Klaus Hommels is the current CEO of the Zurich based Lakestar capital fund. The company maintains its focus on early and growth-stage investments. He has emerged s a successful venture capitalist, but how did he do it? Hommels has a fascinating life story. Hommels sets a strong example for up and coming entrepreneurs for how to become successful in the financial arena of business. Here are ten things about Klaus Hommels that you probably didn’t know that you might find inspiring.
1. Klaus Hommels built a strong educational foundation
Hommels started his career in finance out by establishing a firm knowledge base. Business Insider revealed that he attended the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where he earned his Master’s degree in Business Administration. He continued his education and earned a Ph.D. in business from the same institution. Klaus understood the value of a broad educational base to learn the principles of business and finance, along with useful theories that helped him to understand how the associated systems and stakeholders operate in a typical scenario. The principles that he learned are those that he would apply to become successful in his career choice.
2. Hommels gained experience working for others
Before Klaus Hommels launched his own business, he worked for other companies to gain hands-on experience working in the financial industry. There was a lot to learn. His work experience helped to give him practical knowledge about how to apply the principles he learned in the classroom. Business Insider reports that his first job was at Bertelsmann. Next, he joined Apax Partners early in his career. He also became a partner of Benchmark Capital before starting Lakestar.
3. He was on the board of AOL
In 1995, Klaus Hommels became a member of the board at AOL Germany. His responsibilities included overseeing and advising on business development as well as content, advertising, and sales. Hommels remained actively involved in building the infrastructure at AOL Germany during the 1990s.
4. He also served as a Managing Director
While Klaus was at AOL Germany, in addition to serving as a board member, his official title was managing director. According to Wikipedia, he was also an employee of the company. This job gave him hands-on experience in the day to day operations of the internet giant. The work at AOL Germany didn’t relate to private equity operations, but it did help him to grow as a leader in the middle management of a company.
5. Klaus knew when to move on
Hommels stayed at AOL Germany for four years as a managing director. In 1999, he moved on to take an opportunity to diversify his experience. He joined Apax Partners, where he served as a director at the Munich-based private equity firm. This work was much different than his previous job at AOL. He gained exposure to the private equity industry, which would become a passion in the near future.
6. Hommels merged his experience to carve a career niche
Klaus gained experience in the operations of internet-based companies at AOL. He acquired a working knowledge of how they worked. His time there inspired his notion that investments in internet companies could be profitable. His time at Apax Partners exposed him to investment strategies. He combined the experience and knowledge that he gained from both sectors to develop the idea of starting his own venture capital company, according to Wikipedia.
7. He began investing in the tech industry
Before launching Lakestar, Klaus Hommels got his feet wet in the investment industry as a private investor. He put his money into technology startups when the dotcom bubble was at its peak. His strategy included investing in early-stage companies that offered a high potential for success. He spent six years of his career as a private investor in these ventures before accepting a job at Benchmark Capital in London as a venture partner. This move was one more step forward in preparation for establishing his own business.
8. He was an early investor in Spotify
Hommels had a knack for knowing which companies had the best potential to give him a decent return on investment. Spotify was one of the early-stage investments he made. It paid off when the company ended up with a high valuation in the tens of millions of British Pounds. This single career move was just one of the wise investments that Hommels made. He was also associated with Skype, Airbnb, Facebook, and others.
9. Hommels made a fortune as an entrepreneur
Klaus Hommels had done very well for himself before he founded Lakestar. This fund only served to add icing on the cake, so to speak, of a highly successful career. According to Forbes, Hommels founded Lakestar and served as managing partner for the fund. The equity firm was based in Zurich, Switzerland, but expanded its services to include offices in Berlin, Germany, New York, USA, Hong Kong, China, and in London, UK. The company focused on providing angel investments for early-stage tech startups throughout the world. The fund closed in February of 2020, with a valuation of $734 million.
10. Klaus Hommels is recognized on several Forbes’ lists
A mark of success is making it to the prestigious Forbes’ lists. Hommels emerged as number 63 on the Midas List of Top Tech Investors for 2020. This recognition was his second consecutive year on the list as he occupied the number 5 position for 2019 on the same list. The entrepreneur and investor is age 53 as of 2020. He currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland, although his country of citizenship in Germany. His most notable deal was the Airbnb investment because the company has plans to go public. Hommels made time to have a personal life while building his highly successful career. In addition to making a fortune in private equity investments and venture capital, he also established a family. He is married. He and his wife are parents of four children.