We interviewed Bojan Al Pinto Brkic and Oliver von Wolff, the Co-Founders of Helion Ventures. Both leaders have an inspirational journey that they shared during our interview. Bojan is the Co-Founder, and General Partner of Helion Ventures and Oliver is the Co-Founder and CEO.
Oliver is also joining different advisory boards and has over 15 years of experience in executive management. He has an abundance of global experience in different markets and industries, especially in Europe and the Middle East. Bojan is also a business strategist, experienced investor and holder of financial services licenses. Learn more about them through our interview below.
How did you start your entrepreneurship journey? Do you have some advice for beginners? We asked.
“I was sitting on a private equity fund board for 3 years. My term was coming to an end. I was tired of sitting on the plane whenever someone thought I should fly, and I decided to become my own employer and master of my schedule. It didn’t cut my time at the airports, though.” Says Bojan.
Oliver also answers by stating, “I tried it very early on with different ideas. The most important thing is to execute your ideas, to have good partners around you, and not to be discouraged by defeats.”
What do you believe is the most crucial part of continuing business seamlessly? We continued.
“Integrity of people and strong corporate governance standards,” replies Bojan.
We saw that you are active as a leader in multiple companies. What are your goals through your companies, and how do you plan to help individuals with them?
“Due to my many years of experience in various industries and management positions, I was able to acquire many tools, and I like to pass this experience on to other people. You are never alone in life. If you communicate openly with others, then fruitful solutions can be found. Everybody has been dependent on someone else’s help at some point, so you should always support others in their success.
The goal is, of course, to create profit and added value for shareholders. But I personally think that stakeholder values are the key factors to lead a company profitably and successfully in the long run. It’s not just about maximizing profits, but also about the value you can give back to society.” Replies Oliver.
When asked the same question, Bojan says, “My companies are always focused on specific market requirements, be that of other businesses or individuals. We try to be in the game of venturing for tomorrow, providing products and services where the demand comes from natural progress.”
Describe yourself in one word.
Bojan considers himself to be “Thoughtful”, and Oliver describes himself as “Consistent.”
Do employees’ energy and enthusiasm have a hand in business success? How do you plan to motivate your team to go the extra mile?
“Very much so. I’m a strong believer in laissez-faire as long as the employees can justify that as part of the corporate strategy and financial result,” says Bojan.
“Employees have a great influence on the success of a company. Unfortunately, human capital is not valued in a balance sheet. Then you would see that in many large corporates compared to start-ups, human capital would be valued higher in start-ups than in large companies.
Motivation always has to do with responsibility. It is important to give your employees responsibility and thus trust so that they can grow in their position professionally and personally. Of course, you also have to control and follow up, but motivation is a kind of self-realization of an employee in line with the company’s vision. However, this also requires management to engage more with its employees and try to understand them to promote and develop the outperformers.” Oliver further continued.
How would you describe your leadership style?
“Open, honest, straightforward, positive, part of the team, challenging and encouraging, open doors, sustainable, focused on results, taking actions and responsibilities, empathic and solution-oriented,” replies Oliver.
Here, Bojan says, “Relaxed, yet always questioning.”
Did you face any challenges during your career span? If so, how were you able to overcome them?
“There is a victory in any challenge, but you need to choose your challenges,” says Bojan.
Are you adapting to digital transformation? How is it helping your business?
“We are at the forefront of the digital world. And you can feel that every day. The ones that are fighting it would soon look like dinosaurs. Very nice dinosaurs, if I may add.” says Bojan.
Oliver said, “Digital transformation is happening all the time. The question is, where does it make sense, and where does it make less sense?
Many industries are facing a turning point, especially the financial industry and banks. But even a venture capitalist will look different in the future than he does today. We are trying to invest today in the infrastructure of tomorrow. But what is the infrastructure of tomorrow? Blockchain, Crypto, Metaverse, Cloud Solutions, and Web3 are all buzzwords. It will be important to implement these new technologies sensibly and adapt them to our economic cycles.”
Do you use innovative ideas to be unique?
“Each of our successes is made around an innovative idea. I try to surround myself with people thinking outside of the box” Bojan.
Where is your leadership going? What benefits do your clients get from your company in this competitive world?
“We try to take positions timely and position ourselves to bring maximum returns to our targets and our investors. We believe in long-lasting relationships, but we also believe that it’s important to play with realistic expectations,” replies Bojan.
“At Helion Ventures, we are not only venture capitalists by passion but also venture builders because we have fun with our projects and with all the innovations.
I think the days of just giving money to a company and waiting are over. For us, direct contact with our investments is important as an open approach to the projects. We believe in the success of the projects we invest in. To support success or counteract risks, you must be close to the operation. Today’s start-ups want to get additional know-how and network with a VC. Helion Ventures can offer all this.” Oliver concludes.