Felix Hartmann is the 22 year old CEO of FundThis.com, a disruptive new Crowdfunding Platform. He was named one of Everipedia’s 30 under 30, and one of Temple University’s 3 under 30. Next to FundThis, Felix is also a bestselling dystopian fiction author, known for his breakout novel Dark Age.
City where you’re from: Boca Raton, Florida
Hobbies: Creative Writing, Fitness, Travel
Favorite quote: “Every man dies, not every man really lives.” – Braveheart
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship has been in my DNA from early on. All my immediate family members were Entrepreneurs, so I became used to the ‘work hard, play hard’ nature of entrepreneurship. Throughout the past years prior to committing to Entrepreneurship I had played with the idea of going into politics or going into the corporate world, both of which ended up feeling too limiting. I knew I could make a bigger impact outside these constrained frameworks, and realized that I could not maximize my potential working for someone else.
Who were your biggest influences? Was there a defining moment in your life?
In retrospect, my family was a big influence, since I was used to seeing them work long days and nights often six or seven days a week. Most people are too soft where they think they maxed out their day with a regular 9 to 5, so luckily I was never brought up to think that way. There are two defining moments that come to mind. During my gap-semester following High School graduation, I worked at minimum wage in my mother’s e-commerce business stocking warehouse shelves, counting inventory, and other manual jobs. My brother was sitting a few doors down, coding, listening to music, eating pizza and seemingly having a good time, all the while getting paid 4-8 times as much as me an hour. I realized the important connection between skill sets, value, and income, something most people don’t realize until after they graduate with their degree in philosophy, women’s studies, or history (all cool subjects, but you’ll still be working a bar). So I started the transition by listening to university lectures, Tony Robbins, and variouses courses on anything I could get my hands on while working my repetitive and rather boring job for another few months. The second big moment was in 2015, when one summer I started reverse engineering success based on those that had already made it. That summer I laid the foundation for everything I am doing now.
What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?
Now I am the CEO of FundThis.com, a disruptive new crowdfunding portal that brings together the world of crowdfunding platforms and marketing agencies. With FundThis we are creating a powerful tool and destination that allows entrepreneurs, inventors, and creatives to crowdfund more successfully with no risk. I came up with this idea after initially struggling to gain traction for the site. I studied the market, had dozens of industry phone calls, and found what was missing.
How is your product/service different and unique? What has been your favorite moment with it? What’s the vision?
What makes us different is that we are an end to end service, meaning that I take on entrepreneurs, inventors, and creatives, and do everything with them, from pre-launch preparations, to full campaign marketing, and post-campaign business development strategy. In a way it’s like an accelerator with the product launch/crowdfund at it’s heart.
My favorite moment has been working with all our creators. It’s an amazing experience truly helping others to realize their dreams. The relationships are genuine and synergistic, since all of us have skin in the game and only make a dime upon success. I think it’s the greatest job in the world, as I get to network with innovators every day, and learn about countless industries from tech to fashion to music on a daily basis.
The vision is to really reshape the way companies get funded through an integrated three step approach that guides creators from reward based crowdfunding to equity based crowdfunding to VC.
How do you uniquely market your company?
We uniquely market FundThis through constant innovation and staying fresh in our marketing. Some of our big name competitors have such a big piece of the market share that they have not innovated or developed new technology in years. We make the effort to always challenge the standard and are always developing new features. A lot of our competitors have also grown out of the startup size and have gotten a very corporate feel, which is quite a bit off putting when their main target audience is early stage startups. We make every effort therefore to stay fresh and relevant in our marketing, and are not afraid to be authentic.
What’s your long term vision with FundThis
I want to create the ultimate system that allows great ideas to be funded fast in big ways. FundThis is not the end, but rather a means to an end for me. 2005-2015 was the era of social media. Everyone wants to make their own social network now, but I do not believe that is the future. In my opinion 2015-2025 will be dominated by smart tech and AR (Augmented Reality). We saw the first wave of that with smart watches like the Apple watch, and smart home devices like Amazon Echo. Soon our fridges, shoes, and beds will be smart. 2025-2035 I believe will be the golden age of AI and bio-tech where we will see massive breakthroughs in terms of life extension and making machines as intellectually dynamic as humans.
