Episode 1 : What have you learnt? With Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke from DeepSkill

What have you learnt? This is a question we’re putting to company founders from our portfolio. Because if you found a start-up, run a company, make investments or work in management, you are learning something new every single day. You also have to deal with new situations. And continue to develop new skills. To cover the latter aspect, we expanded the HTGF Academy this year to offer a comprehensive programme for company founders and others. And because we firmly believe in the power of peer-to-peer learning, this newsletter sees the launch of our new column: What have you learnt? Once a month, company founders from our portfolio will be offering tips and advice. The first to do so are Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke from DeepSkill.

DeepSkill only recently became part of the HTGF family. The Cologne-based start-up obtained seven-figure pre-seed funding, with High-Tech Gründerfonds among the investors.

DeepSkill is the EdTech-platform for digital people development. Founded by Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke, the company helps employees develop strong deep skills through personalized learning and coaching programs with custom-fit coaches, formats and content. With their help, emotional skills will be omnipresent in organizations in the future and enable them to be more productive, sustainable and human.

 What have you learnt, Miriam and Peter?

Miriam: The biggest thing I learnt most recently was to make sure to take break – even during stressful periods. You have to give yourself space both mentally and physically so that you can gather the energy you need to achieve what you are planning to do. This will also help you appreciate what you have achieved all the more. 

Peter: The thing I learnt most recently was during the financing round just now. As a company founder, you have to sometimes take a step back from the operational side of things in order to concentrate on raising funds. It made me realise just how essential it is to have a team and that I can completely rely on the DeepSkill team. 

Miriam Mertens and Peter Goeke, DeepSkill © DeepSkill

What have you learnt from the process of founding your company that has stuck with you?

Miriam: Founding a company is not always easy. You learn something new from each success and failure, and this is always associated with emotions that you cannot allow yourself to get too caught up in. Although successes should obviously be celebrated. 

 Peter: It is important to have the courage to keep reinventing yourself. This is something I consistently did and it ultimately led me to founding DeepSkill together with Miriam. Looking back, every stage of my career has led me to this point – it’s a bit like connecting the dots.  .  

What advice would you give to other company founders?  

Miriam: Make sure to take criticism on board. It often hurts to hear negative feedback about your “baby” and we all have a tendency to either push it to one side or sugarcoat it. But if you find yourself often receiving the same criticism, there’s probably an important degree of truth in there.

Peter: Come up with an idea that is meaningful and something that you are passionate about. This will give you the energy you need to get your start-up going. Because founding a company is a marathon not a sprint.

How important is the notion of learning in general for founders?   

Miriam: I think it applies to everyone that you’re never done learning. Particularly as a start-up, you should be open to change and new things. Only those who develop and move with the times will be able to pursue their objectives in the long term.  

Peter: Founding a company and learning go hand in hand – you are always faced with new challenges. It’s a steep learning curve for company founders throughout all stages of a company’s development. Once the company has been launched, processes need to be put in place, followed by process optimisation and internationalisation etc. As a founder, you are having to constantly perform new roles and further your own development.

In the next DeepDive newsletter, which will be released at the start of October, Rica Klitzke will discuss what she was learnt as the co-founder and CMO of financial start-up finmarie.

At the HTGF Academy, you can look forward to the “Liquidity management – an important success factor in every phase of a company’s life” websession with the deutsche Bank on 28 September. On 04 Oktober , we’ll be hosting a Websession with KAUFMANN / LANGHANS on the topic of “Convincing rationally, inspiring emotionally – what matters in a good equity story”. You can find a overview of all events here.

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