Mohamed Chahin was only 15 when he knew that he wanted to run his own business. His idea was to start a company which provided the technology for renewable energies. In school, everyone laughed at him when he told others about his idea. Even though his idea was vague Mohamed was sure he didn’t want a nine to five job in a company which has no positive impact on people’s lives. He knew he wanted to be his own boss.
About four years later at TU Hamburg Harburg Mohamed learned about the meaning of entrepreneurship and his professor encouraged him to get involved in a startup. So Mohamed attended Startup Weekend Lüneburg where he pitched his idea for an educational startup that helps students with their math homework. His idea didn’t get any votes from the other attendees, which he would have needed in order to implement it. So he joined a group which worked on the idea of an app that should be able to show its users where to get the best food in town. During the Startup Weekend Mohamed not only got to know his future Co-Founders but he learned that it was possible to put an idea into practice within as little as 54 hours.
He also learned about business in general, how to identify a good idea that is worth to be turned into a business, it was not the big technology for renewable energies, what kind of business is viable, it wasn’t math lessons, he learned to read a market situation and last but not least he learned about what the hell scalability of a business model actually means.
Mohamed now travels all around Germany to find new places for his company to grow. He and his Co-Founders met at the first Startup Weekend they attended in 2012. Now they run eatclever.de which is a big delivery service for healthy food.
“Before eatclever became what it is today, we failed several times at other projects, but giving up wasn’t an option at any time. There is always a way to make something happen, you just have to find out how.“
Mohamed’s eyes sparkle with passion when he talks about founding and his business.
Mohameds Co-Founder Robin Himmels attended SW because he found lectures at university to be too theoretical. He considers himself lucky having met Mohamed and Marco Langhoff at Startup Weekend, who are now not only Co-Founders of eatclever but also became great friends.
This is exactly what Serhat Kaya, one of the organizers of Startup Weekend Hamburg, tells people when he talks about Startup Weekend. „Startup Weekend is a lot of hard work, the teams work until late. But developers, designers, students and creative people work closely together and some become good friends.“
Mohamed’s Pro Tips on how to start a startup
- Team is everything! So it’s important to always be honest and open to your Co-Founders, no matter what bugs you.
- Leave your comfort zone!
- Do not consider yourself to be too good for something. Show the world that you would do anything to make your dream come true!
- A stitch in time saves nine! Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, there is no time like the present!
- Don’t be afraid of setbacks! They will happen but it’s important to get up on your feet again and find a new way to make something work. Remember: Where there’s a will, there’s always a way!
One of the strenghts of Startup Weekend is that it brings people of different backgrounds and skills together. Networking is important if you are going to start a business. Other important aspects of the event are the mentors and the jury. The teams are coached by experts that help them with their business plans or UX. The tough part is the final pitch in front of the jury. Just like everyone knows from TV shows like “Shark Tank” or the German equivalent “Die Höhle der Löwen” the jury isn’t easy on the contestants. They drill the teams with tough questions which they probably wouldn’t have been able to answer 54 hours before.
Mohamed and Robin Co-organize Startup Weekend. “We want to give back to the community”, Mohamed says. They both are working on their startup fulltime and are looking forward to expand to other cities. Until today it feels somehow unreal to Mohamed that they have made it this far starting at 54 hours of Startup Weekend.