I see myself as an innovator, and with FundThis I create the mechanisms that will allow me to be at the forefront of all these waves of changes, where I can have a true impact on the future of tech and thereby society.
What was your biggest failure and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
My biggest failures and biggest successes are yet to come. And they always will be, as the scale of your problems and wins increases at the same rate. Some of the big failures of the past, like failing to fund my first startup, initially seemed life-defining, but really they are irrelevant now looking back because I kept going. A guy trying to be my mentor once told me, how big of a deal something I accomplished was. I had two big wins the same night, and he said “That does not happen to many of us, this will be one of the best 3 days in your life”. It’s not even been three years and it barely breaks into the top 10 now. Don’t let nostalgia keep you from scoring.
Give the readers the best entrepreneurship advice you have.
Have a vision but be practical. Know the macro, but then focus on Day One and Month One. People get hung up on 6 month game plans 12 month strategies, and all kinds of crap. If you want to see any progress you need to stay close to the grindstone, and get out of Lala land, aka all the nice little dreams and ideas you have. The way I make it work is put 70% of my time on the actual work, 20% on planning, and 10% on learning and growing.
Teach us something about crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding in a nutshell is a high momentum product launch before you have the actual product. So without any product, how do you get people to give you money? The key is making them care. How will this product make their life easier and what can it do for them that nothing else on the market can do? That’s how you can compel them to invest their money into something that is yet uncertain to be completed.
While working on your project, have you come across any interesting bit of knowledge that you’d like to share?
The difference between successful and unsuccessful Entrepreneurs.
I get to work with lots of Entrepreneurs as I try to help them raise funds, and I also luckily pass on a lot of Entrepreneurs applying to our site. You can tell the difference between a successful Entrepreneur merely by talking to them. Excuses are the key differentiator. Those that fail, use excuses right and left, either why they won’t be able to do something, or why they weren’t able to do something. If you want to be an Entrepreneur you have to understand that it requires one big thing: Ownership. The buck stops with you, and if you don’t make it happen, no one else will. That’s why I think a lot of “Entrepreneurs” are too soft, and need a punch in the face to get their act together in order to deserve that title. So if you are reading this, do some honest self-assessment to see whether or not you are really giving it your all.
What daily habits do you have that allow you to perform at your peak?
The most continuous daily habit I have is health and fitness. Work can be demanding on your mind and body, and no matter how successful you are, it can all be gone if you get sick. So every day I go to the gym, and every day I track my nutrients, which allows me to go 110% all the time.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Do something valuable that you are passionate about. That’s it.
Do – You actually have to get your hands dirty and clock some time to make things happen.
Valuable – Don’t just become another guru because there’s quick and easy money in it. Build a meaningful business that can make an impact.
Passionate – Entrepreneurship is a marathon, and you won’t make it till the end unless you are truly passionate about what you are doing.
Walk us step-by-step through the process that you had to go through to get from the early stages to where you are today.
- Find an industry you feel passionate about
- Study the industry and its users
- Take note of what seems off and inefficient
- Find a solution that would remove said inefficiency
- Architect the solution
- Ally with powerful partners
- Brand the solution and give it identity
- Launch the solution and market with everything and anything at your disposal
- Refine and improve
What are some of your favorite books?
- Shoe Dog (Phil Knight from Nike Biography)
- Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
- Total Recall (Arnold Schwarzenegger Biography)
- Everything Store by Brad Stone (Jeff Bezos Biography)
- Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson
- Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
- Bigger Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews (only fitness book you need)
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- 1984 by George Orwell
- And of course Dark Age by Felix O. Hartmann 😉
Where do you see yourself and your product in a couple years?
FundThis will be the household name for anything relating funding, as products and brands of various stages will come to us for crowdfunding or venture capital. Furthermore we will have our own division of inventors that develop the cutting edge of next generation products in house that will be funded through our platforms.