HHL Founders: “Go out, meet and talk to people, find ideas”

HHL Alumna Annemarie Heyl is co-founder and CCO/COO of Kale & Me, a start-up from Hamburg founded in 2015 that markets cold-pressed juices in Germany and Austria. In an interview, she talks about her PR experiences, what advice she can give young entrepreneurs and the importance of entrepreneurial role models.

What importance do entrepreneurial role models play in your view?

From my point of view, this is a very important topic. I do not like the topic of women founding a company but I lack a lot of women as role models, especially in their thirties, because in the next ten years I will probably start my own family and it is difficult not having someone to talk to who also may have founded a company. That is why I think there are too few role models, at least in Germany.

How can a conference like Accelerate encourage entrepreneurs to find their team?

I am not so sure, actually. Those conferences are too short to build up a deep and trusting relationship to someone so that you could say this is someone I can to work with intensively. Of course, conferences can help because you meet people who have the same mindset, but still, in the end, it is up to you to maintain those relationships.

What would be your advice to young entrepreneurs at our conference?

For me, it is networking; go out, meet and talk to people, find ideas; because you will not find one of these things by sitting at home on your own and creating a PowerPoint presentation or studying.

As you have experience with public relations: What be your advice to young start-ups?

Two of my founding team a very numbers-driven. I am not like that. For me, PR is very important in the long-term if you want to build a brand and in order to create a background story: What is our product about? Even if it is a good product, you have to tell a story about it to sell this kind of expensive product in the end. It is not possible to communicate that via your homepage, Facebook or Instagram. Bloggers can also do your job of storytelling and branding. For that, PR is very important from my point of view. You are able to create something in the story if you are talking to journalists or if they do a story about you and your business.

What top three readings (books) would you recommend to young entrepreneurs?

I think one of the best books I have read so far is the biography of Alexander von Humboldt. This is an amazing book because this person was more important than Napoleon back then. Secondly, I really recommend all the books about Ernest Shackleton, who was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, where not one of his companions died, which was a great success at that time. The third one is the biography of Berthold Beitz, who was, from my perspective, one of the best managers ever in German history. He was the head of the Krupp steel conglomerate and the only manager so far who led this huge family business as a family business owner even though he was not an owner but a manager. Reading biographies and learning from others is very important in our entrepreneurial business.

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