If the prospect of one’s own company is more exciting than a career in science or corporation, entrepreneurial spirit breaks through. What idea they pursue, whether there are role models and from which experience they have learned a lot, tell entrepreneurs in the founders interview – this time Marc-Oliver Eckart of accident heroes.
How did the idea for your start-up come about?
Eckart: The idea arose from the observation that the insurance industry is trying to take the accident management out of the hands of accident victims as much as possible. This is what the insurance industry calls active claims management. Now one can imagine, however, that the insurance, which is subject to compensation to the injured party, has no interest in compensating as extensively as possible, but on the contrary. It was precisely this phenomenon that we wanted to tackle with the project Accident Heroes and offer a solution for consumers that combines the utmost in comfort with independence of insurance interests and safety, not to be overemphasized.
How did you manage the first financing of your founding idea and how did the further search for capital (donors) proceed?
Eckart:To this day, we are deliberately purely equity financed. On the one hand, we did not want to be associated with the sort of founder who first burns 500,000 EUR of investor funds before even putting a website on the Internet – let alone checking whether the market accepts their product – and announces big, but not supplies. And on the other hand, we did not want to have anything to do with these “accelerators,” “networkers,” “business developers,” and other contemporaries, who always have many ideas but never take their own risks and, in the end, participate vigorously in a possible success want. With this starting point, it is actually impossible to find a financing partner at a very early stage, which really makes a difference and that’s why we decided against it. In the meantime, however, we have reached an order of magnitude in which we would talk to suitable investors and possibly even initiate an investor search ourselves.
What spoke against the career as an employee and how did the founding team come together?
Eckart: Employees were apart from student jobs never really and I’m not really. Actually, I always wanted to determine my destiny in a way. Often one hears as reason of founders the desire for more free time. This is definitely a fallacy. The comfort zone is significantly larger as an employee. Bringing the team together was not really hard because the co-founder is my brother and of course we know each other well and for a long time.
If you look back on your previous entrepreneurial experience: Which decisions would you make again?
Eckart: What I would surely decide again is to start with my own money and risk and to carry out the initial needs in this way. The drive is then quite another. In addition, the project Unfallhelden is much more complex and complex than one might think at first glance, with chicken and egg problems at every turn. The way we dealt with this situation was probably not entirely wrong.
Burnt fingers are considered good teachers. From what painful experiences could you learn a lot?
Eckart:Every day, you meet a lot of people who want or want to do something for the company in any way. However, one also encounters dazzlers and babblers. And despite a certain amount of basic skepticism, it happens to me from time to time that I assume that someone can do a certain task, only to find out afterwards that this is not the case. The more difficult it is with things that you do not have much experience with. Meanwhile, however, I believe that a certain indicator is the inflationary use of Anglicisms. If someone hangs in conference calls with the C-level all day, then think of the daily all-out out of the box to find the growth hack, If everything is disrupted and then agreed in the next meeting and mistakes in his radical thinking as a communications gap, then it would be better not to transfer a great responsibility. Harry G has portrayed this quite nicely with his satire on business consultants, but this also applies to various other industries.
From your point of view, what are the biggest plus points and the biggest shortcoming for young companies in Germany?
Eckart:There is always a lot of abuse about the bureaucracy in Germany and that too little public funding is provided. I can not confirm that at all. Of all the challenges involved in starting a business, the bureaucratic part is really the smallest. And public support programs are really many and good. A big plus is always underestimated in my opinion: We have an incredibly good infrastructure in Germany, you easily get everything you need to start with something. In developing countries, for example, without a comprehensive Internet connection or without a functioning postal system, the hurdles are much greater. A shortcoming, in my opinion, is a bit of the fact that our standard of living leads to a certain level of basic satisfaction among people – which is good in itself – but, on the other hand, it counteracts the urge to really cheat and use it when it starts to hurt. Satisfaction is a bad drive for progress.
Are there (Internet) entrepreneurs you see as role models or idols?
Eckart:Personally, I admire Elon Musk. And that regardless of whether electric mobility is the future or not. He has managed in truly complex areas to turn over and over for decades more or less necessary assumed structures completely and shown several times that one can achieve with analytical thinking and assertiveness goals that nobody considers possible. And I think SpaceX is its greatest achievement, because it has managed something that could not have been done by the world’s largest space agency despite high budgets. However, I would not call him a role model or idol because I do not believe that you can realistically expect to be able to do that for yourself. Emulating helps in this case so nothing.
The digitization of the insurance industry, with which you are in contact, is considered one of the biggest trending topics. Which three points are the most urgent from your point of view?
Eckart:That is hard to say. When you understand digitization as a way of using modern IT capabilities, the insurance industry is not that bad. In my opinion, the problem is rather the typical problem of an industry that has earned far too much money for decades: structures that are incredibly inefficient and that hinder the maneuverability of a company are formed and consolidated. The satisfaction built up over decades does the rest. But you will not get rid of these structures without further ado. And then, when competition unfolds that acts without these obstacles, responding to this challenge naturally becomes difficult. In relation to banks, insurance companies are in and of themselves in a more comfortable situation, because they do not struggle so much with the problem that rows of businesses completely break away from them. Nor do I have a recipe for solving this situation, but I would argue that internal structural action would be needed first and foremost. The attempt, however, to relocate the home-made problems to third parties and to press themselves against internal measures, I think that is not effective.
What are the medium-term plans for your start-up and your entrepreneurial future?
Eckart: At the moment we see that the market acceptance of our service is steadily increasing. So we will continue to push this path and gradually widen our range of services. In relation to the market size, of course, we are still very small, but of course we want to change that.