ADVISOR SPOTLIGHT: Gabriele Viebach, Serial Entrepreneur, former CEO eZ Systems
Every month we spotlight people from our incredible network who support MATR Ventures and our mission to change the game in Venture Capital and actively invest in the Underestimated founder.
We are honoured to spotlight Gabriele Viebach, Serial Entrepreneur, Strategy & Management Consulting, former CEO, eZ Systems
Who was/were your role model(s) and why?
Thomas Middlehoff, a former leader of Bertelsmann, a media conglomerate, was one of my first role models. He grew Bertelsmann from a book publisher to an international music and online trader platform for music and audiobooks, effectively shaping the business for the coming digital age. His way of thinking and analyzing things and the methodology that he used to justify his decisions is what I tried to model, to some extent, in my own life.
Steve Jobs had a brilliant mind. He invented a whole new market — something that wasn’t there before. I was part of the mobile journey from the beginning, with T-Mobile and we celebrated the 90,000 T Mobile customer at the end of 1993. At that point in time, everybody said, “Nobody needs a mobile phone… we all can be reached on our landlines.” And I think we were at that point in time evangelizing mobile communications as something that would become part of our social norm. And within this hype of different phones and models, the improvement in bandwidth and mobile networks, Jobs revolutionized the music industry. The disruptive models he introduced with new mobile handsets remain untouchable today by any standard.
What was the biggest factor that contributed to your success?
For me, meeting the right people at the right time. I remember closing the second largest deal for BT Global services in Asia Pacific. I had not only the pleasure, but was fortunate to have extremely intelligent people across the table who challenged me and reshaped the deal that made it much more meaningful in the end. This constructive exchange of thoughts to achieve the best solution for everyone at the table, and also for employees of companies — this has always been one of the leading measures for me. If it doesn’t make sense, you shouldn’t be pushing it through.
What was the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?
One of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made was going back to business life entirely and leaving my son at home with my husband.
What was the one book that has influenced your path?
There is one book that is completely timeless and also applicable to the different business roles in my life. It’s called Today is my Best Day by Arthur Lassen. He is a personal coach that guides your transition from negative to positive thinking. And whenever I was struggling with anything when I was in doubt with myself or in doubt about certain situations, this book became that companion for life. Once you’ve read it one, twice, three times it does something to you — changes your attitude, and broadens your mind and way of thinking.
What motivated you to support MATR Ventures?
I have a lot of experience when it comes to investing in companies. MATR Ventures has the profile and the leaders whom I believe can evolve the market for underestimated founders. I come from a European mindset and I offer an alternative perspective to that of the US. I love to be challenged and jump right into something that needs solving. I am really looking forward to contributing wherever I can, in both the fundraising and contractual process.
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