Janina Benz: Hi Florian – could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?
JB: How long has CeBIT Webciety been around, and what’s the motivation behind the concept?
FE: Webciety is now entering its fourth year. In just a very short time, it’s grown into a key attraction at CeBIT. Webciety is dedicated to solutions for a digitally networked economy. The exhibition doesn’t just attract people because of its content – it also boasts an eye-catching, avant-garde booth design, and includes an expert conference on the hottest issues surrounding Internet society. All content is also streamed live online, so people can experience Webciety from anywhere in the world, as well as on site at CeBIT in Hanover.
JB: What are Webciety’s long term goals?
FE: Obviously we want to (and are going to) continue to expand and build on this successful concept, both in terms of the exhibition and the conference. We’re also developing new participation methods tailored to the needs of the Internet industry.
JB: You’re surrounded by startups and entrepreneurs every day. Which part of your work do you find most inspiring?
FE: The Internet industry is one of the most dynamic industries there is. Even just the speed of online innovation is breathtaking. As the manager of Webciety, I’m fortunate to be able to work with all kinds of creative minds. Lots of startups use CeBIT as a springboard to launch successful digital businesses.
JB: The Facebook generation, living and working online, managing trust – what role do you think issues like these will play in the future? Are there limits to the digital world, and if so, where do they lie in social business?
EF: We’re currently at a very exciting yet tricky juncture, faced with vast technical possibilities on one hand and the need for security and privacy on the other. This issue is going to become increasingly important in future, including for Webciety – as are all issues relating to social enterprises.
JB: I noticed that the CEO of Seedmatch, Jens-Uwe Sauer, who’s also on the CODE_n jury, is promoting the issue of crowd funding as part of Webciety. How suited is crowd funding to widespread use?
EF: Crowd funding is still relatively unknown in Germany and is only beginning to establish itself. But it’s a very promising financing method. We look forward to outlining the principle of crowd funding in detail at the Webciety Conference and showing how it works live on stage.
JB: Some say startups and young entrepreneurs are cut from a different cloth than the rest of us. What do you think – do you see certain characteristics more often than others in young entrepreneurs, and if so, what are they?
FE: Lots of startups have an unconventional approach, which I see reflected on many levels in the way we work together with them. Most of them know exactly what they want, and I really appreciate that. We provide participation opportunities to startups in all phases: showcasing their ideas in an entrepreneur contest as part of the Webciety Conference, offering them an 80%-funded booth as part of our Young & Innovative joint stand, or simply providing a home base for startups that have reached market maturity.
JB: Thank you very much and see you at CeBIT!