Insight: Serial Founder in the Berlin Start-up Scene
The best ideas often arise from everyday problems. For Christopher Muhr's co-founders of Auto1, Christian Bertermann and Hakan Koç, the key moment was in 2012: the two found it hard to sell two old cars of Christian Bertermann's grandmother. "This experience showed us that the market was ripe for a business which made selling and buying vehicles easier, faster and safer," Muhr explains. Auto1 was born.
Never lose sight of the vision
With this simple concept in their pockets, the entrepreneurs had to face the question of their long-term vision. It is, "Auto1 will become the world's largest market place for car trade." The company, like any other market place, makes money from the respective margin between purchase and sales price of the vehicles. The idea behind Auto1 is selling so well that the company was able to rapidly develop, now employing over 2,000 people in 24 countries.
"What makes our team strong is our ability to focus," states the HHL graduate. This quality is essential, particularly for a rapidly growing company, as during the initial phase there is the risk of the company losing itself amongst the large number of opportunities. The key to success for Muhr as the COO of Auto1 is the selection of motivated and talented people who share their common vision, work hard for it and following this vision continue to align and build up the company step by step.
Muhr has the start-up gene
After completing his M.Sc. program at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in 2008, Muhr initially worked in the M&A Department of NIBC Bank in Frankfurt. In 2009, he joined ecareer, a Rocket Internet venture, as a co-founder and Managing Director. Muhr is always on the go so he did not stay long at the online job market, founding and building up the discount platform MyCityDeal together with Christian Bertermann. The investment was financially carried by the Samwer brothers and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The start-up was sold to Groupon shortly after its establishment, where Christopher Muhr was appointed to the Board as new Senior Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Development of the Berlin start-up scene
Muhr also knows his other partner from the Berlin start-up scene. "Hakan was working as Head of Product at Home24 at the time. He had previously attended Bucerius Law School while Christian studied in Mannheim," the co-founder explains. His own studies at HHL, according to Muhr, helped to bring him into contact with start-ups early on. "The fact that start-ups introduced themselves at HHL on a regular basis and that founders were involved in the classes contributed to me checking this world out and eventually becoming a part of it." Christoph Muhr continues to be always on the go. Together with his co-founders, Muhr has established two more companies, which are also rooted in the Berlin start-up scene: HeavenHR, a Software-as-a-Service company which makes human resource management easier and cheaper; as well as McMakler, a proptech company.
Christopher Muhr is an alumnus of the first graduating class of the Master in Management Program (M.Sc.) at HHL. With over 165 start-ups by HHL alumni in the last 20 years, Germany's top address for young managers has also developed into a very successful incubator for company creation. Only recently, HHL was named, for the third time in a row, as one of Germany's leading entrepreneurial universities by Stifterverband.
Christopher Muhr will appear as a speaker at Accelerate@HHL, a two-day start-up conference hosted by his alma mater. The event will take place in Leipzig on April 21 and 22, 2017. Further information: http://accelerateconference.hhl.de.
HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management as a hotbed for entrepreneurs
With over 165 start-ups established by HHL alumni over the last 20 years, Germany's top address for young managers has also developed into a very successful incubator for company creation. The founders' entrepreneurial commitment has created more than 2,800 jobs already. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, HHL reached one of three first places for the best entrepreneurial universities in Germany in the Start-Up Radar ranking published by Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Founders' Association of German Science), Heinz Nixdorf Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BWMi). According to the Financial Times, HHL ranks first in Germany and fifth globally for its entrepreneurship focus within the M.Sc. and EMBA programs. www.hhl.de/EntrepreneurialGraduateSchool