We have interviewed Nils Halecker, the founder of Knawu — a shop that offers original Thuringian Knackwurst (smoked sausage), and DeineMetzger — a marketplace that connects meat sellers and buyers all across Germany. Nils has successfully completed a 50-day Venture Camp program and now is an entrepreneur in residence at Nestim.

How did you come to Venture Camp?

I study International Business Administration at HTW Berlin. This summer I was looking for a company where I could spend my internship semester, and Bastian, the CEO, suggested me to join Venture Camp and try myself as an entrepreneur.

How did you come up with your project ideas?

Since my family already had a butcher shop, I have decided to help them and to modernize it by bringing their activities online. Decades ago customers
were coming to my grandfather for meat and now I made sausages come to our customers.

How much progress have you made so far?

First of all, I have learned a lot of things: how to start a company, everything about pitching, pricing and marketing instruments too. I started two months ago and by this time I have launched two web-sites for my projects, one of which makes minimum two sales per week. Sausages hang all around my apartment on the ropes, I wrap them on my kitchen table and send them to my customers. I do everything on my own.

Meat is not easy to handle, is it?

My product is, actually. Since it is a smoked sausage, you don’t need to freeze it or to have any special conditions for keeping it. It goes through all the shipping process well too.

What were the biggest challenges for you in building your projects?

As for Knawu, it was a huge competition. I was surprised how many butchers sell their meat online. But in the end I have managed to become a top Amazon seller of Knackwurst. At the same time, it was difficult to find a connection with butchers for my other project — DeineMetzger which is supposed to be a marketplace uniting German meat sellers. You can’t act the usual way — sending emails or contacting them through social networks. Most of them are still excluded from the digital space so you have to call them or even actually go to their shop with your offer. However, they are very excited about digitalization. Plus, they have nothing to lose if they start and don’t have to invest much, considering that we provide them with all the necessary equipment (boxes, wrappings, letters, etc), all they need is just to make a package and put it into a mailbox.

What are your impressions of Nestim?

I like the atmosphere we have here, it is very unique and friendly. I have learnt so many things here about how to succeed in business and all of it was very useful for my projects. I met a lot of great people who helped me to develop myself and my products. I was surprised how fast Nestim could execute ideas. It is their USP (unique selling proposition) and it really works — that’s the cool thing about it. It is not just a promise.

More about Venture Camp participants: 
Make your hangover work for you: Tarek Mandelartz and his Venture Camp project
How I Like platform brings smart fridges to the companies to raise nutritional awareness | #VentureCamp