Our interview series "Meet the Mentors" features coaches and mentors from our Future City and Future Health Accelerators. This edition showcases Christoph Raethke. 🚀
What do you currently do? And what are you currently fighting for?
I'm trying to be a good mentor, angel, and business partner to the startups and organizations that I work with. At the same time, I'm deeply committed to supporting Ukraine in its ongoing fight for independence, freedom, and prosperity. Having witnessed firsthand the incredible resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people, I'm inspired by their courage and conviction in the face of adversity.
What are 3 things you’ve learned from your work with entrepreneurs?
Working with entrepreneurs has taught me a lot about the highs and lows of starting and growing a business. Here are my top three learnings:
There is no surefire recipe for success.
While there are certainly best practices and strategies that can increase the likelihood of success, every business is unique and faces its own set of challenges and opportunities. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to entrepreneurship. It's important to be flexible, adaptable, and willing to experiment in order to find what works best for your business.
The most hairy conflicts always pop up on Sundays or holidays.
Running a business can be a 24/7 job, and sometimes the biggest challenges arise at the most inconvenient times. Whether it's a key employee quitting unexpectedly or a major customer issue, it seems like the most stressful situations always happen when you're supposed to be taking a break. That's why it's important to be prepared for the unexpected and to have systems in place to handle emergencies when they arise.
Whenever you think you've got everything covered, something completely unforeseeable happens.
No matter how much planning and preparation you do, there will always be surprises and unforeseen obstacles that crop up along the way. Whether it's a sudden change in market conditions, a new competitor entering the space, or a major regulatory shift, it's important to stay nimble and be willing to pivot when necessary. The most successful entrepreneurs are those who can adapt quickly to changing circumstances and find new opportunities in the face of adversity.
What trends do you foresee in the next 5 years in the world of entrepreneurship?
Generative AI is in the process of uprooting everything in the next 5 months, not years. As for anything beyond that, it's like trying to see a crystal ball covered in black paint sealed inside a black steel box. The future is full of surprises, and we can only keep our eyes and minds open to what's next. So, it's essential for entrepreneurs to stay informed, adapt to changes quickly, and embrace innovation to stay ahead of the curve.
What currently excites you in your field?
Generative AI - to me, it's the second huge technological leap in my life, right after HTML and TCP/IP. It's incredible to witness how this technology is transforming the way we work and solve problems, making it possible to generate new and innovative ideas at an unprecedented speed and scale. I truly believe that generative AI has the potential to revolutionize not just my field, but many others as well.
Tell us one practical hack to boost work and life productivity.
Focus on what you're so good at that you can accomplish twice as much in half the time. Use the saved hours to watch football and play guitar.
What are you reading at the moment?
The collected works of Philip K. Dick. To be better prepared for alternative futures brought in by Generative AI.
Is there anything you would like to share with the audience?
My collected publications are on www.christophr.de - and anyone with a startup idea to evaluate should join my monthly meetup, https://www.meetup.com/de-DE/idea_feedback/.
BIA is a boutique agency developing innovation, transformation and learning journeys for corporates, startups, and scaleups. Our pre-seed startup accelerators are our special impact initiatives, supporting ambitious entrepreneurs working to disrupt the future of urban life, health, and technology. Our programs are backed by the Berlin Senate and the European Social Fund.