Jens Freiter

At first, Jens Freiter wanted to be a maths and physics teacher, but at university he soon realized he was more into computers.

He got his first experiences of the world wide web as a web designer and software developer. Together with four friends, Jens started Holidaycheck. A few years later, the travel rating portal became one of the most successful online travel agency in the German-speaking countries. It was awarded the best travel-related website on serveral occasions.

In 2006, the five friends sold Holidaycheck to Tomorrow Focus. Jens stayed with the company as CTO until 2007. Today, Jens is a business angel and investor for IT-start-ups. He also works as a consultant helping companies develop their online communities and marketing. On ythe side, he’s trying his hand at raising two daughters.

I really like btov because we complement each other perfectly. I’m able to apply my strengths, but I also receive the support I need, wherever I need it.

  • Expertise in / interest in the following areas:

    – Interests: digital business models, E-Commerce and Tourism
    – Expertise: Social Media, Community Development, Conception of digital products, Technology scouting, strategy development, cooperation between start-ups and SMEs

  • Previous experience:

    – CoFounder Holidaycheck AG
    – CoFounder SafeSwissCloud AG
    – CoFounder Startup-Network-Lake Constance

  • Favourite quote: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Q -What has been the most important "learning" of your career?
JF -You just have to go for it. Many founders think and plan too much. Often, an idea can only be tested by trial and error and the direct feedback from the market. But, the team has to be fast and flexible enough to learn from the feedback.
Q -What was the biggest "failure" in your career and what was the associated "learning"?
JF -In my very first investment, I didn't “listen to my gut.” Your own intuition usually tells you very quickly whether the chemistry is right and whether you will be happy with the team.
Q -What would you have liked to know at the beginning of your career?
JF -The lean-startup principle with the business model canvas. Overall, the new agile way to start a business would have made things a lot easier for me.
Q -What makes a really good founder?
JF -A great founder is enthusiastic about his own product. He should be open to different opinions, without implementing them instantly. Being able to quickly grasp things and having a lot of energy are also necessary. And above all, he/she should be someone who gets down to work and does things.
Q -How do you define success?
JF -For me, success is being able to self-determine the work I do. I get up every day and look forward to completing the tasks I have defined for myself.

You just have to go for it. Many founders think and plan too much.

Jens Freiter
Q -How do you combine your startup investments with your daily work?
JF -Fortunately, I can decide how much time I invest in my startups. Depending on the phase, startups need more or less intensive support. To find the right mix is important. Now and then, it is quite pleasant to be on the road for a few days to exchange ideas with founders.
Q -Which startup inspires you most?
JF -I like the small startups from within my environment. At the moment I am supporting Famigo. Famigo wants to support local governments in digitizing their services for families and makes local companies more attractive for employees. One of my first investments with btov was Codecheck. I am still enthusiastic about the idea, the team and the implementation.
Q -What are the indispensable tools in your everyday life?
JF -My running shoes are very important. While running, I have time to think about projects and problems. Also, I can take them everywhere I go. The business model canvas - I use the tool constantly to discuss business models with founders. Finally, my smartphone, I can do a large amount of work remotely on my smartphone, this makes me very flexible.
Q -What are your three favorite podcasts/books?
JF -I like to read biographies... and I like to watch Netflix documentaries about people. I think that real life is still the best source of information.

Current documentaries - Netflix:
- Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
- Dolly Parton: Here I Am
- Roman Empire

Current biographies:
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Steve Jobs - The authorized biography of the Apple founder
- The true story of McDonald's: Told by founder Ray Kroc
- Shoe Dog: The official biography of the NIKE founder
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