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The Global M blog

Day in the life Interview: Patrick Burkert

by | Jan 6, 2023 | Day in the life

At the end of 2022, we had a chance to have an insightful conversation with Patrick Burkert. Patrick is a dad and entrepreneur. He’s currently working as a Venture Manager at Campus Founders and helps founders to execute their ideas and grow their start-ups.

We talked to Patrick about his background, discussed his current projects, and got his point of view on how he can help people to build an entrepreneurial mindset and make their businesses flourish.

1. Hey, Patrick! First off can you tell us a bit about your job & what your company does?

Hello! Right now, I am in Germany, in the city called Heilbronn, where I recently started my new endeavour as a Venture Manager at Campus Founders. Campus Founders are building an entrepreneurial ecosystem for start-ups, founders and future founders, supporting and accompanying them in every phase of their entrepreneurial journey, from the earliest idea to product stages and to connections to corporations and pre-seed investments later on. We inspire, inform, empower and network and we invest in these start-ups not only with money but also by coaching them to get ready for the next funding rounds and that’s my mission here —  to help them along their journey to achieve their goals in a sustainable way. 

2. Do you usually work with German start-ups?

Not only, but I am also here because I did a similar job in my own company, called OGNC. I did that in Barcelona for about 4 years, investing in different pre-seed to seed start-ups, and working with them as a mentor, advisor or even hands-on, teammate. Now I have moved to Campus Founders and support mostly German start-ups here. One of the main reasons for that is, that I am originally from the city and I wanted to be part of that exciting development that is happening here in terms of entrepreneurship, which didn’t exist the years before and where I can have an impact on it. But I am still related to Barcelona of course as my home base and see myself connected to all relevant startup ecosystems, especially in Europe.

3. What is your background? How did you get into the industry?

It’s very interesting. In 2010, I moved to Berlin and finished my Master’s in Digital Media and started a PhD in Experience Design. I was actually always on the conceptual, creative or cultural side of the business, mainly marketing or sales, but always related to research and tech aspects. That is why I started my own company in Berlin, which has grown into a quite big start-up, called Go—PopUp. Go—PopUp is a marketplace for short-term estate and offline brand experiences. We scaled-up up to 9 countries with a lot of retail spaces and lots of brands working with us, and I sold this company to my competitor in Barcelona, in 2018. That’s how I ended up living in Barcelona.

Right after that, I founded OGNC, an entrepreneurial consulting company. OGNC stands for “Organic” because I am a big fan of organic growth, which means that good things have their timings and that you can achieve a lot through an entrepreneurial, creative and growth-hacking mindset, connecting and seeing all elements of a startup as a whole in a holistic way.

That was a transition from being a founder to working with start-ups as an investor, but as said, with a hands-on approach. Then I got interested in doing this on a bigger scope and joined Campus Founders. Because I can not only do start-up investments and coaching but also be part of building a whole ecosystem for start-ups in the region where I grew up and inspire and create many more entrepreneurial minds here.

4. We know you from our collaboration with Seqera, were you doing similar things with them?

Seqera is the start-up that I joined focusing on Growth Marketing. Firstly we aimed to build Growth Marketing campaigns for their recruitment, helping them to create the strategy, and understand funnels and their positioning. Then I started working on sales and communications campaigns. At the curtain point, when things are running and the company understands the next steps and processes, I move on to another topic or project. That’s the benefit of being a full-stack entrepreneur, who has done those things before.

I did that model with multiple start-ups in Barcelona, either being an angel investor or a hands-on advisor working closely with their internal teams. For example, I worked with dada-days, a Mallorca-based start-up, or became an angel investor at Oliva, a mental health start-up.

I think this is one of my superpowers – to build up networks, connecting different people, like corporate managers to a student, who is super talented and might bring so much value to the start-up.

For example, I worked in Barcelona for quite a long time and knew about Global{M}. In the early stages, recruitment is an essential part because it will define the culture you will have in your company and reveal so many things that you don’t have on your list as a founder. If founders don’t have the resources, like time or money, to do it, some partners can help them. One of these partners is Global{M}, which is good at executing and well-connected to help you find the right people in the beginning. 

