An Interview with Dr. Michael Keppler, Business Angel and Co-Founder of ICON Supply Chain Management
While attending the mentoring circle at CyberForum Karlsruhe, I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Michael Keppler. He is a mentor, business angel, co-founder and former CEO of ICON Supply Chain Management, Karlsruhe.
Dr. Michael Keppler
Together with a friend from the University of Karlsruhe, Dr. Keppler started ICON in 1992 and developed the company to become technology leader in the supply chain planning and collaboration domain.
Dr. Keppler and his co-founder managed the company through the key transitions that characterize a high-tech enterprise business: from the startup stage with a lot of custom project work, to a scalable products business, and finally, to the exit, selling ICON to E2open in July 2013.
His experience is invaluable to startup founders. So thanks to Michael for sitting down with me and sharing some of his lessons learned, as well as his take on Southern Germany as a location for tech startups.
Lean Startup is becoming more and more mainstream in the startup world in Germany as well, and consequently, the first Leancamp in Stuttgart is coming up on August 3. There’s a new software app that supports Lean Startup in the enterprise, and Lean Startup made it on the cover of the Harvard Business Review.
On March 19, the annual Technology Day of the Munich Network took place for the 8th time. This event is one of the key events for the German VC scene. In line with a recent trend in Germany, this year’s conference focused on Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) and accelerators (conference program – in German language).
My background is in the IT industry, where – at least from a global perspective – CVCs traditionally are not the dominant force, since there is a lot of capital available from independent venture capital firms. Therefore, it was quite a surprise for me to see how important CVCs have become in other industries and in the German venture funding scene.
Here are some highlights I took away from the conference.