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 61 – Leveraging startup failure learnings with Kilian Karrasch

Kick off the year right with startup guidance from the successful WHU founder Jan Reichelt. His successful entrepreneurial journey began with Mendeley and has led him to reach two consecutive acquisitions. After his own founding, he began investing as an angel and has now moved towards venture capital. Listen and learn more about Jan’s journey, what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in diverse countries, how to live the entrepreneur lifestyle successfully, and...

Play Episode

EP 60 – Building two mergers in fourteen years with Jan Reichelt

Kick off the year right with startup guidance from the successful WHU founder Jan Reichelt. His successful entrepreneurial journey began with Mendeley and has led him to reach two consecutive acquisitions. After his own founding, he began investing as an angel and has now moved towards venture capital. Listen and learn more about Jan’s journey, what it’s like to be an entrepreneur in diverse countries, how to live the entrepreneur lifestyle successfully, and...

Play Episode

EP 59 – Building an app that hooks with Niklas Brackmann

The last episode of 2022 and we are very excited to share our first recording in front of a live audience. Dries interviews Niklas Brackmann, co-founder of the amateur football app Prematch. Niklas talks about how hooks help create social platforms, how implementing a shared culture in a young venture looks and about WHU supports activities for entrepreneurs. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Play Episode

EP 58- The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #7 with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

Episode 58 features the seventh edition of the Inspiration Session with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems in which they share what makes them think, learn, and laugh.  This week they touch on some of these thought-provoking topics:  - How to measure personality with your digital footprint - Is fake it till you make it the right strategy to use as an entrepreneur? - How can the chance of burnout be reduced? - Should...

Play Episode

EP 57 – Building diverse success stories with Daniel Hanemann

Welcome back to episode 57 with serial entrepreneur Daniel Hanemann! The WHU Alumnus Daniel is a successful entrepreneur, as seen in his current role as founder/CEO of Wundertax. You’ll, however, also find him as an investor, comedian, and polyglot. Listen and learn more about Daniel’s founder journey, what it’s like to be an international entrepreneur founding in diverse countries, how to leave startups, what WHU Alumni get wrong while founding, and further tips and...

Play Episode

EP 56 – Educating about innovation ecosystems with Axel Deniz

Episode 56 and we are excited to welcome Axel Deniz to the show. Axel has extensive experience building digital products and has led numerous digital innovation projects with large multinationals. Currently, he is Director for Corporate Development & Innovation at PwC, leading open innovation strategy & corporate venturing. Tune in when Axel talks about the resilience of business ecosystems, the role of external infrastructure, and how specific frameworks help to implement ecosystems in the firm...

Play Episode

EP 55 – Leveraging TikTok to build a customer-centric platforms with Annika von Mutius

Episode 55 presents Annika von Mutius, a driven and motivated entrepreneur with an affinity towards technology. We were delighted to hear about her journey, building the first fully automated headhunter, Empion. Annika and her co-founder Larissa recently raised €2.4 Mil pre-seed funding with WHU alumnus Michael Stephan as a board member and angel investor. Annika and her co-founder Larissa quickly understood the importance of matching culture, skills and values between applicants and companies, which...

Play Episode

EP 54- The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #6 with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

In Episode 54 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we returned with the 6th inspiration session with Gerrit McGowan and Dries Faems. Sticking to the format of sharing something they learned, made them think, and made them laugh, Gerrit and Dries discuss the following captivating topics: - MBA Students and their effect on work in startups - In what sense the “cigar butting investment strategy” can be implemented today - What academic research about entrepreneurship is still missing...

Play Episode

EP 53 – Shaping company culture with Moritz Weisbrodt

In Episode 53 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we are happy to interview Moritz Weisbrodt, a serial entrepreneur with experience in various industries like food, health, and logistics. His latest company Alaiko, a fulfillment-as-a-service company, just announced a 30 million series A funding round this year. Talking as a generalist, Moritz knows the importance of corporate culture in different market environments and along different lifecycle stages. How can culture be actively shaped, and what...

Play Episode

EP 52- The Awesome Founder Inspiration Session #5 with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems

Episode 52 features the fifth edition of the Awesome Founder Inspiration Session with Gerrit McGowan & Dries Faems in which they share what makes them think, learn, and laugh. This week they touch on some of these thought-provoking topics: - Post-money valuations of unicorns - Elon Musk’s opinions about geopolitical problems – is there an economic calculation behind it? - What are two of the most exciting high-tech companies? - Why does Adam Neumann, founder of wework, still...

Play Episode

EP 51 – From entrepreneur to enabler with Sebastian Pollok

In episode 51 of the Most Awesome Founder Podcast, we introduce Sebastian Pollok, WHU alum, Co-Founder of Amorelie. He is currently Founding Partner at Visionaries Club, a Berlin-based VC. In this episode, Sebastian shares his journey with us, which was filled with many ups and downs. Sebastian has been through everything from declining a job offer at BCG to interning at Google in the USA to finally living in a dorm to work on his...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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....

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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!

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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? -...

Play Episode

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,...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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!...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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,...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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,...

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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...

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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. 

Play Episode

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. 

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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. 

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode

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.

Play Episode