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.
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.
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.