This year’s IdeaLab! – WHU Founders‘ Conference which is Europe’s leading student-run start-up conference, took place on October 4 and 5, 2019, on the Vallendar campus of WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. More than 450 students, investors, and international speakers joined the conference and exchanged their ideas on entrepreneurship and on what it takes to become a founder.
In his opening speech, Tao Tao, Co-Founder, and COO of Get Your Guide shared his learnings from ten years of building a travel unicorn. Tao Tao encouraged the audience to both take external knowledge in the form of coaching and feedback and to be as authentic as possible bringing the full version of oneself.
As one of IdeaLab!’s key speakers, Frank Thelen, Co-Founder and CEO of Freigeist Capital, introduced his speech with the prediction “The next 10-15 years will be the most challenging for humankind.” Thelen, who is also known as an investor in the German version of the television series “Shark Tank” [“Die Höhle der Löwen”], elaborated in his keynote on several main trends in the tech industry, such as the possibilities of 5G and cloud computing, artificial intelligence, e-transportation, and 3D-printing.
Besides WHU alumni like Robin Behlau (Co-Founder of Aroundhome), Florian Swoboda (Co-Founder of Barzahlen.de), and Julian Stiefel (Co-Founder of Tourlane), Emily Cook Harris, Founder of Empowered and PUMA Fitness Coach, inspired the audience with her speech. She shared ten learnings from her entrepreneurial journey, underlining that for her, movement and education are the two crucial facts of change. “Be willing to leap, take bold risks, and evolve over and over again,” was one of Harris’ encouraging instructions.
Additionally, the participating students got further insights into panel discussions on the future of micro-mobility and on how to build great teams. Furthermore, the program offered the previously held 24-hours IdeaHack!, workshops, SpeedDating! sessions, and a PitchBattle! in front of real investors.