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Get up once more than fall down

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Get up once more than fall down

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Anyone who founds a startup strives for it to be successful. Failure is the nightmare of many founders. However, in most cases, a setback does not mean the end of the world. Many successful entrepreneurs have suffered setbacks before becoming successful, including well-known personalities such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. In today’s interview, Matthias Koppenborg, founder and managing director of jovoco GmbH, tells how his failure ultimately became a success story.

Matthias’s founding career was marked by some ups and downs. She began founding his first startup Appointrix in 2018, but it did not achieve the desired success. After this setback, he tried again with a startup in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, this was not successful either. Many would have already given up at this point and given up their entrepreneurial careers. Matthias, however, remained stubborn: Instead of giving up, he learned from previous attempts and made a third attempt. And lo and behold – persevering was worth it. Today he is successful with his company jovoco. The company is active in IT consulting and offers tailor-made solutions for its target group. The focus is on application solutions and the implementation of individual IT requirements in the Microsoft ecosystem, in particular the Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Security and Microsoft Azure.

Today you are a successful entrepreneur. But that wasn’t always the case. Your first two startups failed. Do you know where the mistake was back then?

It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason. I think it was more of a combination of different aspects. An important point that I have now understood is that we stuck too closely to our product and our concept. Flexibility and the willingness to think out of the box would certainly have been helpful for success back then.

We should have continually asked ourselves whether we were still on the right path. We didn’t do this decisively enough. As a result, we did not recognize potential for value creation and did not adapt to market needs. We were so convinced of our concept at the time that we never even thought to check whether it all still made as much sense as we initially thought.

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Did you then take a different approach at jovoco?

Yes definitely. At jocovo we attach great importance to being able to adapt quickly to new topics. This agility is reflected not only in technological aspects, which are very important in our industry, but also in how flexibly we adapt to the wishes of our customers.

Would you say that customer focus makes the difference?

I think that this is definitely a crucial success factor. You often hear that you should first test an idea before you plunge into its implementation. That’s actually true. It is important to validate whether there is any demand and whether customers are willing to pay for the product. We try to live this very strongly at jovoco. Based on my experiences, we have established one of our core values, which is “speed”. Our goal is to impress our customers with particularly high speeds of adaptation when it comes to interaction, communication and implementation. Because I have personally experienced what happens when you don’t stick to it, there is of course a great desire to do better now.

You took part in the CyberForum’s CyberLab Accelerator program with your first startup and are now a member of the CyberForum network with jovoco. How do you benefit from this?

Although my first startup, with which I took part in the accelerator, was not successful, I gained a lot of new insights and contacts from my time at CyberLab. For example, I am still in contact with our mentor at the time, Mathias Thomas.

Overall, the topic of networking is indispensable for me as an entrepreneur. CyberForum allows me to expand my network, which allows me to build valuable relationships that advance my business. By exchanging ideas, experiences and resources within the network, new business opportunities, partnerships and contacts with potential customers open up, which are crucial to the success and growth of my company.

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Finally, one last question: Would you say failure is bad?

Of course, failure is not nice. However, it sometimes makes more sense to recognize when a project no longer has a chance of success. Stubbornly sticking to the original plan for fear of failure can result in valuable time and energy being lost. The willingness to realign can be more effective and lead to better development of the company.

Sometimes success also means having the ability to let go and embrace new opportunities. We weren’t forced to stop with our first two companies, but rather made a conscious decision to try out a new approach. The investment that I put into my first two startups was not in vain, because it resulted in learnings that made it work the third time.

The saying “get up once more than you fell down” describes it aptly. Honesty towards yourself and the team, constant reflection and the willingness to question your own path are essential. You shouldn’t get discouraged even if you fail several times. Of course, success is not necessarily inevitable. But just because you’re not immediately successful doesn’t mean you’ll never be successful.

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