Episodes

The Most Awesome Founder Podcast brings you up close and personal with some of Europe’s most successful and recognizable entrepreneurs, innovators, advisors, and educators – sharing the stories that make them who they are today. Choose an episode below. Kick back. And enjoy the show!

EP 50 – Managing corporate innovation with Andy Binns

In episode 50 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are happy to welcome Andy Binns to the show. Andy co-founded the innovation consultancy change logic and has more than 20 years of extensive experience overcoming innovation barriers in big corporates. Apart from his merits as a practitioner, he also published relevant academic work regarding disruptive innovation and CEO ambidexterity. Andy shares his insights into how corporations can drive disruptive innovation from within. He also...

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EP 49 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #6 with Elena Tsemirava

In Episode 49 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are happy to introduce our sixth talent out of this year’s accelerator cohort. After years in the corporate scenery, Elena Tsemirava recently decided to take the matter into her own hands and build her own start-up Listerly, to fulfill her entrepreneurial potential. Listerly wants to leverage artificial intelligence to automate listing products on multiple online channels, so far a primarily manual and cost-intensive process. Tune...

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EP 48 – Unpacking Innovation Ecosystems with Ron Adner

In episode 48 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Ron Adner, Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He is one of world’s leading thinkers and an award-winning researcher. he is also an advisor to companies around the world and the founder of the Strategy Insight Group. In this episode, Ron shares his research and experience with us on innovation ecosystems and throws light on how today’s...

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EP 47 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #5 with Sufyan Osamah

In Episode 47 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, Dries talks to Sufyan Osamah, who just finished the latest WHU accelerator program. With his co-founder Nikolaus Ridder, he developed HonestDog, a platform to connect reputable breeders and shelters with people who want to buy their dogs more responsibly. Man's best friend is far from a mere platitude when Sufyan speaks about how the presence of dogs, even in adverse circumstances, impacted him as a child....

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EP 46 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #4 with Raphael Derstappen

Episode 46 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast and we are thrilled to introduce Raphael Derstappen, co-founder of the live-learning platform Kursinsel. Today’s parents can keep their children busy with a bunch of electronic devices, games, or apps. However, Kursinsel wants to offer more than temporary entertainment for kids. The platform assists parents in letting their kids explore their passions and interest independent of location or time via live & guided online courses. How...

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EP 45 – The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #4 with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

In episode 45 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are back with the fourth episode of the Awesome Founder Inspiration Sessions with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems. Continuing the format from the previous episode, they discuss a few thought-provoking topics: - How does virtual work affect creativity? - Do flexible work opportunities have inherent biases? - Can the introduction of a middle management layer actually drive innovation in startups? - How can startups become more competitive when...

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EP 44 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #3 with Ege Gündüz

In episode 44 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we interview Ege Gündüz, another young and driven entrepreneur from our WHU accelerator. Ege is co-founder of liftOS (formerly 10lift), a startup that wants to foster collaborative and more engaging HR processes. Join to hear how Dries and Ege discuss work experiences during Covid-19, issues with B2B business models, and the challenges driving digitization in HR. We hope you enjoy this episode!

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EP 43 – Exploring Organisational Ambidexterity with Julian Birkinshaw

In episode 43 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Julian Birkinshaw, a leading researcher in the field of entrepreneurship and a Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School. In this episode, Julian will discuss his research on how companies need to balance alignment and adaptability to keep up with a rapidly changing world. He will also walk us through his findings on what made big successful companies like Oracle adapt...

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EP 42 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #2 with Chenchen Cao

In episode 42 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we interview another exciting entrepreneurial talent from the WHU accelerator. Chenchen Cao is co-founder of Power Mind Club, a startup that wants to improve couple relationships through counseling offers and a caring community. Chenchen and Dries discuss mental health as a vital part of Power Mind Club and the day-to-day entrepreneurial business. Tune in when Chenchen tells how her startup is trying to overcome the...

