October 5, 2022

Business School

Business Opening

An MBA at INSEAD led to this German’s successful coffee startup

You do not require to review an MBA at INSEAD to know that people want espresso and they want it fast. You do need to have it if you system to open up a coffee chain that is tech-enabled, award-profitable and inexpensive.

Flash Coffee is the brainchild of MBA at INSEAD graduate Sebastian Hannecker, designed attainable by all the connections — big and tiny — he created at the major organization school’s outpost in Singapore. 

With Flash Coffee, you can forget queues and the frustrations of shouting your identify out to baffled baristas in loud, hectic cafes. It presents straightforward pick-ups, payments, loyalty programmes, personalised promotions and interactive challenges — all in a single application. 

Even while Flash Espresso only released at the starting of past year, it presently offers substantial financial investment by businesses these types of as White Star Cash, DX Ventures, Worldwide Founders Capital and Conny & Co. When Flash Espresso determined to increase money to support start new stores, their funding was led by White Star Money and this resulted in US$15 million. This indicates expansion in the Asian area to nations around the world like Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. 

We caught up with the German entrepreneur to master a lot more about his MBA at INSEAD, how he transformed his coffee addiction to a small business and how he’s fuelling Flash Coffee’s rapid enlargement in Southeast Asia: 

In which did your desire in arithmetic stem from? Is there a individual backstory behind this?

I felt a fascination for numbers early on in existence. For example, in most important faculty I remembered the jersey number of each solitary player in the German soccer league. Seeking at the science of mathematics, I have usually deeply appreciated the logic and neatness of it. 

In distinct, I really like the actuality that in maths in contrast to other fields, there is only a single single suitable remedy to a problem. In addition to that, I have generally been a really rational person and when very carefully comparing maths to other review programmes. It appeared to produce the most effective tradeoff involving my individual pursuits, skills and profession potential customers. 

Why did you pick to do your MBA at INSEAD?

INSEAD is, by considerably, the most common enterprise college amongst European Bain & Business consultants like myself. Of system, the truth that INSEAD is consistently ranked amongst the world’s top enterprise universities performs a major function also. My main explanation was the simple fact that INSEAD has a campus in Singapore.

Why? My INSEAD application standing (100% first): “During my time residing and researching in Indonesia as very well as through several trips to other ASEAN countries over the several years, I expert that South East Asia is one of the most lively, culturally assorted and dynamic areas in the world. I made a deep relationship and fascination for the area which fuelled my selection to go after my career there. In a natural way, I’m looking ahead to becoming based in Singapore during the INSEAD MBA programme since I will be in a position to further more take a look at and establish my community as very well as keep on being linked with mates I have made there for the previous many years.”

“INSEAD is regularly rated between the world’s best company universities,” Hannecker claims. Resource: Sebastian Hannecker

Perfectly, I meant it. I joined Bain & Company’s Jakarta place of work ideal following INSEAD thanks to the connections created with community leadership on campus. Two several years later on, I launched Flash Espresso in Jakarta, Bangkok and Singapore. The relaxation is historical past. I’m unbelievably grateful that my MBA at INSEAD encounter opened the doorway to this wonderful journey I’m going through now. 

Stroll us via your profession trajectory with Flash Coffee. The place did your inspiration arrive from and why the unexpected interest in a espresso business in Asia?

Espresso, in particular from perfectly-recognised manufacturers, is particularly costly and for this reason inaccessible to the Asian middle-course. For reference, the ordinary Indonesian’s day-to-day profits is equal to two or three Starbucks lattes. At the same time, the client expertise at most espresso chains is much from what shoppers would assume from a modern business enterprise. 

The greater part of this field is however comprehensive-run offline and lacks advantage, leaving amazing alternatives for digitisation and optimised processes. The benefit for dollars appeared considerably lesser than predicted (perfectly-known espresso chains typically offer mediocre espresso at premium rates). 

We seen customers have been regularly paying out substantial costs for coffee from big shops with substantial seating in expensive neighbourhoods, even though the vast majority of orders were to get-and-go. These insights designed us want to democratise significant high-quality espresso in the APAC location and becoming big coffee lovers (addicts), we decided to acquire the plunge and make a organization all around a merchandise we love. 

I keep in mind when Rocket Internet approached me about the chance to make a organization with them and soon just after, Alexander Kudlich launched me to David Brunier, an entrepreneur at coronary heart who is also a visionary, extremely clever and a inventive personal. Brunier experienced just begun performing on a very fascinating coffee challenge and was wanting for a cofounder for what was about to turn out to be Flash Coffee.

