3 startup tips from serial entrepreneur Henrik Zillmer

Henrik Zillmer is an experienced entrepreneur who has started 10+ e-commerce startups in Europe and Asia, including Zalora.com (€1 billion valuation) and Lazada.com. Henrik is also an alumni of the biggest and most successful incubators: Rocket Internet in Europe and Y Combinator in the US. He is currently the CEO & Founder of AirHelp, a startup that helps flyers claim compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights. We recently caught up with Henrik to get his advice on startups and entrepreneurship. He tells us:

  1. Get customer validation:  “Launch as fast as possible to get customer validation. If you’re not embarrassed of the quality of your product when you launch, you’ve launched too late. So get customer validation first.”
  2. Don’t reinvent the wheel: “Some startups consist of components of already successful companies. If, for example, you want to start a webshop, then you don’t need to validate the idea, because it’s already proven successful elsewhere. Then you need to analyze the market and execute the hell out of it.”
  3. Henrik also adds that motivation is in the “DNA of an entrepreneur…Successful entrepreneurs thrive on the ups and downs (challenges) and could never settle for a corporate job. If the motivation disappears, it could be a sign that startup life might not be for you. You choose not to die.”

What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?