Interview with Chris H. Leeb, Founder & CEO of 42Angelitos
The founder series explores the minds of business owners and their journey to make a difference in their industry. We interview these business founders to understand the life lessons that mold them into who they are today. We also learn more about their company, their products or services, how they are different from their competitors, and the problems that they are trying to solve for their customers. The information that these business owners provide to us helps inform other entrepreneurs who are looking to make an impact in the business world. We all can take these lessons and apply them to our entrepreneurial journey. We want to thank every business owner who volunteered their time to participate in these interviews and share their knowledge with the community.
Great to meet you. Thank you for doing the interview. We want to know more about your journey, early struggles, success, and some wisdom that we can pass on to others who are interested in walking your footsteps toward becoming an entrepreneur. We know that being an entrepreneur is not all glory and fame, but there are hard times too. We believe that others who are interested in being a business owner can gain insight from other business founders like yourself. Again, we want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get this interview started!
Let us start off with some basic questions to learn more about who you are as a person.
Can you tell everyone your name, please?
My name is Chris H. Leeb
Tell me about your education?
I have studied computer science and did a lot of different tasks in different companies. Also, I am still learning…
Can you give an example of an early lesson in life that helped shaped who you are today?
In general I am always curious, I love to test many things and ideas, and I never give up. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked in small and large organizations, as a manager and an employee, as a consultant and as a CIO. I realized soon that communication is one of the significant challenges of technicians, so I tried to communicate with different means very early. That is also the reason why I am very well connected on LinkedIn, twitter, and other social networks and media.
I learned (and still do) a lot when playing double bass in a classical orchestra or jazz bands. It is about doing a performance for and with the audience (the market); it is about knowing to play your instrument (skills) and playing the same piece of music (product). However, it is more: you have to listen, to feel, to be engaged to get the groove.
We all have entrepreneurs whom we look up to in our industry. These business leaders help influence, shape, and drive our ambition to succeed. These entrepreneurs could be someone that we have worked with on a project or could be someone that we look up too from a distance. For example, Bill Gates is a big inspiration to me not only because of his work in Microsoft but his outstanding contributions to society.
Who would you consider to be a significant influence on you professionally and can you explain why?
My favorite is Elon Musk because he is a visionary like me and he is working in parallel in several companies like me. However, of course, I am not famous and have not achieved what he already has done. Yet, I also have a small portfolio of startups in which I am the co-founder.
Thank you for providing background on who you are as a person. I always find it fascinating to learn who a person is and their early life lessons. Let us move forward with the interview and discuss what you are doing now and how you are making a difference in your industry.
What is the name of your company?
My company is 42Angelitos
Where is your company located?
From a legal point of view there is a company in Austria / Europe and the second one in silicon valley. However, we are working virtually all over the world. Also, maybe we will incorporate somewhere else, e.g., in Switzerland or Asia.
What services or products does your organization provide?
We are super early startup catapult, so we are helping entrepreneurs to bring their business idea to the market as soon as we can. We help with vision/strategy, team building, marketing, sales, product development, legal issues, finance, and funding. Because of many startups we worked with and because also of our enormous number of failures we did, we can contribute quickly and direct.
What problem is your business trying to solve?
First-time entrepreneurs usually have no clue how to start a startup. The support they get is mostly very local/regional. I believe that one of the major decisions is where a startup is incorporated, even if it is a service on the internet. The primary criteria are the market size and the innovation readiness of the potential clients.
How is your business unique against your competitors?
Because it is very risky to invest time and money in super early startups, I believe that with our help we can reduce that risk and dramatically speed up the whole process from business idea to market. Usually, accelerators and incubators are a phase after our engagement. So, I currently do not see much competition.
How did the idea for your business come to fruition?
I was involved in many startups as a person, and after some time I decided to incorporate 42Angelitos in Austria as a holding company for my European startups. After I got in love with Silicon Valley, I also decided to incorporate a company there. The primary advantage now is that I can also give shares or share options to others who want to follow me.
I did NOT have the idea to build a fund or an accelerator or an incubator. I just started as one person show bottom up. I always work with people from my network. I only do things which are useful to entrepreneurs and startups.
Also, if something turned out not to be useful, we stop doing it.
Now I have a small portfolio of startup companies. Some of them will make it, some of them maybe not, but overall I love what I have achieved together with my partners in my network.
Where can people go on the web to learn more about your business?
At www.42angelitos.com you can get in contact with us. Also, I am on Linkedin or Twitter, to name some options to get in touch with me as a person. I also love to write from time to time on medium or answer questions on Quora. For me each business idea and each startup team is unique. If it would be a project which is almost the same you could write a bot to start a startup automatically.
Final question. We want to thank you for the interview. We have one last question to ask you about imparting some wisdom to future entrepreneurs.
What three tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who are starting out on their journey?
- If you have a business idea try to convince at least a second person to get 100% dedicated to that idea. You cannot manage all end everything, and you have to learn to work in a team from the very first beginning.
- Focus on unique value for your potential clients. The market is the only one with the right to decide if a business idea is good or not. Do not argue with family and friends who do not understand you.
- Goto the right market as quickly as you can. This also means that you should focus on an MVP and learn in tiny loops from your first clients.