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EP41 – From Toddlers to Tonies with Marcus Stahl

In episode 41 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Marcus Stahl, WHU alum and Co–Founder of Tonies. Marcus had a long stint in the telecommunication and automotive industry before becoming a founder and co-founding Tonies. In this episode, Marcus goes through his journey from taking 3 years to perfect the Tonies box to eventually taking the company public via SPAC. He emphasizes how being naive helped him and his co-founder in building the...

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EP 40 – The Most Awesome Founder Talent Recordings #1 with Anand Raj

In episode 40 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we proudly introduce our first entrepreneurial talent of this year’s WHU Accelerator cohort. Anand Raj, co-founder of Joyon, wants to do his part to democratize education by building a platform for small content creators of live online courses. In this episode, Anand talks about the long journey that led him from being a software engineer in India to being a first-time founder in Germany. Find out...

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EP 39 – Curating Emotional Experiences with Christian Gaiser

In episode 39 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Christian Gaiser, WHU alum and Co – Founder at Numa. Christian is a serial founder and an angel investor and is currently changing the way people travel by curating emotional experiences. In this episode, Christian goes through his journey as a founder and an investor and talks about his itch to build things. He also talks about the founder – market fit, how...

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EP 38 – Learning From Your Customers with Jochen Ziervogel

In episode 38 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Jochen Ziervogel, WHU alum and Co – Founder at Enpal GmbH. Jochen had a short stint in investment banking before entering the startup ecosystem and eventually founding Enpal – a unicorn disrupting the renewable energy industry in Germany. In this episode, Jochen goes through his founder journey and shares key learnings with the listeners. He throws some light on how the founders came up...

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EP 37 – The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #3 With Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

In episode 37 of the WHU's Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we present the third episode of the Awesome Founder Inspiration Sessions with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems. Continuing the format from the previous episode, they discuss few thought-provoking topics: - Generalists or specialists – what type of founders have an edge in fundraising? - The science of selling – how to leverage psychological principles to level up your sales process! - Do socialwelfare schemes encourage or discourage entrepreneurship? -...

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EP 36 – The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #2 With Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

In episode 36 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we present the second episode of the Awesome Founder Inspiration Sessions with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems. Continuing the format from previous episode, they discuss few hidden gems of thought-provoking information where each speaker would identify three items to discuss, one item that made them learn something, one item that made them think and one item that made them laugh. The episode is full of interesting ideas,...

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EP 35 – Unpacking Venture Capital with Christian Meermann

In this episode of WHU's Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Christian Meermann, Founding Partner at Cherry Ventures. In this episode, Christian goes through his journey from being a WHU student to CMO at Zalando and eventually founding Cherry Ventures. He shares a few learnings from his journey and throws light on the German venture capital ecosystem. He also discusses what VCs are looking for in a founder and what founders should look for in...

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EP 34 – The Awesome Founder Inspiration Sessions With Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

In episode 34 of the WHU's Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce a new format of the podcast with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems. Being well connected in the academia and startup ecosystem of Germany, they often receive requests from their network to share suggestions about interesting research, books, and podcasts on entrepreneurship that are current and relevant. In this episode, they discuss few hidden gems of thought-provoking information where each speaker would identify three...

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EP 33 – Fostering Corporate Innovation with Christoph Krois

In this last episode of Season three of The Most Awesomefounder podcast, we introduce Christoph Krois, mission driven corporate entrepreneur and founder and co-head of the Siemens innovation ecosystem. Christoph’s mission is both an ambitious and a challenging one, driving innovation projects at one of the world's largest companies. We'll be talking open innovation, leveraging the unfair advantages of scale, driving rapid change in naturally slow moving organizations and building innovation teams that can...

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EP 32 – The Love of the Game with Nathan Evans

In episode 32 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Nathan Evans, Kellogg-WHU eMBA alum, Director of the Founder Institute Munich, and cofounder of eCommerce financing startup, fulfin. We’re discussing Nathan’s journey from studying physics to the trading floors of London, from FinTech product management to building his own high-growth venture. This conversation with Nathan was absolutely awesome - full of rich stories, metaphors, and wisdom. We even discussed the similarities between poker and entrepreneurship!...

