Getting to know you: Christopher Pommerening

What do you currently do?
I’m one of the founding partners of ACTIVE Venture Partners. ACTIVE is a European venture capital firm committed to challenge and change the traditional VC sector. We are building a reputation for providing strategic and operational support that goes beyond capital for high growth businesses. ACTIVE targets entrepreneurial teams across Europe driving digital start-ups and seeking early-stage investments between €500k and €5M. Since 2004 ACTIVE has invested in 23 companies including BuyVIP, Packlink and Traity

What is your inspiration in business?
My ambition is to empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to grow, be more successful and increase their positive impact on the world. Apart from starting my own companies and our investment activities I’m involved in creating not-for-profit organisations and associations supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem. I also help government organisations to establish the right frameworks to support high growth entrepreneurs and innovative startups. I strongly believe that tech entrepreneurs are positively influencing today’s economies and societies not least through creation of new jobs, taxes, values and social entrepreneurship.

Who do you admire?
I admire Sir Richard Branson for his amazing ability and drive to convert dreams into reality and then into a business. On the other hand he spreads the entrepreneurial culture around the world and is involved with many social businesses. Most importantly, though, he enjoys life to the fullest and takes good care of family values.

Looking back would you have done things differently?
I think that most hiccups to date have been part of the proverbial learning curve. I like to share personal stories of failure and bad decision making as real life examples.

What defines your way of doing business?
We back great entrepreneurs but demand performance and get it because we have this exceptional support system called ACTIVE community. We harness the experience of those in the community to guide less experienced entrepreneurs and make sure they exploit their own talents. We’re very focused on nurturing people inside the business.

Entrepreneurs who partner with us are both driven and incentivised to push their boundaries and do what exceptional entrepreneurs have proven needs to be done to succeed – even when technology is unique, disruptive and solves some significant needs of society. We hate to see genius wasted.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
I wouldn’t give advice, I’d rather share some experiences instead. One thing I have learnt is that entrepreneurs do not like to be taught or advised, they prefer to learn from real life examples. In my experience team diversity is one of the strongest values behind any new company.

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