Robert Wetzker: “When choosing co-founders, it should be people who you like working with. It’s not just about having someone who is excellent at what he does. But since you will be spending more time with them than with your family, you should choose carefully.”
From Doctoral Thesis to Technology Leader in Referral Marketing
In the startup world the term ‘tech’ is used a lot in various ways. Coming from a scientific background, Robert Wetzker knows what he actually means when he is speaking about ‘tech’. In a previous interview, he stated that he would have liked to become a Professor for Robotics. But having completed his Doctoral Thesis about “Graph-based Recommendation” and having worked as a Freelance Data Analyst for a short time, he chose the entrepreneurial path instead. In 2011, Robert founded Aklamio. Today, the company is Europe’s technology leader in referral marketing with more than 3,000 brands using their services, generating sales uplifts of 20 percent and more. Aklamio’s technology enables customers to refer their friends via any number of next-gen tools, from social networks like Facebook and Twitter to mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp. With its services Aklamio is now on its way to bypass the thousands of branded advertising messages that consumers are exposed to each day by leveraging the natural tendency towards person-to-person sharing.
Robert Wetzker on Startup Notes
Having gone through the learnings of a first-time founder in the early years of his company, Robert has some unique insights to share 5 ½ years after he started Aklamio. In this episode, he describes why it is important to find one good investor, why you need to have patience, why you should focus on your core product early on and why you should think twice about who to start a company with.
Here are the topics that we cover in this podcast with Robert who made the jump from science to CEO of Europe’s technology leader in referral marketing:
[01:15 – 02:39] On the balance between private life and work as an entrepreneur
[02:40 – 04:34] On Aklamio’s services and how he got started with the company
[04:35 – 05:58] On the acquisition of the startup ‘firal’ to strengthen Aklamio’s position as Europe’s leading referral marketing SaaS provider
[05:59 – 07:50] On how the M&A process between Aklamio and firal worked
[07:51 – 08:18] On Aklamio’s biggest challenge right now
[08:19 – 09:43] Which 3 tools were the most important ones during the creation and growth of his startup
[09:44 – 10:52] What he would do differently and what he would repeat if he started a company again
[10:53 – 11:51] What their team did right for Aklamio being a success case and growing quickly
[11:52 – 13:25] What management decisions one has to be very conscious about
[13:26 – 14:37] What he would recommend students to identify business ideas
[14:38 – 16:15] What can still be done in Online Marketing
[16:16 – 17:14] The best advice that he was ever given
[17:15 – 19:41] How to successfully convince a business angel to invest in your startup
[19:42 – 21:26] His best 3 advices to first-time founders
[21:27 – 23:29] On what to be particularly looking for in new employees
[23:30 – 24:52] Open job positions and what they are looking for in new hires at Aklamio
Podcast host: Emil
If you want to get more insights about German ‘tech’ success stories, make sure to also listen to our podcasts with AI specialist Max Koziolek (Spectrm) and Fintech entrepreneur Yassin Hankir (Founder of Vaamo and Savedroid).
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