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EP 31 – Peak Performance for Entrepreneurs with Eric Partaker

In this episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast we introduce Oliver Aust, one of Europe’s leading communications and personal branding experts, and former Head of Communications at Easyjet. He is the founder and CEO of Eo Ipso Communications and co-host of Speak Like a CEO, the category-defining podcast on CEO communications. Oliver helps CEOs and leaders build unignorable personal brands and businesses, drawing from his experience advising a wide range of organizations from...

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EP 30 – WHU Accelerator Team Introduction (2/2)

As in our last episode, we’re doing things a little bit different in this week’s Most Awesome Founder Podcast. Today, we introducing not one founder, but many. If you tuned in for episode 29, you know that on May 17 we launched the first cohort of the inaugural WHU Startup Accelerator. This intensive 7-week, mentor-driven, and equity-free program provides the best and brightest startups from the WHU community with rocket fuel for their new ventures,...

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EP 29 – WHU Accelerator Team Introduction (1/2)

We’re doing things a little bit different in this week’s episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast. Today we are introducing not one founder, but many. As you may have heard, on May 17 we are launching the first cohort of the inaugural WHU Startup Accelerator. This intensive 7-week, mentor-driven, and equity-free program provides the best and brightest startups from the WHU community with rocket fuel for their new ventures, culminating in a July 2...

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EP 28 – Design Thinking with Alex Grots

In episode 28 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Alex Grots – entrepreneur, innovator, creator, and expert in the art and craft of Design Thinking. We discuss Alex’s fascinating career from being a paramedic to working in the music industry; from building his first startup during the dot-com bubble to leading world-famous design agency IDEO in Germany; and from co-founding the high-growth IoT-venture ProGlove to advising innovation projects across the globe. Alex is...

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EP 27 – Mastering Communications for Startups with Oliver Aust

In this episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast we introduce Oliver Aust, one of Europe’s leading communications and personal branding experts, and former Head of Communications at Easyjet. He is the founder and CEO of Eo Ipso Communications and co-host of Speak Like a CEO, the category-defining podcast on CEO communications. Oliver helps CEOs and leaders build unignorable personal brands and businesses, drawing from his experience advising a wide range of organizations from...

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EP 26 – Finding Flow as a Founder with Valerie Bures-Bönström

In episode 26, we introduce Valerie Bures-Bönström, PhD in computer science, mother of three, cofounder of Mrs. Sporty Fitness Clubs, founder/CEO of Pixformance Sports, and now, founder/CEO of interactive fitness mirror company, Vaha. We’re discussing Valerie's founder journey, her passion for the fitness industry, the analogs between athletics and entrepreneurship, and one of Gerrit's favourite topics, flow. Valerie is an incredibly successful and driven founder who undoubtedly has that Midas touch! Her passion for entrepreneurship,...

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EP 25 – Open Innovation with Henry Chesbrough

In episode 25 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Henry Chesbrough - Director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, Adjunct Professor at the Haas School of Business, UC–Berkeley, and Chair of Open Innovation at Luiss Guido Carli in Rome. We’re discussing the origins of the concept of open innovation, its implications in business today, the roles of startups, and the interrelationships of open innovation, open source, and intellectual property.

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EP 24 – Building Digital Communities with Cory Warfield

In episode 24 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Cory Warfield, entrepreneur, connector, founder of ShedWool and LinkedIn Leadership Influencer with over 250.000 followers. Cory and Gerrit met almost 5 years ago when mentoring Cory’s startup ShedWool at an accelerator in Colorado. Since then Cory grew his startup to 20+ employees, built a massive LinkedIn follower base and launched numerous new ventures from his vast professional network. In this episode, we are...

