Get going no matter what and enjoy the journey.
Stefan Tittel is a serial entrepreneur with an impeccable track record. He has led several companies throughout their complete business life cycle. He has also founded, grew, built to market leadership and sold even more. These companies have a total investment worth of more than 90 million dollars. They’ve generated substantial value for their investors to say the least. The companies previously found or cofounded by Stefan are: CROSSGATE AG (a B2B SaaS platform, market leader, sold in 2011 to SAP), TRAXPAY AG (a B2B real-time, blockchain-based payments platform, became a strategic investment by Commerzbank and Software AG in 2013), Masterpayment AG (an online payments and working capital finance provider, sold in 2016 to NASDAQ-listed Net1 group), QUANTUMROCK Capital (a licensed asset manager, boutique hedge fund), and SINUS CULTURE (a property development company, majority control). The list goes on and he’s happy to finally be able to share his experience with you.
Where did the idea for Rise Wealth Technologies come from?
Originally, after my first company was sold, I wondered what to do in the financial markets without losing money. Since I couldn’t find a convincing solution in private banking and funds I looked deeper and identified a core problem in the market and decided to build an AI software to solve it. That was pretty much the starting point.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to concentrate on the few things I can make a difference with. Particularly things I want and need to do myself – and those I pursue with full force. Everything else I try to delegate to trusted colleagues. I love to work in a highly competent team where responsibility, self-esteem, and initiation are standard. Many of my colleagues are with me for a couple of years already, some many years. This makes it easy to work successfully with a team. It’s like a well-oiled machine by now.
More specifically, I check on everything relevant earliest in the morning. I love to get an overview before I get up and want to have a “clean table“ before I leave my home. Most of my day is consumed by meetings with colleagues, customers and partners, communication, monitoring, managing exceptions and giving direction. I’m available almost any time and love to consume information on the various tracks of our projects and to interact. Because I’m interested in the matter. For me it does not work, it is an integral part of my life.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I personally always look for a niche, an industry which is large, crowded, traditional, big, slow-moving competitors and one I can sense a major deficiency or broken process.
Then I try to isolate the problem and identify a situation where I could make a real difference with the application of high tech. I always go for that type of disruption pattern.
It always starts with a gut feel and then conviction. And then I just start to do it. I learned that it doesn’t make sense to detail and plan out everything in advance because it is impossible. I need to get a framework showing me that it could work and then I get going.
One of the important first steps is to learn and validate by sharpening the product. It is important to have hundreds of meetings in the very beginning. Just a little bit of desk research and a lot of field research.
Once the business idea is formulated and validated, just get going. To build and run a company is a skill.
What’s one trend that excites you?
AI and machine learning as well as blockchain. And I like the current mindset of newcomers and young experts to just go and try to change whole industries and challenge established players.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Absolute conviction and determination in pursuing a company’s mission. Welcoming obstacles and joy in solving them.
Focus, razor-sharp focus.
Investing a lot of time and communicating with people.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My advice would be to just get going no matter what and enjoy the journey.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Never go for perfection. It is a trap.
I think a successful business is not so much about a stellar idea but stellar execution and determination.
It’s more fun to succeed in with a new business in a highly competitive environment. I would always prefer to hire a less competent and experienced person with a better attitude for a job, than the other way around. I believe in the long run attitude and drive of a person.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Do it with absolute conviction, or don’t do it at all.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Be a leader, a role model and hire excellent people.
Go out fast and start creating.
Excellent relationships with investors.
Transparency and honesty with employees, investors, and clients.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Putting trust in the wrong people. To be successful I believe you must continue to be generous with trust, but be careful.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m a very focused, almost single-minded person. The only idea which I really believe in is being pursued. Until this journey is completed, I will not have another.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Dinner with my wife and kids. Quality time.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
WhatsApp. This service increases and accelerates communication and increases the speed of a company.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Harvard Concept
What is your favorite quote?
“In the end, everything will be alright. And if it is not alright it is not the end yet.“
- Honesty and trustworthiness with investors and clients will keep you in business.
- Bad things can and will happen. View obstacles as a game.
- Don’t go for perfection.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.