Q -What has been the most important "learning" of your career?
SK -Give your employees as much responsibility as possible, serve, involve and empower them to make decisions of their own, become obsolete in operations, don’t listen only to your direct reports, listen to every employee regularly, stand-up for your employees, be reliable, be modest, be prudent.
Q -What makes a really good founder?
SK -Expertise, modesty, diligence, charisma, courage, networking, thinking beyond, doing research, and a good sense for numbers.
Q -Which technological advancement are you hoping for most?
SK -Short term: Level-5 autonomous cars; Long term: Preserving nature and mankind.
Q -How do you define success?
SK -The result of courage and diligence.
Q -What is your most important advice to founders?
SK -Just do it and hang on to your equity as long as possible. Money is a reward, not a motivation.
Q -Can Europe keep up on the global stage? Where do you see opportunities?
SK -Europe is still the breeding place for ground-breaking innovation. Product readiness and commercialization is done in the US, China and India. If Europe keeps on significantly supporting R&D, it can stay being the „brain“ and let the rest be the „muscle".
Q -How do you combine your startup investments with your daily work?
SK -Managing and advising my portfolio companies is my daily working routine.
Q -What do European startups do better compared to American ventures?
SK -European startups may take longer for R&D, collect less venture capital and reach profitability later. But once they are there, they are here to stay. US startups often have a geographical problem due to being US based, they are often showered with money too early, they burn it faster and often they go up in smoke sooner.
Q -What should an angel do and what should they avoid doing?
SK -Don’t just give money. Give expertise, support and network. And don’t try to take over operations. You are not the boss.
Q -What should a VC do and what not?
SK -Think more Entrepreneur, less Capital Gain. Be in for the long run and don’t flip portfolio companies just for the sake of your LPs.
Q -What are the indispensable tools in your everyday life?
SK -Notebook and mobile phone.
Q -What are your favorite online information sources?
SK -News sites worldwide.
Q -What are your three favorite podcasts/books?
SK -Portnoy’s Complain by Philip Roth, Black Mischief by Evelyn Waugh and The Testament by John Grisham. And many more.