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EP 23 – Building meaningful company cultures with Freya Oehle

In episode 23 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Freya Oehle, WHU alumn, co-founder of the online shopping tool startup Spottster, and current co-founder of digital transformation consultancy 3tausendsassa. We are discussing Freya's founder journey, from WHU to building Spottster with a school classmate, to a unique exit and to building a new startup with the same team she build her previous one. Freya is a high-energy entrepreneur, with the passion and...

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EP 22 – Decoding Innovation Theater with Steve Blank

In this episode of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Steve Blank - legendary entrepreneur, author, adjunct professor at Stanford University, and father of the customer development / lean startup method. We're discussing Steve’s founder journey, but more importantly, the concept of innovation theater - those incubators, accelerators and corporate innovation labs that look slick from the outside, but are often lacklustre in producing tangible results.

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EP 21 – Tackling Stigmas With Entrepreneurship with Lia Grünhage

In this episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Lia Grünhage, WHU alum and founder of Avery Fertility, a Berlin-based startup that provides both women and men with top-notch education and care around fertility planning and treatment.  We will be discussing Lia’s founder journey, her evolution from Amorelie management team to becoming a founder herself, the challenge of tackling cultural taboos like sexuality and reproduction and so much more. 

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EP 20 – Founding People-Centric Ventures with Robert Ermich

In this episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Robert Ermich, founder of DeinHandy, OnTruck and an exciting new stealth startup in the healthcare space. 

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EP 19 – Diversity in Entrepreneurship with Gesa Miczaika

In this episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are sticking with stories highlighting the importance of diversity and entrepreneurship. Today, we introduce Gesa Miczaika, entrepreneur, investor and partner at German’s first all-female VC firm Auxxo.

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EP 18 – Revolutionizing Pet Health Care with Mareile Wölwer

In this second episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Mareile Wölwer, WHU alumn and co-founder of Berlin-based animal health care company Vetevo. Mareile's entrepreneurial journey took her from her family farm in Mayen, to studies at WHU, to the fast-paced world of being a venture-backed founder in Berlin. 

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EP 17 – Linking Artificial Intelligence and Skin Care with Franziska Leonhardt

In this first episode of season 3 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Franziska Leonhardt - entrepreneur, attorney, WHU alum, and founder of Berlin-based, AI-driven personalised skin care company, AVE + EDAM.

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EP 16 – An Engineer’s View of Non-Technical Founders with Teddy Pejoski

In this last episode of season 2, we introduce Teddy Pejoski - entrepreneur, engineer, and guru at bridging the technical / non-technical divide. He is the founder of Crack Your Screen (an app with over 20m downloads), the software studio GSIX, a code academy, an engineer placement and recruiting platform, a funky sock company, and a new “no-code” technology called ENZYME.

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EP 15 – The Art of Lean with Tristan Kromer

In this episode, we introduce Tristan Kromer - San Francisco-based entrepreneur, innovation advisor, and Lean Startup guru. Tristan’s journey is a fascinating one - from touring musician to marketing executive, startup coach to innovation advisor for massive multinational companies.

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EP 14 – Entrepreneurship, Investment, and the Art of Guanxi with Erik Schäfer

In this episode (recorded in early 2020), we introduce Erik Schäfer, serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and part of WHU's first graduating class of 1988. This guy has done some stuff. From founding a consultancy while in uni to linking German capital to early Silicon Valley companies; from building mines in Australia to greenhouses in China, Erik is one of WHU’s true O.G. entrepreneurs.

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EP 13 – Founder-Market Fit with Martin Heibel

In this episode (recorded in January 2020), we introduce Dr. Martin Heibel, WHU alum, serial entrepreneur, ecosystem builder, and currently, cofounder and Managing Director of Ciara - a virtual assistant for sales development reps and inside sales teams.

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EP 12 – Starting From a Problem with Jannes Fischer

In this episode (recorded in October 2019), we introduce Jannes Fischer - WHU alum, Forbes 30 under 30 and Founder and CEO of Zenhomes (with its brands Vermietet.de and Hausio), Europe's fastest growing digital property management platform.

