|Estimated value:||€15 million|
|Country of origin:||Germany|
|Source of Wealth:||entrepreneur, author|
Frank Thelen is a German entrepreneur, author and early stage venture capitalist. Thelen became known to the general public through his participation as an investor in the VOX program “Die Höhle der Löwen”.
Thelen has been an integral part there since 2014 and has invested in numerous companies from the food and technology sectors.
In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Thelen has also become increasingly politically involved in recent years. His main topics are digitization and that Germany needs to become more competitive and innovative.
Frank Thelen was born in Bonn in 1975 and also spent his childhood and youth in the former federal capital. He grew up in a middle-class environment, but quickly felt called to greater things. Therefore, he finally broke off his studies in computer science in order to be able to found his first company.
As is almost usual in the tech industry, Frank Thelen’s career has been a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs.
Ever since founding his first company in the late 1990s, Thelen has experienced all emotional nuances. However, it had always been clear to him that defeats would only be temporary. His first company, twisd AG, tried to market a kind of router that was supposed to connect local networks to the Internet, which was still relatively new at the time. The idea seemed brilliant and was temporarily on the road to success. However, the bursting of the dot-com bubble destroyed the financial basis and Thelen was suddenly heavily in debt. However, he was not discouraged and soon developed software for a digital photo platform, which he was then able to sell to Fuji and probably received a two-digit million sum for it. The financial situation had thus cleared up again and in the years that followed Thelen founded and participated in numerous well-known companies such as Smartlane, Wunderlist and MyTaxi.
Through his involvement in “Die Höhle der Löwen” on VOX, Frank Thelen also found a new and apparently very exciting business field outside of his usual environment: the food industry.
Over the years, he eventually invested in a whole range of food start-ups such as Ankerkraut (spices), Little Lunch (soups) and Lizza (low-carb pizza). Thelen also used his growing popularity to publish a few books and get involved politically.
At the end of 2019, however, he announced that he would withdraw from TV and concentrate on his entrepreneurial activities.
highlights of his career
1994: Creation of his first company
2012: Presentation of the “Innovate 4 Society Award” by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel
2014: First participation in “Die Höhle der Löwen” on VOX
2015: Sale of “Wunderlist” to Microsoft
2018: Publication of his biography “Startup DNA – fall down, get up, change the world”
Quotes by Frank Thelen
“If you want to progress, pain and falls are part of it. You have to learn to get back up and keep going.”
“As an entrepreneur, you have to endure harsh criticism from investors and keep fighting.”
“As a founder, I should be able to say what I do in three to four sentences. That should be the case even if I wake up drunk at night.”
The quotes impressively show the attitude with which Frank Thelen works. From his point of view, there are no excuses or reasons that could permanently prevent success. However, founders and entrepreneurs must have staying power and perseverance. If an idea is rejected, it must not be abandoned immediately. Rather, you have to work all the harder to improve it so that you can convince at the next presentation. The absolute focus of the founders must be on the company around the clock. Because distractions directly endanger long-term success.
Frank Thelen has not only been a computer fan since his early youth, but also a passionate skateboarder and snowboarder. To this day he feels a strong connection to this scene and therefore supports a number of social projects in this area.
As already mentioned, Thelen is also politically active. He was a member of the CDU until 2017, but was appointed to the Federal Assembly by the FDP in the same year as the nominated representative of the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia to elect the Federal President.
According to his own statements, Frank Thelen has never operated a vacuum cleaner. He revealed this during a presentation on the show “The Lion’s Den”.
|Estimated value:||€15 million|