“Berlin is my home away from Asia- a buzzing breeding ground for creative and sustainable new ideas. After 15 years of building businesses in Asia and 20 years of entrepreneurial and technical background, I enjoy helping Asia’s startup ecosystems connect to Berlin and its spirit.
Within my work for enpact e.V. (one of the implementation partners of AsiaBerlin), I love to strategize around Asia initiatives, nurture new ideas and build tech to scale programs that help entrepreneurs worldwide,” says Marten as he talks about his involvement with AsiaBerlin.
We had a candid conversation with Marten about his motivation to contribute to the AsiaBerlin community, his entrepreneurial journey, and more.
What has been your motivation to contribute to the AsiaBerlin community
My personal history is marked with large diversity: I started off as a paramedic, then worked as a fashion photographer in my early years before I set up different agencies in Shanghai around car-advertising in the early 2000s. In 2005, I founded a film-production house in China and in 2010 an animation studio which I sold in 2015 before moving to Berlin to start different companies in the area of blockchain and 3D-animation technology. Since 2020, I am also building impact-directed tech for enpact (a non-profit NGO).
The open-mindedness and inclusiveness in Berlin’s startup ecosystem fits well with my personal history’s diversity and I felt that Berlin is the right city to contribute with my professional, Asia-related, and queer- background.
Please share something about your experience as an AsiaBerlin Ambassador and how has it helped you or vice versa?
Joining AsiaBerlin Delegation trips was probably the most memorable experience with AsiaBerlin. Forging so many relevant business and personal connections in a 10-days trip has left a deep mark in my memory and address book. Besides delegation trips, the family of AsiaBerlin Ambassadors is a brilliant source of inspiration and a super high-quality network. I feel it’s a healthy give-and-take that has grown naturally and due to trust and mutual openness. Of course, the AsiaBerlin Summit where everything and everybody comes together is the year-highlight that initiates so many opportunities and connections.
After 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, what are your current goals, and what has changed over time?
While my goals over recent years were quite focused on profit maximization, my focus has now changed to impact maximization. Building technology as CTO for enpact has helped me facilitate this alongside my engagement with Asia and Africa. For me it’s an intriguing new thought-concept to go from “here is my fund, make at least a 10x out of it” to “here is my fund, make the best possible impact with it”.
Besides enpact, I am still running two smaller B2B businesses in software development. We are also angel investing as CTO for equity in selected projects.
Things that have not changed are that I still spent half of my week learning new things.
Do you think startups have the potential to go truly international from Berlin?
Yes, I do think so. Zalando, Rocket, and SoundCloud have proved it. Berlin is certainly still slow in terms of available capital, but what makes a start-up truly successful is the diverse composition of teams and that is something that is Berlin’s strong point.
What are the areas/questions for which the community should reach out to you?
Two areas: First, I got a strong network in China and SEA region. Second, helping non-technical founders to develop their tech.