A serial entrepreneur in social media and e-commerce, I’m the Co-founder and CEO of itravel, an experience-based online and mobile tour operator that offers leisure travelers a platform to customize trips, including hotel, experiences, and transportation, and allows users to find trips based on activities & experiences (“moments”). Our German version shows you more of what we’re building.
I also was the first co-founding angel investor of Qype, which was acquired as the European subsidiary of Yelp, the world’s leading review and comparison service.
From 2006 until shifting my focus to itravel in 2013, I also was the CEO of curtis newton (formerly dw capital), Germany’s first incubator for digital innovation, which helped launch Qype (now Yelp), sevenload (now part of Burda), webtravel (now part of leading travel tech software Da Vinci), mobileview (now part of D+S), armedangels (leading brand for social fashion), and others.
Prior to itravel, I was the co-founder and CEO of sevenload, a platform for licensed online video content operating in most European countries, the U.S., Turkey, and Russia. After my role as CEO, Axel was one of three Board members at the company until it was fully integrated as a vertical video channel operator within Burda.
I studied law with majors in Business and Copyright Law at the Sorbonne and Cologne Universities, which served me well when we fought to establish the revenure share licensing model at sevenload from 2006 that today is the standard in premium online video. As the Chairman of the IPTV Division of the Tech industry association Bitkom, I spearheaded efforts to negotiate a viable revenue share licensing model from European copyright agencies. As Chairman of the Social Media Group within Germany’s IAB equivalent, I helped broker a deal with the leading TV broadcasters and establish a new advertising metric for online video in the German advertising industry’s online advertising association, the AGOF. Sevenload played a significant role in the EU antitrust efforts of the major online video industry players to prevent the creation of a joint platform of the two major German private TV broadcasters. I also was a member of the Broadcasting Council of WDR Group, Germany’s public TV, as well as the president of the association of content sharing digital companies ADIZ.org.
I’m a regular keynote speaker at leading industry events, including CEBIT, LeWeb, Web 2.0, DLD, next, Supernova, and SIME.
I was involved in launching the world’s first social bookmarking startup oneview, in 1998, and rolled it out to in 16 countries and 10 languages.
Before I started my journey as an entrepreneur, I studied Law with a scholarship from the elite German National Academic Foundation at Sorbonne University in Paris and the University of Cologne, and in 2000, completed an executive entrepreneurship program at MIT. Further information about me can be found on Wikipedia (German) and Crunchbase (English). Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!