Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Axel Tillmann a man who has allot of great insights and experiences you do not want to miss with this valuable interview.
Axel Tillmann, is the Managing Partner at Alpha-Consult, a Going to Market and Business Strategy consulting firm. With his engagements he focuses on moving business and society to a new + smarter future. Be it transitioning to a new market, brand, strategy, or partnership, Mr. Tillmann helps clients design understandable plans, and innovate meaningful solutions.
Mr. Tillmann brings close to three decades of leadership experience to the table, having directed numerous startups to and through successful exits, which also allowed him to gain a wealth of experience dealing with publicly held firms. Known as a serial entrepreneur, Mr. Tillmann is a well-known, well-connected expert involving start-ups, entrepreneurship and enterprise endorsement.
In the last 5 years Mr. Tillmann consulted with 100s of firms from a wide range of technology and industry sectors (Communication, Internet Security, IoT, Travel Industry, Entertainment, Life Sciences, Renewable Energy and Green Technologies). He is a sought-after startup advisor/mentor and contributor to Pitch Globally, Pitchforce, Global Technology Symposium and various other events. Additionally, he is the co-organizer of the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Prior positions were with RVC-USA, the US arm of a $1B Fund-of-Funds and managed of $350M direct investments as well helped foreign companies entering the US market. He was also advisor to Maxwell Biotech, a venture capital firm for Biotechnologies, AT Consult (among many projects led a team of German Energy developers to work on the opportunity for 300 MW wind power in New Hampshire cooperating with the then Governor of NH), Arcsight (acquired by HP), Azure Technologies (acquired by GN), ENIRA Technology (acquired by ArcSight) and GBS Laboratories. In 1998 he founded NOVILIT, Inc., a firm specializing in the design of electronic automation products and protocols. At NOVILIT, Mr. Tillmann oversaw and successfully ran the funding, market strategy, all product development and R&D for the firm.
An accomplished speaker and author well known for his technical expertise, Mr. Tillmann advises numerous industry organizations and served as Chairman of the Board of Alion Energy, Chairman of the Board of Appnow, past Member of the BoD of SMI (acquired for $300M) and is in the BoA of more than 10 other companies.
What inspired you to start your current business?
Entrepreneurship is the biggest force around the world, yet I come to realize that everything is not equal around the world. Seeing the tremendous success that a show like American Idol had, I felt we need to create the equivalent for entrepreneurship.
What is the story that inspired the name of the company?
When I was temporarily working in City Summit I realized that “City” is a too limiting prospective. Our scope is the world, and we want to bring our offering around the world.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your life?
Is there any other lifeform out there (LoL). For one you learn on how to cope with the constant up and downs in the business and you harden your psyche to be no longer effected. You will learn the age old lesson – Nothing before it’s time. So entrepreneurship taught be to be humble and allow for life to unfold itself.
What motivates you?
The idea that I can have an imp[act to change the world and make a lot of money while doing this.
How do you generate new ideas?
Frankly, I do not generate any ideas, this would imply that there is an activity by which you can make ideas appear, like you cook a good meal. No! Ideas come at most unexpected times, and yes sometimes they come in the shower or while doing any other activities. You need to have an open mind to let things flow.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
For a longer part in my life it was the fear of failure. But now I realize that life is actually happening in perfect harmony, even if I don’t like a given current scenario. So my “fears” are more mundane now and are for example that I have friends over and I screw up the meal 😊
What are your ideals?
A true democracy in which everyone can develop themselves in the way they desire. Capitalism outperforms Socialism, but I also believe we have the obligation to define better boundaries. Like there is no absolute freedom for everybody (this is anarchy), there should not be anything goes in the business world either. I would like to advocate for some new rules such as eliminate short selling, eliminate option trading, and forbid credit default swaps. They are instruments of evil not of a creative capitalistic society. I dream of sustainable growth versus boom/bust economy.
How do you define success?
#1 being at piece with what I am doing
#2 being in a happy marriage
#3 seeing the economic success of my activities
Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Yet you can learn and teach risk mitigation, and principles that can be a shortcut to making it, if it is within the divine’s plan. And one thing is for sure – it is not the plethora motivational speakers that tell the lies that you can make it if you really want. Really? So you are 5’1” and dream to be center in the NBA then I tell you no matter how much you pay Tony Robbins for motivation this is not going to happen in your lifetime.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
For me entrepreneurship is the opportunity to create “worlds”. The thrill of seeing your ideas come to life is priceless (for everything else is Mastercard – joke). But the lessons your learn from failure are too.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I live by the multitude of satisfactions. Sure I had two exists, but that high quickly disappeared. You need to be grounded to not be thrown off by any events, and even having a good conversation with a new client or business development prospect can be a tremendous high. I do not look back and rank! I see many in arts and entertainment and some in business to resort to drugs to receive new highs. This is like always looking back and missing what you had instead of enjoying what you have now.
What do you wish this company to accomplish within the next year ?
World Summit Global Venture Fund is raising $65M capital and then call for submission of business plans to be chosen to be among 20 selected companies that compete for a $5M investment in a show called UNICORN. I like to see this coming to fruition.
What do you wish this company will accomplish within the next five years?
We want to be the beacon for entrepreneurship around the world. We want to see UNICORN to air in many countries and in particular in many countries of Africa, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, GCC region, and many more. The countries that I listed have the biggest deficit to the western economic growth. But more importantly we are facing problems in the world that only a cultural unity will be able to solve. I once had the pleasure to visit with a guide Hopi Land and the Chief spoke about that God separated the world into for groups, White, Black, Red, and Yellow. Each got a different tablet of knowledge, and only when we come together will we understand what to do.
What does proper leadership look like to do, what is an example of leadership you have seen that is not proper?
My observation is that disrespect, discrimination against race and gender, harassment of any kind, arrogance and ruthlessness have no place in society and business. The better one becomes in overcoming prejudice the better leader one is. And one thing is important to be afraid that people that are “better” than you work for you, or do you expect the CEO of a major corporation to be also a good programmer. His skill set is different.
And lastly I believe companies need to fight NIH (Not invented here) syndrome
For the aspiring entrepreneur reading this what advice will you give ?
#1 find out what motivates you. Don’t say I want to be independent that’s why I want to be an Entrepreneur. You are never independent. If it is not your boss then it is your customers, or your investors …..
#2 Don’t spend any money if you are developing a product unless you have verified with 100 customers that you are on the right track
#3 let money not rule your decision process
#4 Enjoy the roller coaster ride
What final words do you have for all of the supporters?
Live a life of integrity and don’t expect success. If success is in the store for you it will come, sometimes totally different than you anticipated. And lastly be aware of every moment, there are messages for you that hopefully you don’t ignore.