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Interview with Johannes Partz

Foto: Flü


"If you love what you do, you'll eventually succeed"

Our alumnus Johannes Partz (business studies diploma course, graduated in 2008) is co-founder and managing director of the Cologne-based start-up Flü, the first liquefied petroleum gas portal in Germany.
The young start-up company brings together people interested in liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied petroleum gas tanks and liquefied petroleum gas plants with liquefied petroleum gas suppliers.
We spoke with Johannes Partz about the emergence and further development of Flü Beyond that he told us, how working in a start-up is like that.


Dear Mr. Partz, why liquid gas? How did you and your co-founder get the idea?
The liquid gas industry is a small, medium-sized and rather rural industry. Hardly anyone knows liquid gas, if at all in gas bottles for barbecuing - a mini-niche market. Few people know that liquefied petroleum gas can also be used to heat very cheaply and above all cleanly. There is a lack of attention for this great product - with which we can save a lot of CO2 and particulate matter very cost-effectively.

In addition, there is no supplier comparison and no supplier-independent advice on choosing the right liquid gas supplier. At least that was our assumption when we analyzed the market. In the meantime, we can confirm that there is a demand for this service and we now want to meet this demand.

You have founded Flü together with Marc Bode. How did you come together with your partner?  What is the distribution of tasks and working in the company like?
We worked together at a liquefied gas supplier, Rheingas in Brühl - and in the end we even worked together in an office and on a topic. So we knew what it was like to work together even before we started. A great advantage.

Actually, we both do everything, as it is with a small start-up, so from marketing to customer meetings, sales to partner acquisition, strategy, tool selection, implementation and such exciting topics as accounting. But of course we do have focal points. Marc can program, which unfortunately I cannot do. For example, I take care of the sales-related things like partner acquisition. But we also try to represent each other on a basic level, which works out great. So I can change a little bit in the backend and Marc has a great elevator pitch.

We founded the company in my basement in Cologne-Weiden, as befits a start-up without external financing.

What role did the founding location of Cologne play for you?
We did not hesitate for a second to go to Cologne. First of all I am a Cologne native, I like the city and the FC and I live here. Cologne is geographically well situated to reach all liquid gas suppliers in Germany within one day.

We founded the company in my basement in Köln-Weiden, which is a good thing for a start-up without external financing. Meanwhile we are sitting in Braunsfeld in the Merkurhof with many other start-ups, but also a motorcycle workshop - just typical Cologne. The network of the start-ups in Cologne is simply great, you exchange ideas, give each other tips and it's just relaxed. I got the tip with the Merkurhof, for example, from a start-up colleague whom I met by chance in the elevator. I don't know if that's the same in Berlin.

I think this open-mindedness makes it easier to start up in Cologne than elsewhere. If we ever need employees, we're sure to find top people here.

Who uses the services of Flü What does their offer include?
Our offer is aimed at private customers and business customers who do not yet know which energy source is the right one. Secondly, to interested parties who are still undecided which liquefied petroleum gas supplier, which gas tank and whether they should buy or rent the liquefied petroleum gas tank. Thirdly, to liquefied gas tank owners who, for example, want to order liquefied gas or need an inspection. And of course to our partners, who turn these interested parties into customers.

First of all, we have to become more profitable and prove that our business works in the long term.

Where will Flü be in three years? What is your goal for the future?
First of all, we have to become more profitable and prove that our business works in the long term. Then we want to grow in our core business and perhaps add other products, such as gas cylinders.

But the focus on one topic is very important.
What did you do before Flü

First of all I was a consultant for 5 years in a small but very good management consultancy, working in the field of business development and communication mainly in the energy industry. I started working there while I was still studying and then joined the company as a partner after university.

And then I spent five years in the Rheingas Group in various functions. First as a business area developer, then I headed a subdivision of energy technology and was managing director of a building services engineering subsidiary. The last two years I was then head of sales at Rheingas. Now just Flü

Please complete the sentence: 
When I think back to my student days at the University of Cologne, I think of the e-room, where there was even a smoking area, lectures by Prof. Anderegg, who was able to make the whole lecture hall laugh, and many great fellow students. Simply a great time!


The studies have really laid a good foundation.

What are the most important contents or insights from your studies for your current profession?
The studies really have laid a good foundation. By the way, this knowledge has only matured over the years.

In particular, the focus on energy economics, marketing and market research, and also business management, has led to the fact that I am able to place many entrepreneurial and economic questions very well.

But in my current work, I read many current, practical blogs, listen to topic-related podcasts or ask someone who knows about them.


You should find a job that you really enjoy

What would you give our students in general? What are your three tips for life and career?

1. find a job that you really enjoy, not a job. If you love what you do, you will be successful sooner rather than later.

2. leave the comfort zone. It's hard, but I think it's always worth it. Either personally or in terms of content, you get a good deal further. In addition, you learn what you are good at and also what you are not so good at and it is better to leave it to others.

3. to ask oneself every now and then, how one would think about this problem, this question at the age of 70 and what one would advise oneself then. For example, I would then have advised myself more urgently to do one more semester abroad.

Thank you very much for the interview, Mr Partz.

The questions were asked by Ayla Wisselinck