Sebastian Stricker: “I did not expect this when we started, but there is a huge opportunity for doing good right now. It is the golden era for social entrepreneurship. New projects opportunities come up all the time. With the right team and motivation – everything is possible. If you have an idea, just go for it. Just do it because when you look at it from the right perspective, there is not that much that you can actually lose.”
From Strategy Consultant to Social Entrepreneur
As the founder of ShareTheMeal, Sebastian Stricker is a true role model entrepreneur. One that does not put profit first though – but a social cause by trying to fight global hunger. Together with the United Nations World Food Programme, ShareTheMeal enables people to ‘share their meals’ with those in need in different places of the world. Being the first truly mobile non-profit fundraising app, the users of ShareTheMeal can donate €0.40, which is the global average cost of feeding one child for one day. ShareTheMeal has already provided over 10 million meals to people in need, raised more than 5m€ in funding, and received numerous awards – including Google’s Best Apps 2015 collection and the Lead Award 2015 for Startup of the Year in Germany. The app has more than 700,000 users.
Sebastian Stricker started his professional career as a consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. After three years with BCG, he joined of their clients, the well-reputed Clinton Foundation where he started to work on social causes. As the next step in his career, he moved on to the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP). While working for the UNWFP in Rome in the midst of the starting ‘app hype’ in the early 2010’s, he got the idea for ShareTheMeal while being out for a jog. Eventually, Sebastian founded the social startup in 2014 during a sabbatical and is leading its growth ever since.
Sebastian Stricker on Startup Notes
In this episode, Sebastian talks about his learnings throughout his career so far, people that impress him, the startup story behind ShareTheMeal, why the golden era of doing good through social entrepreneurship is now and also reminds us that living in Europe is a privilege.
He shares that even though he does not put too much emphasis on certain techniques or models to build an organization, working on being a ‘lean startup’ tremendously helps to grow. Moreover, to reach a lot of users, partnering with Google and Apple, PR activities and testimonials worked well for ShareTheMeal. And, as an entrepreneur, one should never underestimate the role of luck involved when building something from scratch.
This is the complete list of topics that we cover in our episode with one of Europe’s true role model social entrepreneurs:
[01:06 – 03:01] On the milestones of his professional life until now
[03:02 – 06:11] The key learnings during the different milestones of his career before starting ShareTheMeal
[06:12 – 07:31] The most inspiring people he met so far in his career
[07:32 – 08:31] What he fundamentally disagrees on with other people
[10:28 – 09:59] One thing that people get wrong about the donation market
[10:00 – 10:35] On ShareTheMeal and the positive impact it has made over the years
[10:36 – 12:02] His vision for ShareTheMeal and other social projects beyond
[12:03 – 13:35] The spark that led to founding ShareTheMeal
[13:36 – 14:24] On the collaboration with the UN World Food Programme
[14:25 – 15:05] The marketing channels that were most successful for growing ShareTheMeal
[15:06 – 16:14] His view on the market of social entrepreneurship
[16:15 – 16:42] On VCs and accelerators that focus on social entrepreneurship
[16:43 – 17:53] Why it is not a contradiction to build a successful startup and ‘doing good’ at the same time
[17:54 – 19:31] What he is doing differently now with his new social startup than with ShareTheMeal
[19:32 – 21:36] On interesting use cases and business opportunities for social entrepreneurship
[21:37 – 23:12] On different approaches to found a social startup
[23:13 – 23:44] The best advice that he was given as a founder
[23:45 – 24:59] The best advice that he can give to aspiring founders
[25:00 – 26:12] Open job positions at ShareTheMeal
[26:13 – 27:17] EXTRA: The jogging route he took through Rome when he came up with the idea for ShareTheMeal
Podcast Host: Emil
If you want to get more insights about startups with a social or environmental mission like ShareTheMeal that combine ‘doing good’ with the digital world, make sure to listen to our podcast with Philipp Pausder who founded Thermondo. Another episode we did in the past that features a company with a social focus is our conversation with Jonathan Kurfess, CEO and Founder of Appinio. He and his team have the mission to democratise market research and consumer insights surveys through a mobile app that delivers instant real-time results of specific target groups.
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