Founding with Merantix
Finn: Did you know you wanted to build an AI or machine learning company?
Stefan: The company I built before coming to Merantix was very much based on the assumption that software will win its market. Unfortunately, we were proven wrong. When winding down the company, I started tinkering around with deep learning, really just experimenting. I slowly realized that would be the direction I want to go next: much more technology-driven businesses as opposed to transactional heavy businesses.
Finn: As you mentioned, you founded a company before. How do you think, has your path been different at Merantix?
Stefan: The difference I highlight the most is the pace at which we are able to validate. The pace with which you get your hands on data and can think about prototypes is phenomenal. We validated and invalidated so many business ideas just in a couple of months, totally insane. This is what we and the Merantix network excels at. I would not have been able to do it on my own.
Finn: The way it seems to me, as a founder you tend to be somewhat of a lone wolf. Not in an existential way, necessarily. But of course you have this vision for what you're trying to build, but it's only in your head and surely that must make you feel a little bit lonely at times. You are pitching this idea to everyone, trying to convince people, maybe getting negative or no feedback at all sometimes. I wonder if founding within the Merantix ecosystem changes the psychology of this process at all?
Stefan: It does, but only to an extent. Ultimately, it is still just you making the difference. So while it's worth and certainly enjoyable in difficult times to get somebody else's feedback and help you out to overcome difficult problems or, you know, whatever strategic direction or questions you have on top of your mind at that given point in time, I think ultimately it's always you who needs to motivate yourself and overcome difficulties. It helps a lot that Rasmus and Adrian are irrationally positive and there's nothing which can stop the two. But as I said, nobody will do it unless you are convinced yourself. It boils down to your own motivation and conviction.