The Third Degree: Holger Weiss of Aupeo!

By Toni Ellis |

This week in The Third Degree, Silicon Allee’s Friday feature where we get up close and personal with Berlin’s brightest CEOs, we spoke to Holger Weiss of Aupeo! about Michelin stars and rooftop coffee.

SILICON ALLEE: If you weren’t a CEO, what would you be doing?

HOLGER WEISS: I’ve spent a much longer part of my life not being a CEO than I have as a CEO. But most likely I’d be working in an energised team, as a team player. I’d still probably be in a startup environment, but maybe in more of an advisor role.

SA: What do you like about Berlin?

HW: I’ve been in Berlin now for 13 years – I arrived here with the second wave at the end of the 90s – the first wave came right after the Wall fell down. But Berlin at that time was completely different, and it’s changing again. For me at the moment Berlin is definitely the hottest spot in Germany, if not in Europe. It’s the place to be, it’s very entrepreneurial, and has a very great spirit – still. And it’s so dynamic – I think everyone of every color and mindset finds their place somewhere in the city.

SA: When you leave Berlin, where do you go? 

HW: On long weekends, I enjoy visiting Brandenburg – its’s very nice around there. I love the countryside around Berlin, I find in unbelievable, it’s so beautiful. I very much like to get out of the city anytime I can! As for longer trips, my last was to the US, I regularly travel there for business. I also used to live in Hong Kong for about two years, so South East Asia is an area I definitely love a lot too, and I spend a lot of time there.

SA: East or West Berlin? 

HW: I started in West Berlin, because that’s what I knew. Then I moved to East Berlin, to Prenzlauer Berg, and spent ten years there. Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg were so trendy back in the late 90s, and it still had so much of its own identity, with dark roads and rich history after the Wall came down. I left East Berlin to go back to West Berlin two years ago. We moved for two reasons – firstly, because we found a beautiful apartment in Kreuzberg, and secondly, the Prenzlauer Berg that we originally knew had changed, it’s become very different. It’s a very nice area, but it has had its time.

SA: How do you spend time away from work?

HW: I like good wine, traveling, and cooking. And I really like it when those three things come together, especially with good company and good friends! On the weekends, I usually try to leave the city and head into the countryside, to go hiking, spend time in the woods, things like that.

SA: Favourite hangouts in Berlin?

HW: I have to admit, during the week I don’t spend too much time out anymore. I spend so much time at Aupeo! running a company, so I don’t have to hangout anywhere else – I have a home, I have an office! But places I like to be are definitely the more relaxed areas of Kreuzberg and Mitte.

SA: Favourite bar in Berlin?

HW: My favourite bar in Berlin doesn’t exist anymore, but it was in the cellar of a restaurant on Alte Schönhauser Strasse, and it was called Engelspalast (Palace of the Angels).

SA: Favourite restaurant? 

HW: What I really like at the moment is a restaurant from Stephan Hartmanns on Fichtestrasse in Kreuzberg. It’s actually a one Michelin-star rated restaurant, but it’s affordable!

SA: And cafe?

HW: Probably my rooftop – we have a very good coffee machine at home!

SA: What do you think the internet will look like in 10 years?

HW: That’s a difficult question! Usually when I’m talking to young founders I tell them that my part in building a company is exactly that – building the company. I’m not the guy with the vision or who has the idea of what is going to be on trend on the internet in ten years time – that is exactly what I  say! If I give you an answer now, all the guys I’ve been helping over the last few years will be surprised. But I’ll try. I think in 10 years time, we will have completely new borders between real life and the Internet, and I hope there’ll be no restrictions in terms of accessibility, so you’ll have city-wide wifi everywhere. I’m very curious about privacy and copyright in the future too – when I see the Facebook generation exposing personal information so freely, it makes me think that we will see a shift in legalities as well, because societies should change accordingly. I think things that seem to be impossible today will not be impossible in ten years from now.