Meet HYGH Advisor: Christian Schroeder
At HYGH we are privileged to have access to a number of deep domain experts and industry specialists from all around the world. In this series, we’ll introduce you to each of our advisors and give you an opportunity to learn about them: their career history, interests, and why they became interested in HYGH.
It's often said that entrepreneurs should never underestimate the value of a warm introduction. Christian Schroeder concurs explaining:
"People who want to work with me need to impress me, to show me what they're like and that what they're doing is serious. Great people should be able to find me and get an introduction through their network. They need to know what I am after and they need to fit my strategy."
Christian is both an experienced entrepreneur and investor. He joined Rocket Internet in 2014 as Managing Director with the mission to build e-commerce in South Asia. His first company operated under the brand of Kaymu in six countries with more than 400 employees, achieving over 800% growth to more than 1 million orders in 2015, while onboarding over 50,000 new merchants. The company merged with Daraz, the number one online shop in Pakistan and was acquired by Alibaba in 2018.
He was an interim Chief Operating Officer at house removals and relocation platform Movinga, and a Director at VC firm Global Founders Capital, a company with investments as diverse as Facebook, HelloFresh, Skyscanner, and Eventbrite. He's also co-founded Shyne labs hair care. His current focus is as co-founder and CEO of Venture studio and investment firm 10x Value Partners where he brings his strong experience in growing and scaling companies:
"I can help companies across the whole life cycle from early business idea to a product to market fit going over to scaling businesses several hundred employees"
The company is part accelerator, part company building and he explains: "We generate a lot of our own ideas and then look for founders to build the companies, we are also open to founders coming to us in a space where we want to invest. His interests are large markets, consumer goods, digital health and mobility."
"We want to go into large markets with a superior product or service and where even grabbing a small piece of that market can create a meaningfully big company. For example, with HYGH, we have a very large market, an the opportunity to offer a superior service enabling everyone to become a publisher, that’s why it's exciting for me."
Christian grew up in the same town as some of the team who he reconnected with last year to help with business strategy and building out teams. His role as an advisor he likens to adding more fuel to the engine "I cannot run the business and I don't have an executive role in the company and just provide guidance to enable them to perform better."
As someone who has been on both sides of the founder and investor equation, I was interested to see what insights he has for budding entrepreneurs and startups. He laments:
"One of the big mistakes is hiring subpar talent and not bringing the right people to the team. The other is go to market strategy. There are many founders who have never raised funding before and they really need a good strategy to succeed."
The Potential of Blockchain and Private Investment
Christian notes that blockchain has a lot of potential, but it's still early days. He's particularly enamoured with security tokens explaining "it's a very good strategy to use the STO funding mechanism to enable anyone to participate as an investor.”
He believes that that the success stories of companies like Uber and Airbnb that have been mostly funded by private investors, attract ordinary people towards investment.
"I think ordinarily people want to get in on the opportunity and have a piece of the action. This is evident through the huge boom in crowdfunding - in the UK Crowd Cube provides an easy way for people to invest in start-ups and early-stage businesses. Then of course, in blockchain, we have the phenomenon of ICOs and STOs"
Christian say that the key to success in the blockchain space is building a product of value:
"If you want to build a blockchain company, then you should find a use case where blockchain adds a lot of value. You should also consider the different use cases for utility and security tokens. Security tokens essentially provide dividends based on the company's performance more like a financial investment. You cannot compare it to a utility token but you see a lot of products that have utility tokens where its really nonsensical. There’s a real value behind the STO."