Interview with mentor Gil Breth
Why have you committed yourself as mentor? From your perspective, what makes STARBUZZ special?
Having started my career as entrepreneur in the Ruhr region, it is an honor to be a STARBUZZ-mentor. Having moved from a different part of Germany to this region, I know very well how attractive this region is. During my studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, I have witnessed often that initial reservation was overcome and a lot of friends have found their new home inside this region. What makes the region special and exciting is the density of businesses, universities and opportunities for leisure activities. The region is marked by constant change and an interesting diversity of people that meet and join forces in order to make a difference.
The history and diversity of the region, the network of businesses and the access to a large talent pool are only some of the advantages that I see in STARBUZZ. Even more important is that STARBUZZ contributes to the positioning of the region as an important startup-hub in Germany and beyond.
How can you support startups in your role as mentor? How will TechHub Europe support startups as partnering company of STARBUZZ?
As a mentor, I will support startups in all of their development stages to the best of my ability. I am a hands-on person, meaning that entrepreneurs can approach me with all issues or questions that arise in order to work out the best solutions. This also implies that they will get an honest and unfiltered feedback on their product, appearance and (sometimes) their self-perception.
TechHub Europe offers a technology stack that is of high interest to startups, especially in the “mobile enterprise” sector. We can provide different building blocks for mobile that consist of a software development kit for apps, standardized API’s and back-ends. Especially fresh startups often make the mistake of either choosing too old or relatively untested technologies. After one or two development cycles they then realize that they have either chosen the wrong technology or that the appropriate knowledge was not available at the time they made their decision. Our experienced team can support startups to make the right decisions and advise them on the best technology stack.
Why would you advise startups to apply for STARBUZZ?
Because there are three important reasons to do so: partner network, region and independence.
STARBUZZ has an excellent network of partnering companies, universities and research institutions. Startups have access to relevant partners in order to test products, services and technologies in early stages with specific customer segments. The second aspect is the region. In terms of infrastructure and proximity to universities, startups have the best conditions to build their team and have low overall transaction costs in one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. Third, STARBUZZ is independent. When I was asked about getting involved, it was important to me that the program is not “yet another accelerator”. Startups in early stages need time to develop and advance their business model. The independence of STARBUZZ guarantees that a good startup team and product is not dependent from short- or medium-term corporate strategies.
What do you expect from startups that apply to STARBUZZ?
I expect three things: focus, focus and focus! This means a) a deep understanding of their market, b) their target group, and c) complete dedication to their product. What I do not want to see is “mee-too” products. I expect teams with solutions that have a precise story and concentrate on a specific use case. Often, entrepreneurs with a technological background tend to present a “hawker's tray” of possibilities. I am looking forward to meet STARBUZZ-startups that concentrate on solving real problems of their clients and not on numerous features for the version 1.0 (MVP) of their product.