Who are the people behind the scenes? Part 1
This week, ELO starts off with its three-piece series on ELO’s founder team. The key ingredient for every start-up is a well-functioning team. Hence, we want to introduce you to all three of us so you can learn more and see what connects us. In our first post, you get to know one of our two German co-founders, Philipp Heinze.
Philipp, can you please tell us what everyone should know about you?
Hi there! I am Phil (27) from Erfurt, Germany. The passion for foreign cultures made me live in six different countries within the last seven years, including substantial work experience in Australia, Norway, Peru and Japan. The interest for foreign languages has personal and job-related reasons, e.g. to enhance communication and understanding with locals during travel adventures (~50 countries). Other than that, I am passionate about sports and whenever leisure time allows, I try to leave the city behind and head into the Swedish nature with friends to hike or to go fishing.
What else than your love for IKEA made you want to live in Sweden?
Köttbullar and the love for elks! Jokes apart, I decided to come to Sweden for my Master studies in “Entrepreneurship and Innovation — New Venture Creation” at Lund University in 2017. As Lund University has a great reputation in Sweden and beyond the Baltic Sea, it was an easy decision to apply for the course. Looking back to my childhood, I did also travel to Denmark, Norway or Sweden with my family for summer vacation almost every year. Now, I do understand why so many Swedish people leave Sweden during summer time. It’s probably not for the sake of having better weather abroad but to save themselves from the flood of tourists…
What did you do before starting ELO and your time in Sweden?
I completed my Bachelor degree in International Business with the major in finance and marketing. As my studies had an additional focus on the countries around the Baltic Sea, I had the chance to pair them with language classes in Norwegian and Russian. During these four years I also interned in Peru (NGO: Helping Overcome Obstacles Peru) for five months and nine months in Japan (Robert Bosch GmbH — Automotive Aftermarket).
Why did you want to start your own business?
From a young age on I started coming up with the most ridiculous ideas that I thought, the world is still missing. I had to learn the hard way that they were missing for a reason. However, I never got discouraged from pursuing ideas. During my various internships, it became more and more clear that I have the ambition to make a difference and that I simply need to take over increased responsibility for my own well-being. As my past journeys were always closely connected to language learning and my Peruvian NGO’s mission is to “Break the Cycle of Poverty through Education”, it was definitely the right moment to combine my passion for languages and own start-up ambitions. I live by the words that language learning should be affordable and enable everyone to leave language barriers behind in order to pursue personal dreams, e.g. job, travels, etc.
What is a typical day for you?
These days we’re based in Lund University’s incubator “Venture Lab”. Here, my focus lies on community building in preparation for the future release of ELO’s beta version. Along with content creation for our social media channels, I continuously intend to gain more marketing knowledge, e.g. by completing Google’s Online Marketing Certificate. As we run our product development in parallel, the focus will soon lie on feedback exchange with potential investors and the preparation for start-up competitions.
What has been your best take-away?
The most important learning for me is that a great team with the right dynamics has the chance to turn a mediocre idea into a great business. However, a team with poor dynamics will most likely fail even though they have a great idea. I am happy to have found the two like-minded individuals that make me feel like this start-up endeavor is more than just a dream.
Last, what excites you about your future at ELO?
What makes me excited the most is the fact of being a part in the conversion from a business idea into a real business. As we are currently developing a solution that I have been looking for during my efforts of languages learning, I simply cannot wait for the first version to be ready.