Meet... Christian Leybold an expert on Venture Capital
Christian Leybold, a venture capitalist, will speak at PICNIC Festival 2012 and give a masterclass for entrepreneurs on how to inspire venture capitalists and investors, attract funding, and “go global”.
How are you involved in promoting the concept of "new ownership: the shift from top down to bottom up"? What specific projects are you working on that relate to new ownership?
For start up companies such as those in our portfolio, we see the shift from top down to bottom up as an especially important part of business. In contrast to big corporations, key personnel in a start up usually has options within the company. You see, every single employee is disproportionally important not only to the company’s success but also to the survival of the start up as a whole. When we invest in a company, we always make sure that a significant option pool is reserved for employees. That’s a key success factor.
Furthermore, every single customer during a start-up's early days is extremely important to the company’s development. In a first beta test, many start ups get in touch directly with the customers to ask for their feedback. In my opinion, that’s the best way to learn about your customers: it’s worth more than any market research. Consequently, the customer has huge ownership in start ups (without probably being aware of that).
What companies or organizations do you think "get" new ownership and are at the forefront of this mega trend in terms of their products, services, experiences and business models? Why have they been successful?
The rising peer2peer space definitely "gets" ownership. Concepts in this space heavily rely on customers that share/sell products/services to other customers, so among their “peers”. One company in this segment is our portfolio company 9flats. At 9flats, private people rent out rooms, couches or whole apartments to travellers. In my opinion, this revolutionizes the travel and especially the hotel industry and it makes the users rely upon each other and not on big corporations. Sharing idle capacity devotes most of the ownership to the buyers and sellers and always offers a unique alternative to industries that are dominated and controlled by large corporations. In our opinion, this is one of the most effective reactions which prove that customers have lost faith in big non-transparent corporations.
3) Why did you agree to speak at PICNIC? What are you hoping to bring to the event? What are you hoping to get out of participation?
PICNIC has always been a “must-attend” event in the tech scene. It has a very special atmosphere that makes discovering new trends and people very special and of course, lots of fun. In return, I hope to be able to share some of my insights in the venture capital scene in the US and Europe during the Marketplace at PICNIC. I hope to connect with many people that are involved in entrepreneurship and might need some input/advice in that area.