These are the key success factors for founding a company that Chris Bartz, CEO and Co-Founder of Elinvar, wants future founders to be aware of. In this interview, he also tells us, what came as a surprise when founding Elinvar and what makes Germany a good place for entrepreneurs.
[This interview has first been published by the German Digital Hub Initiative.]
What advice would you share with other founders?
In my experience, there are three essential factors that must be considered when founding a company: a clear goal, the necessary level of perseverance, and, above all, the right team.
No matter what you do, you will constantly meet people who claim to know exactly why you will fail, especially in the first few months. You can’t let them make you nervous. That is why, especially in the early stages, it is really important to surround yourself with people who give you open and constructive feedback: this could be from experts in a professional environment or from friends too, of course. Whilst being focused on your goal you should remain open and take every opportunity to learn.
Equally important for the success of a startup is your team. Especially in the growth phase, you cannot make one mistake twice – and experienced employees will help you avoid that. Even if it’s difficult, you should not compromise when it comes to recruitment procedures. Building a strong team may take a little longer at the beginning and will likely cost more, but it creates a team that is definitely more sustainable and successful. Also, a company culture that helps every individual to unleash their potential will attract top talent.
Even if it’s difficult, you should not compromise when it comes to recruitment procedures.
Chris Bartz, CEO and Co-Founder of Elinvar
What surprised you the most when you started out?
‘Surprise’ isn’t quite the right word, but I find it a special, maybe even unique opportunity that Berlin currently has as a city. Not only does the thriving cultural scene attract people from all over the world, but also the business prospects are great. Many talented people are seeking to do great things together in this international and diverse environment that Berlin offers. We must make the most of this. From startups to established companies to the political world, it is important to look ahead and to make firm steps to realize the potential of the current situation.
What do you want from politics and from Germany as a business location?
First and foremost, I would like to see openness. An economically successful country like Germany depends on diversity and talent; and especially in the tech sector, international talent is indispensable. Therefore, to continue as one of the leading business locations, we must prove to talented people that Germany is the right place for them to live and work. In essence, hat means we need fairer and more transparent immigration laws. People who see their own future, as well as their family’s, in Germany should be given the opportunity to come here. To help them settle, access to administrative processes in English will make them feel more welcome.
First and foremost, I would like to see openness. An economically successful country like Germany depends on diversity and talent.
Chris Bartz, CEO and Co-Founder of Elinvar
Of course, we also need to make sure that every child is well-prepared for their future career. Here I am not just referring to the need to understand technology, but above all the mix of motivation, perseverance, creativity, openness, and internationality – in other words, the appreciation of diversity and the development of character.
Business-wise I think that a great deal needs to be done on a regulatory level. Laws should be drawn up technology-neutral. On a European level we have to strengthen the single market and with the Brexit in 2019 I do see the chance for a more balanced and value-driven financial regulation in the future.
Why doesn’t Germany have a leading startup ecosystem?
Who says we don’t? Berlin has become one of the world’s leading startup ecosystems, especially within the fintech sector. Not only here, but also in other parts of Germany, you can find outstanding examples of innovative strength and international competitiveness. Right now, we are facing the question: how can we develop a leading digital business alongside the “hidden champions” that have shaped Germany to its present state.