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Rocket Internet, Project A, Team Europe on clones, commerce and what they really think of each other Written by Nina Fowler on 7. May 2012


If you want to know what some of the brains behind Berlin’s hottest incubators really think, look no further. Alexander Kudlich (Rocket Internet), Lukasz Gadowski (Team Europe), Stefan Glänzer (Passion Capital), Florian Heinemann (Project A) and Philipp Möhring (Seedcamp) took to the stage at Heureka! today in Berlin to debate everything from each other to what makes a successful company – and startup ecosystem – work.
Here’s our pick of the quotes from today’s session:

On themselves and each other

“I actually used to be a DJ – 15 years of my life, that was my second-best job ever. My best job ever was as a sun-lotion tester in Kenya.” – Stefan Glänzer
“I think we should dance” – Lukasz Gadowski, prompting a group hug
“It’s harder to get rid of your investor than your wife.” – Stefan Glänzer

On Germany versus the world

“I left Germany in 2000 because you get 40 per cent better valuations in the US. I told Lukasz to leave too” – Stefan Glänzer
“You guys just need to be in London much more… You don’t have to be there, just go build some bridges.” – Philipp Möhring
“Eastern Europeans are much more hungry… When they make the trek from Kiev, or from Estonia, to London, that’s a much bigger difference for them than someone coming from Berlin or Paris. They have much more to win and much less to lose.” – Philipp Möhring
“We still need to create the companies that buy the other companies. We don’t have the big acquirers like Google, Apple, Facebook, in Europe yet.” – Philipp Möhring
“It’s not because we’re building worse companies. A lot of the reason has to do with access to capital. ” – Florian Heinemann

In defence of copycats

“It’s funny hearing these things from somebody who works for the European TechCrunch” – Alexander Kudlich, to moderator Joel Kaczmarek (Gründerszene)
“Ideas are very important but sometimes, firstly, it narrows down too much on the design of the homepage… I think it’s too easy to say that’s a copycat when it’s not. Secondly, apart from the fact that execution is very important, we also do some models that are simply generic.” – Alexander Kudlich
“Copycat incubators also do a great job of educating people. If there is a big employer doing this then they help to give a large number of staff an education, which will eventually lead to creating home-grown innovators.” – Stefan Glänzer
“We are not averse to copycat models, but we hope that the ecosystem will then spawn more innovative companies approaching us.” – Florian Heinemann
“We take risk-free opportunities first. It’s easier to execute what’s already worked” – Lukasz Gadowski
“Ideas evolve at the same time, it just proves your instincts are right” – Lukasz Gadowski

On job creation

“Rocket has created two and a half thousand [jobs] since Christmas, accumulative probably 15,000” – Alexander Kudlich

On money

“If you have capital right from the beginning, you can design a company totally different.” – Florian Heinemann
“Money is like energy… You can outspend your competitor, you have more security, you waste less time… Money is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If a company that makes sense is well-capitalised and decently executed, you will be successful.” – Lukasz Gadowski
“To start a company today, you don’t need more than 50 to 100 k. Once you’re able to show traction, and you’re a good team, bankable guys, then the sky’s the limit.” – Stefan Glänzer