duo behind Mission To The Moon) and Gregor Hohberg (the initiator of House of One – the project to build a house of worship for Christians, Muslims and Jews). This occasion was no different with Düzen Tekkal delivering a powerful and thought-provoking talk on “Values and democracy in Germany and Europe? The threat of the evil twins: right-wing and Islamic extremists” as well as an emotional clip from her most recent documentary on the plight of Yazidi (a Kurdish minority) women and children captured by ISIS.

As Founder and Chairwoman of the non-profit organisation Háwar, Düzen has devoted her life to these women and children. First by raising awareness of the grave situation they face, then by helping to free them and, ultimately, by empowering them. The venture community (both on the operational and investment sides of the table) can often feel like a bubble in which raising that next round of funding or releasing that next new product feature are thought of life-or-death moments; Düzen’s talk provided an important moment of perspective for those in the room to understand that our struggles truly pale in comparison.

Switching back to our VC hat, the event was a great success, bringing together around 80 of Germany’s and Europe’s best operators and investors. Furthermore, it reinforced Frog’s commitment to Germany as a core geography, and one where we continue to be impressed by the quality of the companies and people.

“It was nice to meet a host of senior decision makers in this more exclusive setting, and especially hearing about the incredible struggles of Yazedi women. It put our entrepreneurial challenges into perspective.” Lukas Pieczonka (Managing Director & Founder, McMakler)

The event also served as an opportunity for Frog to debut our Scale-Up “Collective Experiences & Observations” booklet in Germany which centres around the tried-and-tested methodology we have seen help guide some of Europe’s best entrepreneurs through the start-up phase and into the scale-up phase of their businesses. From the methodology’s core tenants around Execution, Planning, and Resilience to powerful letters from CEOs to their younger selves, the booklet provided welcome reading the audience.

We look forward to co-hosting another Saloon Talks in the near future!