Fireside Q&A: Oscar Kneppers of Rockstart Accelerator

Enjoy a video from the one & only Rockstart Founder Oscar Kneppers:

Oscar is a successful serial entrepreneur and a celebrated internet publisher – launching several cross-media brands since 1998 focused on new media, innovation and technology. After selling his media businesses (Emerce in 2001 and Bright in 2008) Oscar founded Rockstart in 2011.

Rockstart, ‘The Global Startup Machine’, helps startups be more successful in their first 1,000 days through funding and mentorship (Rockstart Accelerator and Rockstart Impact), community and office space (Rockstart Spaces) and startup events (Rockstart Answers) in over 25 cities across Europe.


Some notes from me today before this topic slips too far.

Question from PW Team : What’s something you’ve learned from working in journalism that benefitted you as an entrepreneur?

Question from Dara Mouracade : What makes a startup scalable and profitable whilst still having a social impact?

Question from Bilal: How do you build the vehicle well enough while attempting to focus on solutions (and what can you do if you’re having trouble with building the infrastructure to take you there?)

Observation from Bilal: The greatest art is to sit wait and let it come ;D

Question from Ana : how do you remake yourself after a failure (startup failure)?

Question from Pia : Do you have any tips for a team whose members are working remotely? So basically I’m in Lebanon, but I have 2 other people working with me abroad for now… and we’re at the stage of evaluating whether the idea is feasible in Lebanon or not

Question from Chadi : when u start when u know u need a co founder or partner or this is the right person will lead to success and how you deal with phase?

One great thing that Oscar spoke about:
The critical importance of being true to yourself, your values, your passion … even (especially) when shifting, growing, think about your heart, as much as your head.

His suggestion: Regularly, and when going through challenges or difficulties, don’t always talk to people in the business / ecosystem, go see art, go to a museum, go visit people who fought through challenges, fought through norms, fought against restrictions.

Suggested reading:
Maria Abramovich, “Walking Through Walls”

Does this happen to young people and aspiring entrepreneurs in Lebanon? What can we collectively, or people individually, do about that?

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@mjt07 - If you want you can share your summary for this one too.
Here’s your question from the call:
I’d like to ask the team and Oscar a question. One of the things I learned in this engaging journey that as entrepreneurs we should reach out to our target customers by first identifying them(in hopes of identifying/validating a solution for a problem they have), and then putting them on board with our project… When do you guys think is the ideal time to do that? At what stage of the product is issuing purchases viable? I would love to do that as a way for early marketing and possibly being funded from the customers.I also believe it will make them more interested once they invest actual money. I infer they would be more engaged with the product where we can show them working demos(effectively adopting an agile management where we show our stakeholders the results of each sprint) and ask for feedback and suggestions so we can build exactly what they need(which I believe is dynamic since what is in demand today may not be as relevant/require fine tuning to be in demand at our release date).

I also would like to apologize for my poor internet connection.
Thank you guys for all the time and energy you are investing in us.

@tudor - do you think we can invite Oscar here to respond?

Absolutely! That will be fun and insightful.
We need to source more questions from the community and then sent account credentials. Maybe we can have a dedicated AMA session :smiley:

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