Posted on November 29, 2011 by


After listening to a presentation held by HitFox Co-founder and CEO Jan Beckers I decided to write my next blog post about his experiences and expert knowledge on founding five companies.

His presentation leads the listener through his entrepreneurial path – starting with being a party entrepreneur and organizing parties on a big scale, going over to being a journalist for Gründerszene where he got to know many important people and then starting to found online start-ups.

In my last blog post “The place to be” I was wondering why Start Ups fail even though they are found in a great environment with all those opportunity Berlin has to offer. Now I realized I should have asked a different question. It should have been: What makes a Start Up successful? What do we need? And what is most important?

Now let me give you Jan’s masterplan!

For Jan the key to entrepreneurial success is a function of components, which are multiplied, thus you need to have a certain level of greatness in each factor. If one equals zero, payoff will be far away.

The most important components are:

  1. Personal Skills
  2. Team
  3. Idea / Market
  4. (Access to) Capital
  5. (Online) Specific Knowledge
  6. Network and Reputation.

Thus the function to success looks something like this:

Personal Skillsa x Teamb x Idea / Marketc … x Execution10

You get the picture.

Now lets have a look at those factors, funnily enough I do not see location anywhere in it. So is it really important where you start your business? Taking a closer look I’d say yes. Because to build up a great team, you have to find the right people, you have to built a network and be close to the market. Imagine the pain of finding all this on a small countryside location! But still: possible (?). Lets treat this in another post and come back to the topic.

According to Jan, acquiring strategic resources is crucial when starting your business. This includes defining the target market, working in a relevant entrepreneurial environment and becoming an attractive networking partner by visiting or organizing events and thereby you build up a trustworthy reputation.

That’s a lot, isn’t it? Still, more to come:

I also want you to read about the lessons Jan learned while being an entrepreneur.


Since Jan mentioned that he had a difficult start with his first co-founder he is focused on building a brilliant team with complimentary skills. Furthermore he advises to co-check your team partners and spend half of your time during the first six month to make sure you hire the right people who actually work as a team.

Idea and Market

Due to the problem that about 90% of all innovative Start Up ideas fail, Jan concluded two solutions: 1. Copy and adept and 2.Don’t limit yourself to one specific idea but choose a brought market instead.


To make an investor finance your Start Up, he points out that you must bring value to the partnership and directly show the investor whyboth of you will benefit. Another tip is to get to know an investor before you require them and appear needy.

Obviously all mentioned above is interconnected and in the end it is what you make of it.

Nevertheless I’m glad to be able to present you with this overview of Jan’s experiences, because they come straight from the source. I’m sure every founder will tell you something similar and totally different at the same time.

Drawing my own conclusion from this I would say: read about what others came to know, try to adapt it to your situation and make your own experiences.

Posted in: strategy