We clicked the minute we achieved and shared a comparable concept of how we envisioned to construct our firm. We also connected on a personal level incredibly swiftly and joined forces in a matter of days — the rest is history!

How do you use the awareness and skills acquired from your MBA at INSEAD course now?

I do get to use many of the theories I uncovered all through my MBA which consists of microeconomics (theories and frameworks handy to establish costs), accounting (I had to take care of the textbooks by myself in the beginning), and finance (rules of corporation evaluation for fundraising). 

Also, the artwork of negotiation. My job the natural way revolves all over this specifically in recruiting, when leasing actual estate leases for retailers or with suppliers and associates. Below, I use concepts, exploration and tools I realized throughout the negotiation program at INSEAD. 

The most impactful takeaway while, is the amazing community of unbelievable, like-minded and driven people today. INSEAD is by much the number 1 concentrate on university to recruit expertise — our running directors in Thailand and Taiwan have done their MBA at INSEAD. My network at this faculty also led me to get funding chances for my company.

What competencies or awareness do you desire you experienced learned extra throughout uni?

As the majority of my operate is recruiting, controlling and guiding my workforce, a lot more useful instruments primarily based on the science of human psychology and typical company ideal tactics would have come in handy.


Even nevertheless Flash Espresso only released at the commencing of previous year, it previously features significant investment decision by corporations these types of as White Star Cash, DX Ventures, World Founders Capital and Conny & Co. Source: Sebastian Hannecker

What guidance do you have for global pupils who are scheduling to enroll in the identical study course you did?

I inspire every single global university student to intensely spend in forming friendships with classmates from other parts of the world with diverse backgrounds. An MBA at INSEAD is excellent to do so considering the fact that it is a person of the most intercontinental and assorted programmes out there. 

This sounds apparent but I have typically observed that although getting overseas, internationals mainly hold out with classmates from their very own state, location or very similar field backgrounds. I think about this human consolation zone conduct. I have a tendency to fall into this trap way too, but I also learned stepping out of the convenience zone can deliver one particular with an wonderful possibility to broaden one’s point of view on daily life and small business. 

In 10 yrs, in which do you visualize by yourself?

Due to the fact I never ever preferred the German winter season, I will most likely are living someplace with 365 times of warm climate. Enterprise-wise, I will most probable nevertheless be engaged in the startup surroundings simply because I consider this is the most remarkable area of the economic climate due to the emphasis on innovation and disruption. 

In phrases of marketplace in addition to F&B, I am most passionate about human wellbeing and longevity — in distinct about business versions focusing on the mega pattern of moving towards keeping away from diseases vs . today’s aim of medicine curing health problems. 

Nonetheless, I could envision remaining in a less operational part than now. For example, transferring to the investment facet as an lively and advisory than purely economic investor leveraging my operational practical experience in making organizations from scratch.

What is just one issue you skipped from home and how did you substitute it?

Relatives and close friends is the initial factor that will come to my mind listed here. Nonetheless, presently many thanks to engineering, it is unbelievably quick to continue to be in contact by means of texting and movie calling. Also most of my buddies and relatives adore travelling (specifically to South East Asia) so I have most of them traveling to me on the common. 

On best of that, two of my finest mates from property have also moved to South East Asia which inspired my own move. It is awesome that we can deepen friendships in a wholly various surroundings. 

What tips would you give an international university student abroad on how to spending plan and regulate finances sensibly?

This may perhaps audio counterintuitive, but I would suggest to research abroad, if achievable, with a unfastened price range. Why? For the reason that it is a when-in-a-life time prospect to make friendships with astounding men and women, achieve new perspectives on existence, take a look at new cultures and frankly, to have masses of enjoyable in a quick timeframe. 

Absolutely capitalising on these odds sadly typically end result in greater spendings via dinners, social functions and weekend excursions — especially in an high-priced city like Singapore — which was additional than value it for me. 

The opportunity to one’s funds is also confined when on the lookout at the even larger scheme of points. I also want to point out that science evidently shows that investing in encounters yields far more sustained happiness in excess of investing in goods. 

So you might want to invest a little bit far more throughout your scientific studies but carry out a a lot more frugal way of life before and immediately after. Which is how I approached it — earning a good wage right after my MBA in a tiny studio when shelling out my college student money owed labored out nicely for me.