In an interview, WHU alumnus Phillip Eischet discusses his start-up Geld-für-Flug.de
Geld-für-Flug.de was founded by WHU alumnus Phillip Eischet together with Torben Antretter and Benedikt Quarch. It is Germany’s best-known portal for flight cancellations. The portal tackles the opaque cancellation conditions many airlines have in place and offers the service of canceling airline tickets issued by all airlines and in all ticket categories. Applying an algorithm-based factoring model, the company pays its customers a refund within 24 hours. This is how its business model differs from those of many other legal-tech companies in the passenger-rights sector that deal with securing compensation for flight delays or cancellations. The Düsseldorf-based start-up currently has more than 25 million euros in funding stemming from well-known investors such as Carsten Maschmeyer.
1) How did you come up with the idea of launching Geld-für-Flug.de?
When I was a student, I did a great deal of traveling and repeatedly faced the problem of being unable to take a particular flight. So, on my own, I tried to get a refund and wound up spending an eternity on hold with hotlines, involved in a game of ping-pong with automatically generated e-mails, and often simply ignored by the airline altogether. In lieu of a refund, one cancellation even resulted in an invoice to me for 3.28 euros – but which the airline forgave out of goodwill. The idea for Geld-für-Flug.de as a digital, all-round service for flight cancellations was born after that. With us, there is no need for countless e-mails or even a lawyer. We help our customers get fair treatment at the push of a button.
2) How did your studies at WHU contribute to the success of your start-up?
My studies at WHU were a great time spent with friends for life, and it’s always a delight to look back on that time. Thanks to its high practical orientation and outstanding networking in the start-up scene, WHU also left me superbly prepared for my own entrepreneurial activity. The things I gained there continue to benefit me each and every day. We still make very regular use of the WHU network – we enjoy recruiting WHU graduates, too. And of course I also stop by in Vallendar whenever I can.
3) What are the most important aspects of putting together a start-up team? Why are you currently hiring WHU graduates in particular?
As founders of a start-up, you spend a great deal of time together, so it’s very important to get along with one another at a personal level and enjoy the occasional laugh together. In addition, in my opinion it’s crucial for the founders to complement one another in terms of substance while at the same time sharing a common vision they work to fulfill every day. We regularly hire WHU alums because they not only come with a superb academic education but are also convincing for their high practical orientation and “hands-on” mentality. They are ready to go from Day 1.
We successfully completed funding of more than 25 million euros at the beginning of this year. This funding strengthens our business operations and permits us to continue to grow robustly. Along with expansion into new markets, we are working on new verticals, for instance new areas of the law to which we can apply our algorithm and the factoring model. For the moment, I can reveal this much: The excitement continues, and we’re going full-speed ahead!
5) Do you have any advice for future or brand-new founders of start-ups?
I like to quote the wisdom of a former mentor of mine: “If you’re the head of an undertaking, you have to undertake something!” In my view, if you have a good idea, you have to start carrying through with it, step by step, even if you do not know what’s ultimately going to come of it. What matters then is to seize the opportunities that present themselves and tailor your original idea in such a way that it can result in a successful business.