Archive: evsan

About me

A serial entrepreneur in social media and e-commerce, I’m the Co-founder and CEO of itravel, an experience-based online and mobile tour operator that offers leisure travelers a platform to customize trips, including hotel, experiences, and transportation, and allows users to find trips based on activities & experiences (“moments”). Our German version shows you more of what we’re building.

I also was the first co-founding angel investor of Qype, which was acquired as the European subsidiary of Yelp, the world’s leading review and comparison service.

From 2006 until shifting my focus to itravel in 2013, I also was the CEO of curtis newton (formerly dw capital), Germany’s first incubator for digital innovation, which helped launch Qype (now Yelp), sevenload (now part of Burda), webtravel (now part of leading travel tech software Da Vinci), mobileview (now part of D+S), armedangels (leading brand for social fashion), and others.

Prior to itravel, I was the co-founder and CEO of sevenload, a platform for licensed online video content operating in most European countries, the U.S., Turkey, and Russia. After my role as CEO, Axel was one of three Board members at the company until it was fully integrated as a vertical video channel operator within Burda.

I studied law with majors in Business and Copyright Law at the Sorbonne and Cologne Universities, which served me well when we fought to establish the revenure share licensing model at sevenload from 2006 that today is the standard in premium online video. As the Chairman of the IPTV Division of the Tech industry association Bitkom, I spearheaded efforts to negotiate a viable revenue share licensing model from European copyright agencies. As Chairman of the Social Media Group within Germany’s IAB equivalent, I helped broker a deal with the leading TV broadcasters and establish a new advertising metric for online video in the German advertising industry’s online advertising association, the AGOF. Sevenload played a significant role in the EU antitrust efforts of the major online video industry players to prevent the creation of a joint platform of the two major German private TV broadcasters. I also was a member of the Broadcasting Council of WDR Group, Germany’s public TV, as well as the president of the association of content sharing digital companies

I’m a regular keynote speaker at leading industry events, including CEBIT, LeWeb, Web 2.0, DLD, next, Supernova, and SIME.

I was involved in launching the world’s first social bookmarking startup oneview, in 1998, and rolled it out to in 16 countries and 10 languages.

Before I started my journey as an entrepreneur, I studied Law with a scholarship from the elite German National Academic Foundation at Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Cologne, and in 2000, completed an executive entrepreneurship program at MIT. Further information about me can be found on Wikipedia (German) and Crunchbase (English). Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

What is a “Superfounder”?

I have been musing about what a recently befriended VC told me about his firm investing in a few “Superfounders” every year, while discarding thousands of Business Plans. First I felt flattered, assuming of course to be meant. When i asked him how he recognized a Superfounder, he said: “well, you know one when you see one”. Aha.

There is of course a very valid point in that a VC Partner known to have invested in some of the great successes in their realm of action does have the experience to recognize success in the budding. But maybe that’s just the point, “when it is [already] budding”.

Picture this:


Niklas Zenström spent some three years being laughed at for Skypester before moving to an unlikely Baltic State to rename it Skype and get rich.

When we got to know the Sevenload team, by all classic criteria of the business and VC scene I know, there was no way their imminent (and yet to be brought to full fruition) success was discernible. But i felt:

- Passion
- Nonconformism
- A dedication to User Value
- Borderless thinking
- and the proven will to bite the bullet in the face of adversity
- very low bullshit factor
- and a keen sense for the value of every single €
- and the ambition to shoot for the moon (even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars)

…all proven in the biography, especially of Ibrahim Evsan, the Key founder – and as i know see as an observer of

It’s either viral or another proof that A class people attract A class people, because the whole team shows that dedication. In the myths of our time, it’s the Googleyness of Sevenload.

Which brings me back to “What is a Superfounder?”. I’m not sure there isn’t a fat danger of having a kind of simplistic Belief in the Strong Man. Where I come from,

which we founded as the idea of “A Company of Brilliant People”, dedicated to the above, to innovation, to having the guts to start new things, it is TEAMS that created the greatest success. And Team means that secret combination of personalities, talents, and experiences, that combine to bring the spice and the reality to any Grand Idea. So if being a Superfounder means dreaming that dream and creating that kind of environment, then maybe yes, I do feel like a Superfounder, Ibo certainly is, and Bill Gates, who said success is never achieved alone, damn sure is. [wow, me and Bill in one sentence]

But maybe the lesson of the picture in this blog is different: it is the teams that matter. And the less loud, less salesmany, less obvious secret toilers, the Wozniaks, the Myhrvolds, the Substance Makers are the ones that really count at least as much. In one word:

the Supernerds.

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