Interview with Alexander Weinzetl
"If you want to start a business, the sooner the better."
Our alumnus Alexander Weinzetl (Dipl.-BWL) is co-founder of the Cologne-based start-up deinetorte.de The start-up company went online in 2009 and recently made headlines when it became known that Dr. Oetker was investing in the Cologne-based company.
We talked to Alexander Weinzetl about the creation and development of deinetorte.de and what it's like to work in a start-up. He also gives our students valuable tips!
Dear Mr Weinzetl, why did you decide to found a start-up? How did you and your co-founder Henrik Svensson come to deinetorte.de?
My parents were also entrepreneurs and so I came into contact with entrepreneurship at an early age. The same goes for my co-founder Henrik. On a trip together in Australia, the dream of founding a company together in the future was born. During his studies, Henrik met the inventors of the cake printers and called me directly. We were so enthusiastic about the invention that we wanted to build a company based on this technology.
We work in small teams that act quickly and flexibly.
What is the distribution of tasks and work in your company like?
Henrik takes care of product development, the web shop and marketing. I look after the areas of personnel, production, purchasing and finances. Basically, we have very flat hierarchies and short decision-making paths. We work in small teams that act quickly and flexibly. Our employees* receive our trust and can work very independently. They have a great deal of creative freedom and therefore also a great deal of responsibility.
Cologne is my home and I would not like to live and work in any other city.
What role did the founding location of Cologne play for you?
Cologne is my home and I wouldn't want to live and work in any other city.
In terms of the company, Cologne is a very attractive location. We notice this especially when we are looking for personnel. It is also relatively easy for us to find new employees* for office and production positions because of Cologne. For us as an e-commerce company, Cologne's geographical location is also ideal. We can ship our cakes to the whole of Europe within 1-2 days and soon we will be able to supply about 10 million households via same-day delivery service.
There are new challenges every day and it never gets boring.
In your opinion, what are the benefits and challenges of a start-up company?
For me personally it was a great experience to create something new and to develop it further. Every day there are new challenges and it never gets boring. To have the freedom to decide how to organize your working day, which projects to tackle and how to implement them is a great privilege for me.
Basically the uncomplicated, informal and familiar atmosphere in a start-up is a great alternative to a corporate job. Employees* are given a lot of responsibility very quickly and in the course of "trial and error" they can put their own ideas into practice, evaluate them and constantly improve them.
Please complete the sentence: When I think back to my time as a student at the University of Cologne, I think...
It was a great time. I was able to enjoy my studies to the fullest and gain a lot of experience, which helped me a lot on my further way.
The business studies gave me a comprehensive overview of all facets of a company and the relevant environmental and success factors.
What are the most important contents or insights from your studies for your current profession?
The business studies gave me a comprehensive overview of all facets of a company and the relevant environmental and success factors. This basic understanding was a good basis for building and developing our company.
In addition to my regular studies, I was able to gain further valuable experience through a semester abroad, an internship abroad, study jobs and our company foundation.
What would you give our students in general? What are your three tips for life and career?
To enjoy the study time to the fullest. You won't have as much free time and freedom in your working life as you did during your studies.
Then find a job that is fun. If you enjoy your job, you will be good at it and successful.
If you want to start a business: the earlier, the better. When you are young, you have less to lose and the necessary energy.
Thank you very much for the interview!
Interview: Ayla Wisselinck