Education, entrepreneurship, startup

The state of NRW and startups

Speaking truth to the crowd, why NRW is a great place to found your startup                                                                                                                       Copyright: Ralph Sondermann,

I recently had the honor and pleasure to be invited by NRW.INVEST together with representatives from The Pirate Summit to present the advantages of founding a startup in our state at the Czech and Hungarian “Stammtisch” in Düsseldorf, to a crowd of regional officials and stakeholders, Czech and Hungarian emissaries and startups.

Posing with NRW.INVEST, IHK Dortmund and the Czech and Hungarian delegates                                                                                                       Copyright: Ralph Sondermann,

I didn’t use any slides for this presentation, but you can find a lot of the content in the presentation I previously held for a French delegation.


entrepreneurship, Lessons Learned, startup

On Location Based Services

Painted in Waterlogue

Writing on the Wall: A Business Model Canvas, complete with festively colored Post-Its, Atherton, CA June 2013.

This post has been gather digital dust in private draft form since May 2013. I thought I’d finally publish it to share with anyone interested in location based services.


In what now seems like eons ago, I founded a location based tech startup called “Gauss — The People Magnet”. It took me on a roller-coaster ride around the world — from the front page of The New York Times to near personal bankruptcy in the course of about two years. It folded before we got somewhere significant. If you’re interested in the background for founding ‘Gauss — The People Magnet’, there are a couple of old posts for that.

In this post I’m completely cleaning out the closet with my thoughts and experiences related to that startup, including potential revenue sources and business models. It’s a long and winding read — a very mixed bag, assembled from scattered notes.

Caveat Emptor in 2016: If any of this looks familiar or straight forward today, rest assured they weren’t when we started out back in early 2011. To wit: successful monetization of non-dating social discovery apps arguably still hasn’t happened yet.


I know this is a long and bumpy read, so here’s the short version:
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Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

Lean Launchpad DUS is a wrap!


The very first Lean Launchpad DUS Powered by PwC is a wrap! 9 teams entered the 5 week program – and 6 teams made it through. Have a look at the final public presentation day in the video below:

The Lean Launchpad is the world’s premier pre-accelerator program for startups. It’s an intensive 5 week, in-person, mentorship-driven 100% experience-based course to create more capable regional entrepreneurs and prepare them for their first investment round, an application to an accelerator, launching their first minimum viable product or setting them off on a self-funded, bootstrapped path.

See you again soon – Lean Launchpad is coming back to Cologne again for 2016 – so stay tuned for the dates!

Customer Development, Education, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

The very first Lean Launchpad Dusseldorf successfully launches


This Wednesday evening saw the very first meetup with 9 regional non-funded early-stage startups attending the very first Lean Launchpad Düsseldorf powered by PwC.

Here are some impressions from our first meetup:

About the Lean Launchpad Program

The Lean Launchpad (LLP) is a highly experiential educational program created by the father of the Lean Startup, Steve Blank at Standford and Berkeley. It helps startup founders gain a crucial base of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to be better prepared and to build more successful startups.

It’s the world’s premier pre-accelerator program rooted in the scientific methodology, driven by mentors and unique educational content aims to make early-stage startup ready for applying to an accelerator, a first seed investment round, setting them off on a healthy self-financed (bootstrapped) path or launching their first Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

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