This week in the Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we chat to Berlin’s best and brightest CEOs and founders, we spoke to Alex Napetschnig of Klash about being impulsive, sh**ty looking schwarma and missing his piano.
SILICON ALLEE: If you weren’t the founder of a startup, what would you be doing?
ALEX NAPETSCHNIG: Right now I would be somewhere warmer, probably sitting on my surfboard and thinking about the next project I would love to do. I don’t see myself in a big corporation, it’s not who I am. I think I would be somewhere in a startup, if not my own venture then something new, something that might be growing pretty fast in the next couple of years. But I’m super happy in the position I’m in right now, so no need to change.
SA: How would you describe Berlin and what do you like about it?
AN: Berlin is everything I’m looking for, except for the weather. It’s amazing. It’s a young city, it’s impulsive: you have a lot of movement, a lot of young people coming in. If you tell someone abroad that you are living in Berlin they always say, ‘Wow, I’ve heard so much about that city, there must be so much going on there.’ If you’re a bootstrapping startup, it’s a great city to be in because it’s relatively cheap to live here right now, and you couldn’t do that in other cities. You won’t find this mix of a tech hub, cheap living costs and creative people and in that sense Berlin is very special.
SA: East or West Berlin?
AN: It’s hard for me to tell because I’m super new to the city and it’s not that easy to understand where we are most of the time. But I think it’s more the eastern part. I love Kreuzberg, I love the Kreuzkölln area, Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte. They’re very different to each other but I prefer these to Charlottenburg, which for me is very west.
SA: When you leave Berlin, where do you like to go?
AN: Definitely someplace warmer! There’s plenty of stuff I’d like to see. I’d love to live in the States for a couple of years to just have that experience. I’d love to go back to Austria and live there when I’m older, with kids and money and everything. Then again I’d love to live in Italy again. But right now I don’t have any plans for leaving the city because it’s the place I want to be right now. Travelling is one of my biggest hobbies. If I got a couple of days off I would probably go surfing somewhere, maybe the north of France or something. If I had longer I would definitely like to explore South America. That’s me happy – a backpack and stacks of time.
SA: What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
AN: My friends sometimes say my biggest weakness is that I have to be doing something. I just love to explore, I love to do a lot of different stuff. The thing that I really do on a constant basis is listening to music and finding good music. What I’m missing the most in Berlin is playing piano because we don’t have a piano here. It’s very unfortunate.
SA: What is your favourite cafe, bar and restaurant in Berlin?
AN: I like Godshot a lot. I live close to there and I really like the neighbourhood life that you get in Berlin. For restaurants – I like this Indian on the corner. I have no clue what the name is but you can check it out later! (Chandni) Also, if you ever have the chance to go to Rissani, the schwarma place in Kreuzberg, you should. Don’t judge it from the outside because it’s a very shitty looking place, but the schwarma is amazing.
I like to go out too, and we’ve been trying a lot of different things. Farbfernseher in Kreuzberg is quite cool. And I also like to go to the bar Odessa because it’s fun. We’re quite flexible, usually the night starts in Mitte and then we move into Kreuzberg, but it doesn’t really matter. We’ve got quite a nice friendship group right now here in Berlin – we like having dinner or pre-partying at someone’s place. That’s quite nice. So it’s really different every time you go out, which is what I like about this city.
SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?
AN: That’s an interesting question. I think that if you look ten years in the past – I was 15 and having experiences with my first computers – it was a completely different time and I think it’s going to be like that in ten years. Everything is going to be connected to everything. And you will not actively look for anything anymore because the Internet is going to tell you. It’s going to be super personalized, it’s going to help you in almost any field, and it’s going to be very different from what the Internet is right now. Ten years in this Internet age is like 200 years in anything else. Everything is moving so fast.