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EP 11 – Rocket Fuelled Growth with Tobi Tschötsch

In this episode (recorded in November 2019), we introduce Tobi Tschötsch - Founder & Managing Director of Contorion - an B2B online marketplace for industrial and trade supplies. We’re talking about Tobi’s fascinating startup journey from WHU to Rocket Internet/CityDeal/Groupon to founder of a company acquired for over 100 million Euros.

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EP 10 – Medical Cannabis in Germany with Thiago Cäsar

In this episode, we introduce Thiago Cäsar, Head of Business Development of Cansativa, the leading importer and wholesaler of medical cannabis in Germany. Thiago is responsible for ensuring supply from all over the world in this extremely regulated industry. So if you're interested in insights into the emerging and extremely competitive cannabis industry you should definitely listen to this episode.

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EP 9 – Seed-Stage Investing with Stephan Schubert

In this episode, we introduce Stephan Schubert, WHU alum and founder of Onvista and IS.Teledata, to name a few. He is currently founder and Managing Partner of STS Ventures, an investment firm he established to manage his business angel activities.

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EP 8 – Merging Content and Technology with Verena Hubertz

In this episode, we introduce Verena Hubertz, WHU alum and cofounder of Kitchen Stories. Kitchen Stories provides delicious, step-by-step photo and video recipes through their beautiful and user-friendly web and mobile applications.

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EP 7 – Acceleration and Angel Investing with Jag Singh

Jag Singh is Managing Director of Techstars Berlin and one of Europe’s most active angel investors. He is the former MD of the METRO Retail Accelerator, founder of numerous companies, mathematician, political strategist, ad-man, and a true global citizen who is fluent in six languages. He’s also likely the smartest guy in the room.

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EP 6 – Building Tech as a Non-Technical Founder with Philipp von Hammerstein

Philipp von Hammerstein is an entrepreneur, educator, software developer, and WHU alum who has spent the past decade either founding or growing technology ventures. He holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from WHU and full-stack developer certification from Le Wagon Coding Bootcamp.

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EP 5 – From Idea to IPO with Tim Thabe

Dr Tim Thabe is an entrepreneur, credit finance guru, and cofounder of SME lending platform, creditshelf. After nearly a decade in credit risk management with a number of global banks in Germany and Switzerland, Tim decided to take on the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program - which helped pave the way for his rocket-fueled entrepreneurial journey.

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EP 4 – Tech Transfer Startups with Patrick Vogel

Patrick Vogel is an entrepreneur, investor, and longtime friend from my family’s hometown of Lindau. He is a cofounder of Autonomos, an early-to-market autonomous driving company that was acquired by global mapping giant, TomTom in 2017. Patrick’s journey to entrepreneurship is an interesting one, spinning a startup out of the Free University of Berlin with a group of university researchers. Proving himself to be an invaluable business mind in a highly technical setting, Patrick...

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EP 3 – Startup Growth Strategy with Marco Vietor

Dr. Marco Vietor is an entrepreneur, investor, and proud alumni of WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management. He is cofounder of audibene (aka Hear.com), the world’s largest online seller of hearing aids. Since launching in 2011, audibene now employs over 1000 people, grosses over $100m in revenue each year, and has offices across the globe serving millions of customers facing the ever-growing challenge of hearing loss.

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EP 2 – Legal Considerations with Sven Greulich

Sven Greulich is a technology lawyer that advises companies on complex, cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital investments, and general corporate counseling. His clients include tech companies of all stages as well as investors at all points of a company's life cycle. He also counsels major corporations on their European expansion projects.

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EP 1 – Early Stage Startups with Joerg Rheinboldt

Joerg Rheinboldt is Managing Director of APX, the Axel Springer/Porsche Plug and Play Accelerator. Joerg’s entrepreneurial journey began in 1994 when he founded his first company, Denkwerk. He later went on to cofound Alando AG (with Oliver Samwer), which was acquired by eBay barely six months after launching. He then spent the next five 5 years as the Managing Director of eBay Germany before cofounding the nonprofit, Betterplace in 2007.

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