Our startup hit a brick wall after just three months. We called 100 prospective customers and wanted to start collecting their loving feedback and admiration. Except that is not how that went.

The opportunity

Our startup was a matchmaking tool for landlords and tenants. Our algorithm compared tenant profiles to landlords’ criteria to cut out time wasted on showing the wrong people a flat. On top, a new law had just come into effect, which effectively stipulated that tenants would no longer pay the real estate agents. Instead, landlords had to pay the commission, which they were not willing to do.

Real estate agents needed a solution and fast and we had it.

Our value proposition was a no-brainer

Or so we thought. With our technology, real estate agents would no longer need to organise multiple flat viewings, collect applications…

Just think of all the benefits!

Borders are fascinating in a way. They delimit countries, sometimes languages, sometimes ethnic groups. I grew up close to the Danish border on the German side. We would sometimes travel into Denmark, mainly to see Legoland. As we crossed the border, I always paid particular attention to the trees. Did the Danish trees look different than the German ones? Were they aware of which side of the border they were on? Is a German tree stronger or weaker than a Danish one? I came to the conclusion that there is no way I will ever know since I cannot ask…

The pandemic has opened the gate to remote-freelancing being accepted in more industries than ever, make the most of it!

I started working as a freelancer in January 2021. I am a strategy consultant and freelancing is not uncommon in my industry, I have done it before. But freelancing remotely was more or less unheard of until the pandemic. Before, you were expected to be on-site wherever the client was at least 4 out of 5 working days (at least in Germany, I should add).

Since we were in home-office along with the rest of the world, I simply called my clients in January, asking them if they minded me working from other locations than my “native” Berlin, namely Portugal…

We had a lunch-meeting German high-tech investor and I still reap the benefits. Here is what I learned.

Berlin’s ecosystem

“Dude, we need an investor. Not just anyone, but one who can actually deliver value to our business development efforts.” Seems familiar?

We were in the midst of our pre-seed fundraising efforts. As a startup based in Berlin, we had been navigating the ecosystem for some time and started to be some of those familiar faces you would inevitably run into when attending events in Germany’s startup capital.

When looking for an investor, it really boils down to a numbers game in my experience. Get your pitch in front of a decent amount of eyes, make your own due diligence…

Stock market analysis

Sharing is caring — Here is where and how I screwed up and how I hope we all can do better in the future

(Disclaimer at the end — Not intended to be investment advice)

Let’s dive right in.

Vodafone — 25% loss in 4 months

I bought Vodafone in May 2018 for EUR 2.44 only to sell it in September 2018 for EUR 1.85.

I screwed this one up as I was blinded by the dividend yield of the stock. In May, based on the previous year’s dividend, it was trading at a whopping 6% dividend yield. That alone was very alluring. So I build my little earnings story somewhat like this: It was and still is a large stock, as in I was hoping for it not to be…

An account of my experience in investment banking

“You know man”, Lanny told me as we were walking through the City of London to get lunch, “there was this guy who worked at another bank here in the City. I think he was an analyst in his third year. Then one day, he had it. He put on a tuxedo, had a last party and blew his money on hookers, champaign and coke and jumped from the roof of that bar over there.”

I graduated from university with a Master in Finance in 2009. Back then, investment banking was the hot shizzle everybody in my line of studies…

A stopwatch or the equivalent smartphone app used correctly is everything that separates you from productivity stardom.

There is no shortage of disorganised people telling you what they wish they were doing but somehow don’t manage. I have never been much of a hacker, or software engineer, or life-hacker for that matter. I suppose people feel more attracted to some measly piece of wisdom if it is presented as a “life hack” rather than “some shit I read on the back of a cereals box”.

I see many people struggling with being productive, creating some results from time spent doing stuff. Most of the time, I just open the large “non of my business” drawer and put…

I have had it with our economic and political system, where only the rich get richer, the rest is subdued and the planet is dying. Not in my name!

When I hear the many voices out there hoping for a return to normal after the pandemic, I disagree massively. We actually made some progress for once in a positive direction — We are not polluting as much. World-Overshoot-Day, as in the day where all resources that regenerate within a given year are used, moved three weeks back in 2020 due to reduced consumption amidst the pandemic. It was still on August 22 though. This year we’re back to July 29, so that is progress I suppose?

Going back to the way things were is not a good idea! It…

My friend was born in Leipzig, German Democratic Republic, in 1965. Career planning was a bit different in socialism.

She was the daughter of relatively well-off parents, her father being a chemist in a local chemistry company. He had studied chemistry. His parents were academics too. The company he worked for, of course, was owned by the people. Instead of being a corporation or limited, it was a people-owned company (VEB or volkseigener Betrieb). Her mother was a doctor. She also studied and came from a family where studying was the norm rather than the exception.

Being an academic was equivalent to being bourgeois in socialist Germany — unless of course you were the child of farmers or workers…

I was new to El Salvador. I am this German guy who looks like a Viking. I swiftly made friends with the locals of El Tunco, where the swell is ever so wavy and the surf is grand, is strong and true and I would very much hate to have missed it.

I got there mid-pandemic from Lisbon via Amsterdam, where the lockdown kept me from surfing. An utterly unsustainable situation that needed quick and decisive action. But there is something about El Salvador my friend. They have the same thing going on there as we have all over the…

Holger Grueneberg

Enjoying the ride since 1985 — Consultant, Investor, Entrepreneur, Surfer, Explorer, I guess human being sums it up :)

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store