Old for new?

An interview with Luis Hanemann, Partner at e.ventures

Luis Hanemann was CMO at Rocket Internet for many years and is now active as a partner at e.ventures, in the field of venture capital and as founder trust agent

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Now you can no longer say that we are at the beginning of digitalisation - because we are right in the middle of it. What do you currently see as issues that companies need to catch up on quickly?

There are a lot of issues, depending on the industry and business models, of course. What everyone has to work on is building digital competence in-house. This means becoming an attractive employer for digital talent. The most common positions are often developers and talents with data analytics skills that are missing here, but people who can develop new business models are also in high demand.

Otherwise it is very important to be close to your customers, the companies that have direct access to customers will have the margins in the future. Take the examples like Airbnb/Uber/Check24, they all don't have classic products in the sense of flats/car/service contracts, but they are the starting point for consumers and they are very close to the customers. This is what makes these companies so valuable.

You say that start-ups are close to the customer. In order to know what the customer wants, there has to be an exchange with the potential end customers. How do B2B start-ups do it in the initial phase? Are there enough companies open to participate in beta phases, pilot projects and "new products"?

Especially in the initial phases, the exchange with potential end customers is extremely important for start-ups. They help to make the product even better, generate initial sales and collect feedback.

Good B2B startups get in touch with their potential target group early on. There are many different ways to get in touch with your target group, from direct contact via networks such as Linkedin or Xing to attending industry events. The cooperation with the innovation departments of the relevant groups often bears fruit.

I can only encourage companies and medium-sized enterprises to try out and test the products of start-ups. That way, you will always stay on the cutting edge and not be overtaken at some point.

Do you have a tip for us on when it is worthwhile for a company to rely on a service provider who can carry out individual programming and when it makes sense to cooperate with a start-up?

In principle, I think it is important to work with external companies, but to develop the core business by yourself. One way to decide is whether it is skills that I need regularly or whether I need the expertise only once. If I need something regularly and I can manage to hire people with the skills I would do so, if it is rare or requires a lot of special knowledge I would use a service provider.

DigiWhat thanks you for the interview.