Christian Schiller is no stranger to the world of startups, having grown German car-sharing platform BlaBlaCar from zero to launch and then to monetisation, all within a short span of four and a half years.
He left the company to go for a year-long sabbatical, fulfilling his lifelong dream of finally getting the chance to travel around the world when his life took an unexpected turn.
While sailing through the beautiful waters from Columbia to Panama, he took a moment to rest and dipped his legs into the water. Suddenly, they were hit by a carpet of algae and plastic waste. To him, it felt dystopian.
“We all must have heard about plastic pollution and how important it is to stem the ballooning problem,” tells Christian, “But hearing about it and seeing it in real life is quite another experience. I resolved within myself there and then that I have to do something about it.”
And that was the first thing he set out to do when he returned to Germany.
“While I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, I knew I wanted to be tackling the plastic crisis right at its roots,” tells Christian, “I was after driving systemic changes that can solve the plastic problem more effectively.”
To do that, he knew he needed the freedom and space to take innovative risks, and entrepreneurship was the best pathway forward.
Aware that venturing into a new industry is incredibly challenging, Christian set out looking for a complementary co-founder to build a company in the plastic waste space. Together, they can move faster, and learn quickly to increase their odds of success.
The problem, however, was that a new industry meant that Christian had no expertise, no experience, and above all knew no one with the required skillsets for the plastic waste industry to begin with.
“When I first heard about Entrepreneur First’s unique speed dating for founders approach, I was intrigued, excited, and instinctively wanted to give it a go,” recalls Christian, “Getting immediate access to a cohort of talented individuals who want to start companies today helps accelerate my co-founder search.”
Since that decision to join Entrepreneur First, Christian has quickly risen to the challenge. He’s gone from industry novice to recognised expert in just a few short years; met his ideal co-founder on our platform; and is now, with them, paving the way for a new, sustainable future. This is how they did it.