German Startup Changemakers: Rayk Hahne

We talked to Rayk Hahne, a professional athlete and entrepreneur, who already founded five companies and helps entrepreneurs improve their business skills through online resources. Find out how he entered the entrepreneurial world, what are the lessons for founders he learned over the years and what he predicts for the German startup ecosystem in the future.
A man in a suit posing for a photo

1. Hi Rayk, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you entered the startup world?

I have been a professional athlete and an entrepreneur since the age of 16, and now I’m 32. It means I already spent half of my lifetime building businesses and training myself in different fields. I entered the entrepreneur world because of my grandmother. She told me I couldn’t focus only on sports and that I needed a plan B. I followed her advice, and that’s how I entered the world of business economics and consulting. I constantly read or hear interesting things, consume that knowledge and work around it to help other entrepreneurs overcome obstacles and develop their businesses. I already founded five companies together with a team of 40 people.

2. You’re the founder and CEO of codu Training, where you establish and develop online resources for entrepreneurs. Tell us more about your mission there!

Our goal is to reach out to more than one million entrepreneurs and make them better. We have a podcast that reached over 40.000 business people in German-speaking regions. We launch a bunch of different online courses and have specialised training programs, and we don’t have to meet the entrepreneurs in person. They can follow the program and consume the knowledge from wherever they want, which makes it very easy. I took the structure behind transparent knowledge to a whole new level: I form a group of entrepreneurs and help them grow together by giving them the right training plan where they can use different tools to improve their business skills. 

3. You also have your own podcast. What kind of knowledge do you share? How does the podcast help shape the startup ecosystem in Hamburg?

We don’t only shape the startup ecosystem in Hamburg but in every German-speaking region. We found out that the best way to take in knowledge and transfer it into habits is if you consume it in small periods. Therefore, the podcast is called ‘Unternehmerwissen in 15 Minuten’. We have 3 episodes coming out every week. On Mondays we share 5 insights from an entrepreneur, on Wednesdays, I interview guests and ask them to share one tool that every entrepreneur can use in their daily business activities. On Fridays, I talk about my personal experience on different topics. The goal is to receive the knowledge in just 15 minutes, so you’re able to implement it in your daily plan easily. 

4. You support small and medium-sized companies in setting up and developing sales processes. What are the most important lessons for founders you’ve learned over the years?

For me, it’s all about sales. You have to create a product that’s needed on the market, and you have to provide it so people can buy it. I recommend entrepreneurs to shape their product to the absolute minimum that is necessary to sell it. From that point on, you can start differentiating and putting more pieces together. 

You also need a plan and a vision. We are talking about legacies here; if my work is important enough that generations after me can work on it and further develop my company, I am on the right path. For me, the most important thing is focusing on long-term strategy, let’s say about 100 years. Most companies (90%) in Europe close after 20 years because they think from now till the next day. You have to think bigger and long-term. Then it’s easier to make decisions on what you need or want to develop.

5. What’s the next big thing in the startup world? What do you predict for the German startup ecosystem in the future?

It’s clear that the coronavirus crisis will lead to many people losing their jobs and businesses. Even though that’s horrible, it also generates a lot of new opportunities. People who are currently sitting at home have the time to start focusing on their talents and do something new. In terms of digitalisation, German small and medium-sized enterprises haven’t invested in it until the last 10-15 years, and we know there is a huge demand for that.

I believe that Germany can climb the ladder and become a leading country once again. If you look at the crisis in 2008; three years later Germany achieved great things and developed the economy. In two years time, we will see a lot of new services and products that we wouldn’t have even though of if the crisis hadn’t happened.

Thank you for your insights, Rayk! We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!

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