Interview with a German Serial Entrepreneur: Marvin Steinberg
Marvin Steinberg is a renowned German serial entrepreneur who, after dominating the German energy startup sector, has made an entry into blockchain technology, with a goal at mainstreaming STO. Today, Marvin Steinberg will be sharing his thoughts on blockchain technology, startups, and security tokens, and offering advice to entrepreneurs interested in venturing into security tokens and STOs.
Mr. Steinberg, the energy sector has a very high entry barrier. How did you manage to break in such a competitive sector with just a startup?
Innovation drives opportunity. My startup entered the energy sector with a key differentiation: while every other German energy company ignored the rising tide of the internet and kept their customer engagement largely offline, I led market penetration and customer support through online services, making my company’s supply more accessible. Now, the larger energy companies have finally adopt the web, but there was plenty of time for smaller ventures to break in to this otherwise highly competitive sector by simply offering their energy distribution services through online channels.
Mr. Steinberg, how could it be that other entrepreneurs did not seize the grasp to offer energy distribution through online channels?
Others certainly tried to enter the market too. Most sectors are large enough to easily support many enterprises, let alone several startups. Even at a startup level, though, it is important to maintain reasonable and useful differentiation from the competition. The key to my marketing engine was my own “affiliate army,” numbering thousands of people. While traditional businesses relied on field salesforce going door to door, I noticed the web was making way for a new field needing a new form of salesforces. I created a digital affiliate army, enabling users to benefit from sourcing online conversion.
I knew as a startup, my own capacity for sales would be limited if all of them were sourced directly from my own efforts. Thus, I let anyone be a part of the sales growth. Of course, before I came along, there were affiliate opportunities, but I was the first to combine affiliate opportunities with online conversions, at least in the German energy sector. This created enormous leverage for me and my team.
The key is to constantly look for an edge, no matter how small it may seem, it could be the factor tipping you ahead of the competition.
Your time in the German energy sector involved many successes. Why sell your company and then create CPI Technologies?
Well, I was given a very nice offer my company which allowed me to hold some stake in its future success without me having to directly manage it. So not only was the sale very lucrative, it also enabled me to explore new opportunities. As an innovator and entrepreneur, I was hungry for new challenges.
I was one of the first German entrepreneurs to take advantage of the internet so I looked into new technologies. AI, IoT, and blockchain floated across my mind was and I felt that blockchain technology seemed as the most disruptive of the three. I wanted to be part of the revolution of how we handle data and carry out businesses.
You have become a very successful businessman, but do you ever look back and wish you were able to pursue the life of a sportsman, as had been your previous dream?
Sometimes, things don’t work out for various reasons and most times these reasons remains a mystery to us. The best we can do is look ahead with optimism, search new opportunities, and pursue a new dream with dedication and diligence. At least that’s what I did and I have no regrets. I still enjoy watching and playing sports in my leisure time, however, I believe I am living my best life right now.
What are your comments on the current failing state of the ICO market?
2017 and 2018 turned blockchain technology into buzzwords and everyone wanted a piece of the action. Far too much money flew in the sector without sufficient rational to back up the investments. A handful of project seized people’s irrationality as an opportunity to make astonishing figures. Key examples are token sales like Filecoin, which held an ICO in January 2018, raising more than $250 million.
Sadly, there were many risks associated with the lack of regulations around ICOs. Most ICO-funded projects have either gone defunct or were simply scams. It is my belief that the ICO model is broken and that STOs are the future as they mandate greater investor security and more transparency from the issuers.
Mr. Steinberg, IEOs seem to be catching the hype currently. Do you think this new funding model will be sustainable?
Regulations and laws for IEOs are even more unclear and ambiguous. Market manipulation is a high risk for IEOs as most of the tokens offered are pre-minted. It is possible for the exchange to keep a large number of tokens for itself and manipulate the price later. Legitimate companies looking out for a sustainable long-term success should steer away from IEOs.
Being a STO advocate gives you a lot of controlling knowledge around this funding model. Mr. Steinberg, why do you think STOs will be sustainable in the long-run?
A STO is a token sale that offers security tokens. These tokens are backed by a real asset and grant investors additional benefits over ICOs, like the ability to profit from dividends and equity shares. STOs are far safer because they are fully regulated. STOs can be more complicated but they can also attract bigger investors, the so-called “institutional investors.” This means that STOs are able to raise more funds in record time.
My belief in the success of STOs is the reason why I founded CPI Technologies, a company offering white label solutions for STOs. We have a proven record in helping more than 40 projects through CPI Tech. CPI has completed over 40 projects and its upcoming flagship venture is a $700M tokenization of a part of Times Square itself. These figures speak for themselves and demonstrate the massive potential for security tokens, which are far newer than utility tokens but are still making massive strides to over take even the best times seen by utility tokens.
What steps guarantee a successful launch of a STO?
Marvin Steinberg, thank you for taking the time for this interview. On a closing note, what are your final words to startups looking to leverage the power of blockchain technology?
The price of Bitcoin should not have an impact on a legitimate product. If you’re building a viable product, the market conditions should not phase you. Focus on your work, build, and keep pushing. Talk less and let your product speak for itself. This market is very new and being a pioneer requires a steadfast mindset so remain loyal to your cause.