“For me it is very simple: taking risks” Interview with Wolfgang Baier

Wolfgang has been a family friend from my early days in Singapore. He was working for McKinsey, leading (and innovating) SingPost for 5,5 years and is now CEO of Luxasia: one of Asia‘s biggest Beauty & Luxury Omni-channel distributor and retailer. During our first brunch with his family I asked him whether he can & want to coach me. So I am very grateful that I can learn from someone as experience as Wolfgang.

What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
For me it is very simple: taking risks. This is the biggest difference between an entrepreneur and non-entrepreueneur. I am somewhere in the middle. An entrepreneur is measured or guided in some way: they have a real fenced optimism. They have seen the opportunity, fully believe in it even when all odds are against them and they go for it.

Screenshot 2018-09-04 17.27.14
Interview with Wolfgang Baier

What are you looking for when you meet founders?
Character, and values they go for: persistence (pulling things through), whole mindset of grit, openness to learn and how it is interconnected: people who are open to learn, flexibility of thinking, ready to throw over conventional thinking over board so flexibility in thinking & learning mindset
Look at the success of start ups: 90% of success is team. Get the right team together and the idea will evolve around it

What are business models that you like to invest in? and why?
Brand building: catering for a new Brand’s, something that comes out of nowhere. Why: its a fun business. B2C businesses are in direct contact with the end consumer. Their is also a massive value creation going on.
Secondly, the intersection of online to offline, bring the one into the other world: by doing this you are creating real value. E.g. moving eCommerce more into brick&mortar or other way round. You start to shift value parameters.

What have been your 3 lessons learned as entrepreneur? What would you differently today?
Lots of things.
One is, before you invest in something: testing team & competitive environment and spend time on it before I invest in.
The other one: don‘t put all eggs in one basket. Watch out where you as a person can be a “value adder” and see it as platforms you can switch in between
Third one: good question…Let me think…at the beginning be really involved where you go in and what you do (rather less than more and go deep) – it will help you to understand challenges in a much better picture (compared to operating only still at the surface) a lot of times if you haven’t done it ‘by yourself’ there is a lot of wasted superficial ideas & advise that you get.

What have been your 3 lessons learned as investor? What would you do differently today?
First of all: exactly same – team & competitive environment. A lot of big groups really understand quick path of value generation. Barriers to copy & enter the market: if the market is hot, sell fast. I experienced it in one case: we waited 1 year and then the opportunity was done.
Spend time upfront to really understand what is going on. And know when things are not going well.
Invest for mid/long-term (if short time upside: great) but don’t look into 2-3 years only. If everyone would have a sure win you don’t need investors. And ask yourself in the meantime: how does it fit into my overall portfolio
Lastly: look at synergies of your investments, look at me: eCommerce, digital and offline distribution: I can see a clear overlap, if you do something like this that I can link founders and companies. So I can create value for all of us.

If you would give an entrepreneur one advice – what would it be?
Choose the right team.

THANK YOU.


From Entrepreneurs For Entrepreneurs is a weekly interview session with some of the most influential entrepreneurs, creators and investors. Goal is to share our lessons learned and help to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs.

 

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