When it comes to tech recruitment, it’s not like people are lining up for your start-up when they know nothing about it. That’s why you should work on your vision and brand and have experienced recruiters who are well-connected in this ecosystem and can help you to find a perfect candidate.

I see myself as somebody who is able to “connect dots”. I understand Barcelona’s ecosystem very well, and can advise the start-ups I work with on how and where to get what they need. I can do the same thing for German businesses. I am quite good at connecting people, networking with people, and bringing things together in order to co-create something bigger together.

Patrick Burkert, Venture Manager at Campus Founders

5. What does your typical workday schedule look like?

My daily life has changed a little since we moved from Barcelona to Heilbronn, Germany. I have a 4.5-year-old daughter and I am married, so the family is a very important part of my life. Normally, I wake up, and start my work by drinking coffee and checking my emails. We have daily team check-ins in the morning to see what’s going on, and synchronise with the team. From that time on, I am free to schedule my own time. I have start-ups pitching to me, and I am reviewing pitch decks. I also invest a lot of time thinking about how I can connect people and ideas and trying to understand what makes sense. Plus, I have mentoring sessions, so founders can “book” the time with me as a part of our services, and I can work with their teams on specific topics like recruitment, sales, marketing, product or etc. Then I have lunch with my colleagues, founders I work with or partners I meet, sometimes my wife comes over with my daughter as well which is nice. After work, I mostly spend time with my family.

I always try to merge both work and family. These are the things that are very important to me, and they must be balanced. I try to integrate these two parts of my life, I can work from the office to see my colleagues, or I can also work from home, spending more time with my family.

Patrick Burkert, Venture Manager at Campus Founders

6. What types of projects do you currently work with?

Campus Founders Venture Studio was launched at the beginning of 2022. Campus Founders itself in 2018 as an ecosystem builder and entrepreneurial mindset smithy that works with people that have entrepreneurial ideas and want to take on the next steps in their journey, facilitating valuable connections. My job is to work with start-ups, identify what start-ups we should invest in, and develop programs for the start-ups here. Our main driver is to develop an entrepreneurial mindset in people, and it’s also our main challenge. If founders come to us with sophisticated ideas, I can help them to get the pre-seed investment. Later on, I coach and mentor them to get a bigger round.

Recently we launched a new program called AI Founders, as a horizontal focus. This is for founders that are more into the deep side of the technology, developing artificial intelligence. The start-ups can get 25K euros without giving us equity for that, but we are giving them 3 free months of co-living here, co-working space and a full program with coaching and mentoring. People here create amazing things, from, eg. HR-Tech to Automation Design Tools and Autonomous Driving testing environments.

6. How is it like to work with people who have such creative and innovative ideas?

Sometimes I see their uniqueness even before the founders are that. But you should be really careful not to mislead them. Every piece of advice can be an advice trap, you should not tell an entrepreneur what to do, you can give him the tools to perform. It’s like a flower, it needs to be in the right soil, and you need to water it and take good care of it in order to make it grow.

The younger a start-up, the more value I can create. I believe that a good advisor is a person that has done things before and can help other people to do it successfully again. If you don’t have the time or experience to do something, you should get the support of people who have already gone through similar challenges.

7. What is your biggest achievement?

To create my family, it was the best start-up for sure. I am very proud of what we have achieved with my start-up, Go-PopUp, which I founded in 2013. We were doing PopUp Stores, stores as part of a sharing economy. We can see that now it is being implemented in every brand’s marketing strategy in nearly all the cities around the world. We added more flexibility to the retail and real estate sector. Now it’s a basic thing for almost every city to have pop-up stores and I am proud to look back and see that I have contributed to it.

During this process, I learned a lot about myself, and that’s my biggest achievement so far. With this, I am able to give my knowledge and experience to others and help them to do great things as well. That’s what I am really passionate about and I am proud of that personal development journey through entrepreneurship and being able to “connect the dots” while being very free and flexible in terms of working today.

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