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.
In my last blog post, I presented some ideas for determining the split of a startup’s shares among the founders. Another question that should be addressed in this context is the vesting scheme for founders’ equity: basically, what happens when a founder leaves the company earlier than expected?
A German startup I’m working with is preparing for its initial incorporation. In this context, the topic of how to allocate shares between founders came up. In Germany, startup teams often default to allocating shares equally between founders. However, that is not always fair and may lead to resentment in later stages. In this article, I’ll share some ideas that are used by tech startups in the US.
This week, I came across a great article on the True Ventures blog about hardware-focused startups – why we see more and more of them these days, why True Ventures loves to invest in them, and what founders of hardware startups need to do differently.
Well, in my last blog post, I reminisced how in the nineties, Geoffrey A. Moore with his book “Crossing the Chasm” established the reference model for high-tech market entry and growth strategies.
His thinking quickly became common knowledge in the valley. Often times this was implicit knowledge – even people who had never read the book acquired the concepts “by osmosis”.
However, with the end of the dotcom boom, “Crossing the Chasm” seemed to go a little bit out of fashion.
That’s why I found a recent article by Andy Rachleff very interesting: “To Get Big, You’ve Got to Start Small.” In this article, Andy points out that “Crossing the Chasm” still has valuable messages for us today.
Geoffrey A. Moore: Crossing the Chasm, 2nd Edition 2002
When Crossing the Chasm by Silicon Valley consultant Geoffrey A. Moore was first published in 1991, it quickly became the marketing bible for high-tech.
It was a perfect fit, especially for the type of business model that dominated the startup scene in the 90ies: complex IT products – hardware, software, or mix of both – that required quite expensive R&D and typically were sold B2B through a enterprise sales force.
One key insight presented by Moore was this: innovative technology solutions often require their users to change habits or processes.
And since individuals and organizations are typically resistant to change, a startup trying to sell such a solution was initially fighting an uphill battle with the majority of its potential customers.
Europäische Startups haben es oft schwer, eine aggressive Wachstumsstrategie zu verfolgen, denn hohe Risikokapitalsummen sind im Vergleich zu den USA doch deutlich schwerer zu bekommen.
Umso ermutigender finde ich die Geschichte von Delivery Hero. DeliveryHero geht auf das deutsche Startup lieferheld.de zurück, hat nach wie vor seinen Hauptsitz in Berlin und ist inzwischen in 12 Ländern rund um den Globus vertreten.
Mehr zur beeindruckenden Wachstumsgeschichte von Delivery Hero (in englischer Sprache)
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