Listenchampion founders Jan-Erik Flentje (right) and Leo Semmelmann.
© Listenchampion

Listenchampion Makes Finding Investors and Partners Easier

Looking for the right investors and partners can often be difficult — not least because usually there’s no comprehensive overview of the market. That’s where the Munich startup Listenchampion comes in: With modern research methods like web crawlers and big data analytics, it takes care of time-consuming research. The founders answered our Seven Questions.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourself!

Listenchampion: We’re the research startup Listenchampion. With our high quality lists of industries and investors, we provide easy access to non-transparent industries and help startups as well as investors, advisors and corporations identify relevant market players and potential partners. What’s special about our model is that you can download the databases directly from our online shop and our scalable model makes them very affordable. We use modern research methods like web crawlers or big data analytics and take care of hours worth of research for our customers.

Roots in corporate venture capital funds

The people behind Listenchampion are Leo Semmelmann and Jan-Erik Flentje. We met at a corporate venture capital fund in Munich in 2017. Our daily work involved researching and drafting up market overviews and identifying relevant investors. We quickly realized it was always the same data that was needed and that this applied not only to our company. That was how we came up with the idea to offer lists on a marketplace and make them available to a broad audience. We founded Listenchampion and built up our own brand. Leo brought along his skills in software development thanks to his background in business informatics from the Technical University of Munich. Jan-Erik already had experience in researching and was able to use his methodical skills he learned as a political scientist. We realized within a very short period that our lists were in high demand, especially in the real estate and investment industries, and that they are particularly relevant in markets with a lack of transparency. That includes family offices, real estate developers or holding companies, for instance. We have been focusing on these markets ever since and have built up extensive expertise in them.

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Listenchampion: It’s a problem many entrepreneurs are familiar with: For your company to continue to grow and conduct business, you need the right business partners and investors, but don’t know all of the relevant market players. As a result, you have to invest a huge amount of time, for example in finding the right venture capital funds or tracking down buyers for each product. That is a challenge faced not only by startup founders, but also by nearly all business professionals in practically every industry. Real estate owners and agents look for investors for a property, owners of a stable SME need investors to continue growing and sales managers depend on new customer groups. With our lists in Excel format, we take the burden off anyone looking for these kinds of contacts. While our product doesn’t sound all that impressive to begin with, it saves an enormous amount of time and money and allows our customers to focus on what they really need to get done. Creating transparency in markets that are difficult to access is our stand-out USP and has already led to several successful deals.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Listenchampion: Yes, it actually is. We’re the first to offer high quality industry and investor lists in an online shop. While something known as research boutiques are able to create market overviews like ours, the costs are significantly higher and the data isn’t immediately available. When compared to those who offer databases for lead generation, we’re distinguished not only by the quality of our data, but also by our industry focus. Anyone looking for top real estate investors in Germany or the most relevant single family offices in Europe won’t have to look any further after finding us.

Listenchampion’s failed internationalization

Munich Startup: Was there a point when you nearly failed?

Listenchampion: We’ve fortunately never been close to failure with Listenchampion. While there have been some products and marketing ideas that weren’t as successful as we might have hoped, learning from your mistakes is simply part of life for us founders. One of our larger projects actually did fail. We wanted to offer our German research portal in English to make it easier for foreign companies to enter the German market. We created our own brand for it and translated our existing databases. After a few months, we had to acknowledge that we had neglected important aspects and that simply translating a website isn’t enough to establish a brand. We weren’t able to repeat Listenchampion’s success with the English portal, which is why we put the project on the back burner.

Munich Startup: How is business going?

Listenchampion: We are very pleased with how things have developed over the last three years and are proud of growing without any outside financing. In the beginning, we established Listenchampion while studying and working in our first jobs. Business was going well, but we noticed we weren’t able to tap into the full potential of Listenchampion. We decided to concentrate entirely on our own company and to invest 100% of our manpower in it. It’s always risky to become self-employed, but it has definitely been worth it. In addition to our growth so far, we still have a lot more planned and are looking forward to the years to come.

No growth without risk

Munich Startup: How do you view Munich as a startup location?

Listenchampion: There is no better location for us in Germany. The startup network is constantly growing and events like Bits & Pretzels are extremely helpful for getting established. Because our business focus is very much on the investment industry, we also benefit from the many private equity funds, real estate companies and family offices that are located in Munich. The high quality of living thanks to the English Garden, Isar and beer gardens also make the city quite attractive. And if any f the great students from LMU or TU want to work for an exciting startup – get in touch with us, because we’re always looking for motivated interns.

Munich Startup: Risk or security?

Listenchampion: Controlled risk! After all, no company has ever grown without taking some kind of risk.

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