The Third Degree: Lasse Clausen of Foundd

By Claire Adamson |

This week in the Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we talk to Berlin’s best and most interesting CEOs, we talked to Lasse Clausen of Foundd! about high-tech hipster coffee and hanging out around a table for eight hours.

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

LASSE CLAUSEN: I’d probably be designing and building consumer Internet products, just the same. I really love doing that. I was always the geek in the family, setting up everyone else’s computers, figuring out stuff, setting up email accounts. I like designing consumer Internet products, and then having a great team and together actually building it. But yeah, I’d probably be doing pretty much the same.

SA: What do you like about Berlin?

LC: I like Berlin because it has a culture and a setting that attracts innovators. And I like that it’s not pretentious. Well, maybe the West a little bit, around the Ku’damm. But you know the new, international cosmopolitan Berlin? It’s really not about conspicuous consumption at all. And I think that’s good because it means people can just focus on their work or on their projects, on building things. It’s not so much like London, where people spend a lot of their life just to earn the money to go for dinner with friends. You spend a lot of your life working for things that don’t make that much sense. In Berlin, people tend to be very pragmatic. You don’t have to go to a fancy restaurant; it’s more about the people you go with. I really like that. And I like that it’s very new and unestablished. There’s a lot of space, it’s very cheap and a lot of people just come in and do their thing. So you can afford a lot more time on building new things than just getting by.

SA: East or West Berlin?

LC: East, for sure, because I think that’s the part of the city that is actually international, or on a par with an international metropolis. That’s happening in East Berlin. West Berlin, in my opinion, tries to be posh, but it’s not Paris or London, nothing like that.

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

LC: I go to New York a lot, because my girlfriend lives there and I really like the city. It’s very different to Berlin, but why I like New York is mostly because of the quality of the people that you meet there. You meet a lot of amazing and inspiring people on a daily basis. I grew up in Mallorca and I usually go there once a year. I’d like to go more often, but I usually make it just in the summer.

SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

LC: That’s not often! For me the best way to disconnect is to watch a movie, and I’m not just saying that because I made Foundd. For me, if it’s a good movie, it’s a really great way to completely forget, disconnect completely from everyday life and be immersed for 90 minutes in something else. I play basketball and I like poker sometimes because I think it’s very sociable; there are few other ways of getting six people to hang out around a table for eight hours. In the same way I like ping pong a lot, because I played a lot as a kid and it’s also very sociable. Most of the time when you’re playing ping pong, you’re actually talking.

SA: What’s your favourite café, bar and restaurant here in Berlin?

LC: My favourite café is Bonanza Coffee Heroes. The coffee’s really good, and I just love the style of the place – it’s sort of this hipster, high-tech coffee roastery. The guy’s got this really old, really good roasting machine connected to an iPad. And he looks totally like an East Berlin hipster. It’s a really cool symbol of the New Berlin. I have a very tiny Vietnamese restaurant that I go to: it’s very low key, it’s a hole in the wall. The guys are very nice, they brought me food when I was really sick and I couldn’t leave the house – they usually don’t deliver. It’s called An Hai, it’s on Kastanienallee. It’s very basic but has really good Vietnamese food. As for bars, Kingsize is pretty cool, it has its nights. It’s usually super packed, you get pushed around a lot but it’s a pretty cool bar.

SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?

LC: Yesterday there was a piece of news on The Next Web about an ‘I’m Late’ app that got $6 million in Series A funding, and that might not be an example of a product that’s great, but it’s definitely showing where it’s going. If it can be done by technology then it will be done, for every single little thing. Also, when it comes to storing information (humans) don’t have a very good hard drive: as soon as I know it’s information that I can pull up on Google, then I don’t actually bother to remember anymore. But we’re good at making decisions, unplanned or unprogrammable events. I think we’re good at that. So we’re probably going to remember less stuff but we’re going to make more decisions.