This week we’ll be introducing another one of the founders at WeAreBrain, Mario Grunitz, serial entrepreneur and startup all-rounder. Mario works across all departments and disciplines at WeAreBrain. Teaming up with Elvire, Mario works on new business development and client collaboration, helping clients to design their digital roadmaps and plan their mid-long term development plans.
Mario also spends a great deal of his time working with and coaching our product and design teams, focusing on creative concepts and marketing best practice for owned and client products. Last and perhaps most importantly Mario works on the development of WeAreBrain’s business strategy, plotting the company’s growth path.
Outside of WeAreBrain Mario has been the founder of more than a dozen startups. As he explains “Most of them ended up in the famous startup graveyard. A few of them survived and a few even made some money allowing us to build and reinvest in new ventures. But truthfully I believe each one was setting us up for our biggest adventure yet: WeAreBrain!”
Who is us? “I’ve worked with both Elvire (CEO) and Jack (CTO) on other ventures separately, WeAreBrain is the first business we all built together. Working with them both has made me a better businessman, they each bring something very special to the enterprise” he says.
Mario got a dual degree in business and technology, spending his student years primarily in Germany and France. “I’ve always been attracted to the tech space, even when I was young, so making the decision to study that was an easy one and business seemed sensible. But the transformative moment in my tertiary education was when I was attending an entrepreneurship course in France. Within ten minutes of being in the class I felt like the world opened up to me. I was like the proverbial fish that was put back in water, I was revitalised and excited about my professional future. I have to say a big thank you to my professor Hervé Colas, he was instrumental in helping me find my way.”
Mario graduated directly after the dot.com crash, which made it difficult to get the right kind of job. “Not many people were interested in hiring digital specialists” says Mario but he was persistent and 15 years later he has copious experience in the field, holding positions in both the corporate, startup and agency spheres. “The experience I garnered through those years taught me what I wanted my own businesses to be like and what I didn’t want them to be like. So when I felt I’d learnt enough I struck out on my own, that was 7 years ago and I have never looked back.”
Growing up in East Germany, Mario saw the crumbling of the Berlin Wall first hand, which brought with it the reunification of Germany. Having lived through this period of history and understanding how this divide tore families apart, how economically and culturally society suffered, his one wish, in terms of witnessing an event in ‘history’ would be to see Korea united as one country.
A dedicated family man, Mario lists moments with his wife and the birth of his son as the top highlights in his life. At the top of his bucket list is to travel through Africa, Latin America and the Scandinavian Fjords in a 4 wheel drive camper van with his son and dad. ‘Can you imagine, three generations of crazy dudes on the road? Can’t wait for the first trip!” he laughs.
Mario is unequivocally committed to raising his son to be a gentleman, a man who respects and cares for those around him and to do this he says “I need to lead by example, so WeAreBrain is not just a business, it’s an exercise in trying to create a world that’s still worth living in for upcoming generations. So aside from building crazy cool tech we also feel a responsibility to creating employment and investing in our local communities. This why we do spend a considerable amount of time supporting sustainable and transformative initiatives such as Rita.global, the Black Jaguar Foundation and others.”
When not working on WeAreBrain business and his other startup projects Mario is also a visiting professor at Business School Lausanne moulding young minds, teaching them all that there is to know about the digital sphere.
Mario’s personal motto is ‘Be a voice, not an echo’ and you can certainly see him bringing this sentiment to life in the way he approaches his businesses. Never afraid of pushing the boundaries and trying new things, he has driven the WeAreBrain team to pursue projects that sometimes really felt insurmountable but as the whole WeAreBrain team can happily confirm, the support and the drive they feel from the founders has certainly made them better at their jobs, and contributes to the enjoyment of working at Brain.
In closing, Mario explains briefly the founder’s collective vision for WeAreBrain, “ Our ambition is not really to build the next Instagram or AirBnB (even if we love the idea and we love dreaming about it). Rather we believe our destiny is to create the modern-day version of a family run business that outlasts us as founders and continues to grow eons after we’ve retired. As founders, we want to try lead by example. We want to encourage more people to become entrepreneurs and we encourage more women to find their way into coding and technology.”