How do I found a start-up? How do I get in touch with investors? What makes a business plan? How do I reach my customers directly and save resources? These and other aspects of his start-up were the focus of Frankfurt School Alumnus Sebastian Merkhoffer's talk. He founded Fitvia in 2014. The start-up produces and sells fitness foods and teas. There are two central trends in e-commerce: direct-to-consumer and influencer marketing. Sebastian Merkhoffer spoke on Wednesday, 17 February 2021, at "Start Up Now - FS Entrepreneurs in the Spotlight", a series jointly organised for students and alumni by the Frankfurt School's Career Services and Alumni Relations. Maren Kaus, Head of Career Services, and Francisca Blenich, Manager Alumni Relations, moderated the event, which took place in an online format.
"At Fitvia, we started early to use the reach of influencers. We place great value on maintaining contact with our influencers, staying in constant exchange and thus building a strong bond with them. Of course, a birthday greeting is part of that," says Sebastian Merkhoffer. "We have also found that influencer marketing gives us a very good overview of our results. We can react to this in the short term and adjust our KPIs."
The direct-to-consumer strategy has also paid off for Fitvia. This way, companies are closer to the end customer and gain a better understanding of and for new trends, says the founder of Fitvia. "Learn before you earn - it is important to gain practical experience in start-ups," advises Sebastian Merkhoffer. "Ask yourself where you can learn the most and use the chance to develop yourself and make valuable contacts. Because a broad network is also crucial to realising a start-up idea. And don't forget the business angels. You can learn a lot from experienced founders."
In the meantime, the Frankfurt School alumnus has sold Fitvia and has been a founding investor in the sportswear brand Oceans Apart since 2018. Today, Sebastian Merkhoffer himself supports start-up founders in realising their ideas.