Leading Innovation - Christian Lüdtke and Philipp Herrmann on their new challenge at BRYCK

BRYCK is a fresh start for both of you. What convinced you to join the mission headquartered in Essen?

PH: The mission of BRYCK is all about change. And so are we. We are passionate about driving changes into the direction of a livable future. We have been working in other ecosystems like Berlin, Munich, Dublin or Silicon Valley. But in the Ruhr area we saw great potential to realize our vision.

CL: Growing up in here I saw the radical structural change in the economic and social identity of the region. It had to keep up with the shift from over 600.000 mineworkers and no academic structures to the excact opposite: no more mineworkers at all but more than 290.000 students today. This transition has started a whole new era including an new understanding of the region itself: balancing between heritage and industry culture and building the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. During my time as regional coordinator at Gründerallianz Ruhr I was in touch with startups, investors and the already existing ecosystem in the area – that really has grown over the last years 5 years. While we believe in the potential of the region and this ecosystem, we want to add what is still missing to fully rise to that potential.

You participated in the development of the project yourself. What is your vision for BRYCK?

CL: I am convinced that the region will benefit from BRYCK's success. But the profit for the region must not be the only aspiration for the project: our ambition is to create measurable impact with the teams we work with. Therefore, our focus is beyond the Ruhr region: We want to create a vibrant community with unknown combinations of industries, international participants and valuable exchange, to add on to our existing ecosystem. This is also why we have chosen English as corporate language: to include international talents and experts living here or coming from outside the region.

PH: We believe in the concept of long-term, future-oriented impact. The goal is to bring together what is destined to benefit from each other: universities and its future-oriented innovation and science, students, that are interested in entrepreneurship and realizing their own ideas and corporates, investors and accelerators that can add on to the expertise with their own knowledge and networks. All parties are equally important for our vision. The idea of BRYCK is based on collaboration: We want to amplify what is already successful and co-create what is still needed.

You have both been working in the startup & innovation ecosystem. What do you want to add to that with BRYCK?

PH: There are already a number of future-oriented ambitions across Europe, Germany and even the Ruhr area itself. What we offer is a tailor-made, early-start solution for every founder or startup BRYCK partners up with.

We don't believe in standard schedules, but in customized problem solving.

That is why we are closely working with a wide network of partners, other hubs & programs, mentors and experts. Combining their expertise to multiply everyones opportunities. We are constantly searching to expand for partner that are willing and able to match our long-term approach and are ready to challenge our future way of living together - and we are more than happy that we already found several of them to partner with right from the beginning.

CL: In addition to that our approach is driven by the targeted impact on a livable, sustainable future. In order to achieve this, we are ready for long-term commitment and possible investments in cooperation with our powerful shareholder the RAG Stiftung. Meaning that our partnered founders and startups not only get access to our strong investor network, but we are also even ready to co-invest with up to 150k in seed funding.

You are co-leading BRYCK, that is a quite unusual setup. How do you work together as a team?

PH: We discussed this yesterday over a beer - or two. Most of the times there is a symbiotic understanding about who takes on which tasks. Maybe it is because we have been working together for over a decade now, but we know the other‘s strengths and weaknesses, how to annoy each other but also challenge one another on a professional level - and surprisingly still get along well!

CL: I would not have done BRYCK without Philipp and not with anyone else, because we really complement each other - in terms of personality and skillset. In general, one could say that I take over more of the managerial duties and consult over possible external partnerships while Philipp makes use of his expertise in the startup and venture building process and really digs deep into the startup programs and offering. We also complement one another when it comes to the local dimension of BRYCK: I can add the local perspective while Philipp has a fresh view from the outside.

So, your close co-operation works well for both of you. What do you value the most about each other?

CL: Philipp is what I call an “execution machine”. He fulfills every task from bottom to top, focused and fully goal oriented. And on top of that the quality of his results always leaves an imprint.

PH: What really impresses me is how Christian connects with people and is able to create not only an interesting conversation but also valuable opportunities out of that connection.

You want to see what Philipp & Christian have done in the past? Download their CVs