One of the Startuptravels ambassadors, Bernd Michael Weiss, from Stuttgart, Germany, is a digital nomad traveling around the world with his business. We knew Bernd had been traveling a lot since we launched back in October. At the end of January Bernd returned from his two months trip, and therefore we wanted to hear about his trip, and whether he managed to meet some great Startuptravelers. Here are his Startuptravels meetups.
Hey Bernd. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us – how has the past two months been for you?
My last two months have been great. Let me tell you guys about my travel experience using Startuptravels in December and January. I started to use Startuptravels when I was traveling to Berlin. I got in contact with three really interesting entrepreneurs on the site, which was great.
One of the guys that was able to meet me was Corné. Corné is a tech-entrepreneur from the Netherlands and it was so nice meeting him – great guy! Corné brought along a co-worker. Both were really nice and curios from the first minute! This was not only my first Startuptravels meeting, but theirs too – and a great one! We went to get a coffee and after that he showed me his office in a university incubator in the middle of Berlin. Corné and his co-worker are working on an improved way to track locations inside buildings. It was really interesting to hear about, and I think we all had a great meeting. Really glad I managed to meet them before heading to Warszawa.
Sounds great. So your next stop was Warszawa?
Yes. My first impression of the city was that it was really hard finding a good co-working space, since the polish people, at least from what I have seen, have a different understanding of what a co-working space is.
Despite my difficulties in finding a proper co-working space, I managed to get my second Startuptravels meeting with Agata. She is from Warszawa, but currently living in Belgium. Luckily she was visiting her family and brought along a Greek online learning group at the same time. We decided that I could come to her Greek-class dinner in the evening. Agata is running an online learning platform, and organized a meeting with some of her students in Warszawa. Good for me, I met not only one, but four nice polish girls (one girl took the picture in the top of this blog post).
What I really liked about this meeting was that it was all about Startuptravels. The other girls wanted to know how Agata and I met. I explained the girls that we met through Startuptravels – an amazing way to meet entrepreneurs. After that we spoke about what each of us does for a living and exchanged opinions on Greek wine. Agata told me about some interesting social community projects in Greece, which she is working on with some friends. It was refreshing to hear about it since what she does is so different from my work.
I really want to suggest to all startuptravelers to try and meet with people who does something very different – you learn quite a lot from doing this, and it is really interesting to hear their ideas and their point of view.
I assume your trip didn’t end in Warszawa, did it?
Fortunately not, my next stop was Ann Arbor in Michigan, USA. Last year a friend moved there. He is an automotive engineer, and after south Germany there is no better place to work than the greater Detroit area. My initial plan was to stay there for one and a half months.
Did you meet anybody new in Ann Arbor?
You know, I chose the worst possible time to visit Ann Arbor. First, the holiday season (hence none at the university) and second a very cold time. Unfortunately Startuptravels did not have any on the platform from Ann Arbor, and therefore I had to find people to meet in the old fashioned way. In the first 4 weeks of my trip I tried to meet people at the university and reached out to the Center for Entrepreneurship. Unfortunately nobody was there to talk to. The good thing was that I found a flyer for an event in January and a week prior to this event there was the Startup Weekend Ann Arbor. I instantly tried to contact the local organizers to meet them, but nobody answered my mail. This really made me frustrated. I like to believe that it is easy to connect and talk to likeminded people, but it is damn difficult to connect with new people when not using Startuptravels.
Eventually I found a Google Developer group. I joined them on their meetup some days later. The guys were all involved in IT companies and 40-50 years old. We did not share thoughts and ideas on many things, butI did learn a bit from this meeting – e.g. that the android homepage is not editable enough.
Later, around the 7th of January, I got in touch with the Entrepreneurship Club at the university and an invitation to the Startup Weekend. Unfortunately, due to other appointments, I could only go to the event on the last day. I talked to Jennifer from the Entrepreneurship Club and she introduced me to some of her friends. We just had some minutes to talk, which I used to tell about my start-up and Startuptravels. We exchanged business cards and agreed to get in touch in February.
Good you still got to meet some people in Ann Arbor, Bernd! When did you leave Ann Arbor?
I left Ann Arbor on the 18th of January, and I decided to go the big apple, New York City. This was my first time visiting the city, and it is an amazing city to be in. I was in the city with a friend, and this time around I did not have too much time to meet others. Despite my limited time, I could not pass on the temptation to meet some new interesting people, and I got in touch with Ana. I met Ana at a nice Austrian style Coffee House, and we connected very quickly. She talked very passionately about her ideas and daily business. She is an adviser and supports startups and entrepreneurs with marketing and growth. Our planned 30-minute Startuptravels meetup ended up being two and a half hours long, exciting and very fruitful. By talking both about personal and business topics our conversation ended up being very valuable and provided me with some very important thoughts that I could use both in my personal and business life.
Sounds like an amazing meet-up! What is it that makes Startuptravels such a great platform for you to use?
Startuptravels is very exciting, and all the possible outcomes of meeting likeminded people is a great interest of mine.
So far it has been really great using the platform. I really believe in the Startuptravels idea – it is a great product, which is really needed in the startup environment! There are great benefits from talking to people from different areas and cultures. Personally, I sometimes need a new perspective on my thoughts. It is great getting feedback and suggestions from new people. I believe it is crucial for entrepreneurs, the platform and the whole startup community that we start engaging together, share ideas, give feedback and learn about new cultures and point of views. So come on guys, engage with each other, and find time to meet new people – trust me, you will not regret it.
We couldn’t agree more! So what are you doing now?
Right now I am back in Germany for a couple of days. I need to do some paper work and I need a new passport. Next, I will start my next open-end trip starting with 3 weeks in Warszawa and Poland. After that I will spend 2 months on Ibiza, Spain. This time I want to focus more on building a basis of Startuptravels entrepreneurs both in Warszawa and on Ibiza. I want to get in touch with people from local businesses and universities.
Everybody, not only on my travel path, Warszawa or Ibiza – write to me on Startuptravels – would love to meet you.
Thanks, Bernd, we will pass on the word! Looking forward to hear more about you and your future Startuptravels meet-ups.