Philipp Pausder: “Start with a deep vertical integration and master the craft of your business. With a complex business model, you need to do the details. It is painful and frustrating but in the end it will give you a competitive advantage.”
From Professional Athlete to Disrupting an Old-Fashioned Industry With Digitalization
After being a pro basketball player and working on energy projects in emerging markets, Philipp Pausder became one of the three founders of Thermondo in 2012. Founded in Germany during the aftermath of Fukushima, the company has taken on the challenge to reduce Germany’s energy consumption and to help contributing to the ‘2-degree goal’ for fighting climate change. Thermondo is targeting the heater installation industry and is offering services like exchanging old heaters in single-family homes with new ones that are much more energy-efficient. With its business model based on vertical integration, the company is successfully combining the best of the digital and non-digital world. Until now, Thermondo has raised almost €37m from renowned investors such as Rocket Internet and Holtzbrinck Ventures and achieved an impressive average annual growth of at least 600%.
Philipp Pausder on Startup Notes
In this interview, Philipp Pausder shares what lessons sports taught him for being an entrepreneur and which major markets he sees with a lot of potential for founding a company. He also explains what it is like and why it is necessary to go through hard times, stay self-critical and pivot your startup quickly to be successful.
Here are the topics that we cover in this podcast with one of the founders of Germany’s most popular startups:
[01:19 – 02:45] How he manages to balance between being a father and an entrepreneur
[02:46 – 03:57] On having been a professional athlete and what sports teaches you for being a founder
[03:58 – 08:57] How Thermondo works — combining an old industry with the digital world
[08:58 – 11:17] How he and his co-founders got started with their business idea
[11:18 – 14:13] On what the future of Thermondo’s market and the energy sector in Germany looks like
[14:14 – 17:16] How to manage growth, focus and scalability of a complex business model
[17:17 – 18:44] On the difficulties of vertical integration
[18:45 – 21:00] On how to convince high-level investors like Holtzbrinck Ventures and Rocket Internet
[21:01 – 23:06] Other craftsman industries that could be digitalized
[23:07 – 25:17] Three advices he gives to first-time founders
[25:18 – 25:39] The best advice that he has been given
If you want to get more insights about high-growth startups like Thermondo and combining the analog and the digital world, make sure to listen to our podcasts with Italian entrepreneurs Benedetta Arese Lucini, former Venture Developer for Rocket Internet in Asia and General Manager of Uber in Italy, and Gian Luca Petrelli, co-founder of Data-as-a-Service company BeMyEye.
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