cONSTANTLY IN MOTION
Being an entrepreneur is all about rethinking, inventing, creating. Important problems stare at you everywhere you go and there is a drive in you to want to find dramatically better solutions. You are attracted by the seemingly impossible, certainly by making a difference.
I have always been an entrepreneur and my first success came in the start-up that I founded in Germany in 1984 called CompuNet, a billion dollar network integrator surfing on the huge wave of the personal computer and network revolution. We ended up selling the company to GE Capital in 1996.
Following this, I boarded my custom-made 130ft sailing yacht, Alithia, with my wife and our five kids and we circumnavigated the planet for two years. Now that was an adventure! When we hit a reef in Fiji, we had to survey the yacht in Brisbane for structural damage. We ended up falling in love with Australia and settled in Sydney in 2004.
My second success started when I joined three Australian engineers in 2005 and launched Tyro in Sydney in 2006, Australia’s first digital business bank. Tyro now has 380 staff and serves 18,000 SMEs. Tyro generated more than $100 million recurring revenue in 2017. That was a mission impossible becoming a reality! We built a cloud-based mobile banking platform in-house, gained the general bank license and challenged successfully the dominant local bank oligopoly.
And we made a difference, here in Australia, showing that one can compete with the establishment, that one can support small business with frictionless banking and unsecured funding and that one can encourage a thriving fintech community and push the open banking agenda.
I am advocating for the API economy, for open eco-systems where the best ideas can win.
I am driven by the idea that everyone is entrepreneurial, if let by oneself dare to find new paths to new solutions. No matter where people are in an organisation and in society, they thrive when they are trusted and can unleash their creativity, when they can make a difference.
When the belief that entrepreneurial talent is not the privilege of a few permeates an economy and society, it has the effect of renewing and re-energising the intellectual and mental constitution of an entire generation and country.
Whether in building my own company or in the initiation and consulting of start-ups, in initiatives in the education sector or as Shadow Federal Minister for Economy and Technology, my passion is to encourage people to take their destiny into their own hands.
In my view, there has never been a better time for entrepreneurs, as entrepreneurial and creative talents make all the difference and will be the only asset class with significant returns going forward.