eLab Interview Series: Q&A with Luni Libes

Authored by:
Miranda Green

The eLab team is excited to introduce our new interview series where we feature industry leaders, eLab board members, mentors and students who share their thoughts about entrepreneurship, startup ecosystems, workspaces, remote working, business tools and more, all of which will play a part in shaping and fast-tracking your career in entrepreneurship.

Introducing Luni Libes. He’s founded or co-founded six of his own companies, and is head of Fledge Accelerator in Seattle, Wa. We’re thrilled to have him on the eLab Advisory Board and to be able to share his insights and expertise.

Q. You work with a lot of MBA students. What makes eLab a great alternative to grad school?

A. The MBA degree is focused on tools and techniques to operate established businesses. Some MBAs include a class or two on entrepreneurship, but only a few make that a focus of their curriculum. Startups are not small versions of big companies. They face many different challenges in business organization, management, marketing, sales, and operations. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to understand the startup versions of those skills.

Q. Fledge has helped dozens of companies. What’s the most exciting part of this process?

A. I've been a serial entrepreneur for over 25 years, and the most exciting part is always the same: Taking a raw idea and figuring out how to wrap it in a business with a product customers want to buy. In short, navigating the complex process from idea to startup.

Q. Tell us one thing you wish you had known about startups when you were in your early 20s?

A. I started my first company at 22, with a business plan written in pen on a single sheet of paper. I wish I knew more about the business planning process back then, and especially the idea of planning for failure.

Q. What makes Berlin and London ideal places to learn about entrepreneurship?

A. Entrepreneurship is global, but not all cities around the world have the concentration of entrepreneurs to be considered "startup hubs." Both Berlin and London have achieved that status. Here, it’s easy to meet fellow entrepreneurs, join in business plan contests, meet angels and venture capitalists, and ultimately feel like you are doing something reasonable, instead of feeling alone as you build a company or joining a company as an employee.

Q. What aspect of eLab are you most jazzed about?

A. I started working with entrepreneurs from around the world in the last in the last five years, so I'm most jazzed about meeting entrepreneurs from more places and learning more about how startup life works in those locations while sharing the lessons from the West Coast American startup culture with the students at eLab.

At eLab, we have appointed a whole team of successful and smart entrepreneurs ready to share their business expertise with you! Visit our website for more information about our accelerated startup programs. We look forward to welcoming you to Europe’s creative capital!

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