Customer Development, entrepreneurship, Events, Lean Startup, startup

NEXT Cologne is here again, starting October 23rd!

I’m stoked to announce it’s here again – We’re going for the third round of NEXT Cologne in STARTPLATZ!

NEXT Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs

For those of you who may not know, NEXT Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs is the premier experiential educational program teaching early stage startups how to build the skills and tactics your startup needs to prepare for an accelerator, investor, or early product launch, accessible at a nominal fee and on a schedule allowing for your day-job or studies in parallel.

NEXT is brought to you by the non-profit organization that also brings you Startup Weekends and Startup Digests – UP Global (recently mentioned by POTUS Obama) – and our partners include Steve Blank, TechStars and GAN – Global Accelerator Network.

It consists of a three hour evening meet-up, five times across six weeks, digital learning material with homework in between – and is adapted to people with day-jobs and university students.

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Customer Development, entrepreneurship, Lean Startup, startup

Customer Development on German National Radio


Recently I was interviewed by Julia Fiedler at DRadio Wissen (Radio! Yes – it’s actually still around!) about what to do if you have a business idea an how to proceed. Should you start by writing a business plan? If you are copying an existing proven business model, say opening a new ice cream shop around the corner – maybe. If you want to create a new travel app that the world have never seen before, most probably not.

“No business plan ever survives first contact with customers!” – Steve Blank

Business Plans are guess-based works of fiction and what you want to be doing is to get from a guess-based fantasy to a fact based business as soon as possible.

So what should you do instead? In the radio interview I talk about the concepts and methodologies of Customer Development, Business Model Generation using the Business Model Canvas and building and testing Minimum Viable Products (MVP) – the minimum you need to build or create to start testing and measuring if the guesses about your product, customers and revenue model are correct.

Have a listen [in German] for yourself.

Events, Lessons Learned, pitching

Pitch Your Startup Like a Pro

As I’ve been around the world pitching my own startup at some of the world’s most prestigious pitching events, one of the ways I’m paying it forward to our local startup ecosystem is by teaching our startups how to pitch at the Rhineland Pitch in Cologne, Germany – a tier one startup pitching event that aims to educate our regional startups and raise our pitching quality to better compete worldwide.


If you want to practice your own pitch, I’ve shared the slide deck I use at the free pitch coaching session each month below. And don’t forget to apply for the next Rhineland Pitch – See you there!

Crowd Funding, entrepreneurship

We made it to Silicon Valley!

So because of you guys, I am now an official Lean Launchpad Instructor as trained by Steve Blank and Jerry Engel at Stanford – And I’m coming back to teach this most awesome curriculum for startup entrepreneurs in and around Cologne!

And the campaign didn’t go unnoticed by Steve: At our final presentations in front of him and the whole 91 educators strong class, I wore one of my sponsors’ t-shirts prominently featuring the central Steve-ism “Get out of the building!”, one of the core tenets of Customer Development, upon he laughingly took a minute to let me explain to class what that t-shirt was all about.

I was thus given the opportunity to explain to everybody present in class at Stanford that the Cologne startup community had sponsored my trip – and they loved it. There was a massive applause and laughter, a lot of pictures being taken. Steve even tweeted it live from class.

Previously that week, I had also been on a panel speaking about local challenges and opportunities where I spoke about the advantages of Cologne as a regional startup cluster and I think this little last gesture convinced a lot of people in the class that we do indeed have a vibrant and solid startup community in Cologne.

As the campaign and the program is now over, I thought I’d share some of the stats from it below.


Steve & Me @ Stanford on “graduation day”


The Numbers

Views: 4,198
Total views to the campaign page – includes views by the same visitor.

Funders: 52

Contributions: 2.118€ of 1.042€ – 203,26% of the goal

Time to meet goal: 12 hours (wow – you guys are amazing!)

Campaign running time: 19 days

Followers of campaign: 55

Referrals: 1,707
Number of visits resulting from someone sharing this campaign using widgets, Facebook, Twitter, and emails from the ‘Share This Campaign’ section on IndieGoGo.

Facebook Likes: 243

Tweets: 32

Google+ Shares: 13

Number of contributors, Cologne vs Outside: 23 / 29

Amount of contributions, Cologne vs Outside: 1.028€ / 1.090€

Made the IndieGoGo Frontpage


Holy crap! We made the global front page of IndieGoGo!


The awesome Jerry Engel of Berkeley Haas & me @ Stanford