Interview with mentor Anja Sommerfeld


Why have you committed yourself as mentor? From your perspective, what makes STARBUZZ special?

I am co-founder of an IoT-company (azeti Networks AG, 2006) that is Business Angel- and VC-financed since 2009. I am responsible for sales in the D/A/CH-region. The company has international locations, including Silicon Valley. As mentor, I want to share my experience as co-founder of a startup, provide access to my extensive network that ranges from medium sized businesses to investors. My expertise in sales, especially b2b, as well as sales motivation and rhetoric is something that I believe to be of high interest to startups.

How can you support startups in your role as mentor, Startup Co-Founder and CEO of ruhr:HUB?

Based on my experience as co-founder of azeti Networks, I can provide a lot of insights into investment rounds, negotiations with investors, how to manage several business angels as investors, and on internationalizing a startup. Further expertise lies in business development and sales, targeting small and medium-sized businesses, and how to explain complex products to customers. I can provide use cases in different digitalization fields; help with segmenting target groups and in focusing on specific verticals.

As CEO of ruhr:HUB GmbH, an entity that aims at strengthening the startup-ecosystem in the Ruhr region, I can also provide access to a broad network of corporations, investors, scientific institutions and other startups. Startups can also participate in our events.

Why would you advise startups to apply for STARBUZZ?

Networking is a very important tool to speed up the development of a startup. STARBUZZ offers access to an extensive and excellent network of mentors. From my perspective, a startup will not survive being a “loner”.  Therefore, it is of high importance to start building up a network early on.

What do you expect from startups that apply to STARBUZZ?

Product, service or solution doesn’t need to be perfect. To achieve this, the mentor network will provide sufficient support, covering all business aspects. Uncertainty, fear, doubts and other aspects are part of starting up. This is another aspect, where founders are backed by the mentor network in terms of mental support and in advising on the personality of an entrepreneur. I expect that startups are driven by an entrepreneurial spirit. With genuine passion, a lot can be achieved. A little spark can become a shining fire.


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