Meet the NEXT mentors: Björn Schäfer



Some of you might already know the NEXT mentor we are about to introduce to you: Björn. He has already been one of our mentors at Startup Weekend Food Innovation earlier this year. The explanation is simple and quite obvious: He lives the startup live! All his past projects were startups which he guided to success so we are sure you can learn a lot from him and ask all the questions that have been itching to deal with.

Björn, to get to know you a bit better: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you coming from, what did you do and what did you study?

I grew up „in the middle of nowhere“, 100 km east of Düsseldorf (Sauerland). Immediately after finishing secondary school I left home and moved into the south of Germany (Karlsruhe, Stuttgart & Munich). Before starting my studies of economics I spent almost three months in Rome to learn Italian. After a semester abroad in Paris I started working for O2 Germany (now owned by Telefónica). Then I became Executive Assistant to the CMO of mid-size company in Hamburg and later Head of Indirect Sales. I tried another corporate company before I finally realised that I am not a corporate guy and have to found my own company. In early 2009 my first company LOKALGOLD went live.

On a professional level: How do you define success in business? What was your biggest success?

I believe that the biggest success in life is to live a life which includes the most crucial and important things for every single individual. Business and personal aspects always interact so both have to be kept in mind. All personal components should be integrated in a balanced way, nothing should be completely cut out for a dedicated period of time. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe, especially Germans ;), they will become happy one day after a long way of sacrifices, hard work and sweat.

My biggest success was leaving the highly comfortable corporate life and start living a life with feels right for me, not for others from the outside.


What do you want to teach people attending SW Next?

Being a mentor is less about teaching but more about supporting. I like to support my mentees to ask the right questions, explore opportunities in the right direction and find a setup which is promising to succeed.


In your opinion, what is the most important thing to focus on as a young founder?

Be passionate about what you are doing. Focus on things in which you are exceptionally good. If you do it do it right and with the right people.

What do you hope for your mentees to take away from Next and your mentoring?

A great time. Valuable tools to start a startup. A solid network of supporters.


How do you want to help your mentees to succeed?

Sharing extensive knowledge and lessons learnt. Questioning their thoughts as critically as possible. Providing a vast network to further validate their progress.


Are you getting excited yet about NEXT? Well, you should! And make sure to get your ticket. If you like us, you can like us on Facebook to also get the latest info, follow us on Twitter and tell your founder friends about us!


All the best,

Your Startup Weekend Berlin Team


Are you getting excited yet about NEXT?