In the latest episode of the Dealmakers’ Podcast, we had the privilege of speaking with Janis Zech. As the founder and CEO of various successful startups, including Fyber and Weflow, Janis has demonstrated a remarkable ability to identify opportunities, solve complex problems, and create lasting value.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Early experiences and an appreciation for life’s simple blessings, shaped Janis’ entrepreneurial journey with humility.
- An innate desire to create and build, stemming from childhood endeavors, igniting an entrepreneurial spirit and pursuit of impactful ventures
- Prioritizing learning during the early stages of entrepreneurship is crucial for growth and success, whether starting a company or learning from mentors
- Establishing and maintaining core operating principles and values to create consistency in behavior, hiring, and promotion decisions, fostering a strong company culture
- The decision to sell should be guided by evaluating strategic value, future growth potential, and market conditions, with a focus on building a fundamentally strong business
- Building a lasting impact requires finding partners who believe in the vision and can contribute to the venture’s success, amplifying its potential for growth
- A journey exemplifying the enduring impact of entrepreneurship—creating not just successful businesses, but a legacy of problem-solving and positive change
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About Janis Zech:
Janis Zech is the co-founder and chief operating officer at Fyber. Zech is a Berlin and San Francisco-based serial entrepreneur and angel investor passionate about technology ventures. He co-founded Fyber in 2009, and has since grown it to a leading mobile advertising technology company with offices in San Francisco and Berlin.
Zech was previously with Team Europe, one of Europe’s most successful incubators, and invested in several seed stage startups.
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Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: Already hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerrs show. So today. We have a really exciting guest I guess that they has done it. You know before you know he sold his his last company actually for quite a bit. Well he sold several companies not just one. Ah, but but again, we’re going to be talking a lot about deal making organic and inorganic m and a raising money. Ah, all the good stuff that we like to hear and also culture. You know culture is something so important that people are not paying that much attention to nowadays when it comes to building companies and it’s a massive mistake. So guess without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today Janis Sek welcome to the show.
Janis Zech: Um, great to meet you thanks for having me.
Alejandro Cremades: So originally you grew up in Bremen so give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up there in Germany.
Janis Zech: Um, yeah, it’s a pretty rainy cold so weather can’t can’t can’t hurt me now. It’s been. It’s been good I I like growing up there for sure.
Alejandro Cremades: And one of the things that you did which is remarkable. Um it was working with disabled children. So how did that thing idea come about.
Janis Zech: Yeah I mean after my a levels I had to do a social service so I did that in in the Uk between London and Cambridge. And yeah I worked in a care center for disabled children for around nine months. Ah so pretty far away from I’d say the world here. We’re living in day-to-day but it’s ah it’s a very humbling and interesting experience. Um, and yeah, also interesting to you know, live on £50 a week in in England.
Alejandro Cremades: No kidding. You know you know you know one 1 thing that they that just hit me. You know as you were saying this is I find that founders you know they’re always focusing on the finish line and they forget about the journey and appreciating you know some of the things that you accomplish along the way and I find that.
Janis Zech: But that’s a different story.
Janis Zech: Um.
Alejandro Cremades: When you’re able to work with you know,? let’s say people that you know are are Experiencing. You know this type of um of hurdles in life right? and in every you get to experience that and and I guess what? what really hit me is what what would you say that you got about. Gratitude and appreciation and especially you know, like appreciating you know, like where you are what you have who you are where you’ve come From. You know when you’re able to experience with people that they perhaps you know have had ah a little bit more of a difficult life.
Janis Zech: Um, yeah I mean I think I think in general ah you know, having parents who love you Support. You is something that is obviously a great start into life and if you look globally I think it’s very easy to forget. That most things can’t be taken for granted whether that’s health you know whether that’s you know, running water or being in you know, climate zones that are not as distracted from what’s coming and already you know a reality for many people. So I think it’s a general theme. You know the more you see and experience that like you you don’t you know? Um, yeah, you should should appreciate many things and I think especially the journey you you’re referring to I think that’s something you know which is. Ultimately I think a goal of everybody to find you know what is journey and and joy doing in your life And yeah, I’m getting close I’m not sure if I’m already there but for sure something and I’ve been thinking a lot about because I think that fundamentally as an entrepreneur at least. That’s always been. You know a common theme is like you know you raise around and it’s say Great. What’s next you know and we realized that at some point we didn’t do any closing dinners anymore now we still haven’t done one for back for example which we sold to personio.
Janis Zech: And you know we’re we’re talking about it but we still haven’t done it because there’s so much stuff going on and time is limited. But I you know I think it’s not not necessarily about just celebrating the winds. Um, but more finding something you truly love and yeah, happy to dive a lot deeper into that.
Alejandro Cremades: And you know I Love the fact that you’re talking about joy because people typically talk about happiness and happiness is Instant. You know something makes you happy a moment makes you happy you know, whatever makes you happy. But then that happiness is gone but joy you know Joy is is what you what carries? you? What is there. You know what it can be there with you as you continue to live Life. So I Love you know how you how you really pointed. You know that? ah now in your case you got interested in how the world works and and I guess you know that’s you know the way that you perhaps you know started to. To see problems and how to bring solutions to them and and that got you into economics So walk us through you know what? ultimately sparked that interest and and especially getting into the world of economics too.
Janis Zech: Yeah I mean you know I think that you know this idea of what you want to? do you know? I think you know I had a variety of different interests and as as you mentioned was very interested in like trying to understand how the world works and. if you if you think about it I think that the you know economy over time has taken control of many different things. So it’s kind of an overarching system that has you know big impact on political system. You know arts you know all sorts of areas. And you know for good or for bad right? like I’m not judging this but that was my early observation. You know when I was around 19 and so I wanted to learn more about that and and just went deep into it but then also very quickly realized that you know, kind of if you go macro right? like There’s like so many fundamental problems. Um, and then the question is what do you want to do with your life and how do you want to have impact right? So I don’t know I even as a child you know I I started you know, creating a sometimes joke right
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