Lawrence Peter Berra said it best, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else.”


All successful business endeavors begin with a vision. As a future-based organizational roadmap, a vision should inspire action and guide businesses in setting goals, making decisions and evaluating progress.


Learning from my 25 years in the telecommunications, IT and IoT spheres, a successful vision should act as a core thread woven into every aspect of the business fabric. Here at Next Big Thing AG (NBT), our vision has become a declaration of realizing the true potential of what disruptive technologies can accomplish for businesses and for the world.


This year was exceptionally transformative and groundbreaking for our company. In 2019 alone, we completed an extremely successful Series-A with HDI and FinLab EOS VC to expand the NBT vision — and the good news doesn’t stop there. This year, our existing ventures also made significant progress. One of our HealthTech ventures, AssistMe, recently completed a successful round of Series-A funding in October 2019. At the same time, we have also welcomed new investments, becoming co-founders in ConcR, Deflect, and Auxolar.


With the NBT family and portfolio expanding, our new IoT-enabled ventures now reach into the construction industry, cybersecurity domain, and private energy industry. In preparation for 2020, our team has grown to establish a powerful engine room that has its sights set on acquiring ten new ventures within the coming year.


At the core of NBT’s success, is our unique ecosystem of team members, co-innovators and strategic partners that support our vision of enabling the Machine Economy of the future. Ever since NBT was first established in 2016, many people have been curious to know how I was able to sell this vision. Let me share this with you.


HaraldZapp_ProfileCEO and Founder of Next Big Thing AG, Harald Zapp in NBT's offices in Berlin, Germany


Reflecting back, here are my 5 most important learnings in creating a successful and sustainable company vision.


Lesson 1 - Be bold when creating your vision and defining your purpose

In order for people to feel truly inspired, a vision should be bold. In my experience, a good vision is built on a belief that goes far beyond the status quo. It acts as the centerpiece of a corporate strategy and defines the goals necessary to achieve long-term success.

The first step in achieving this is to be clear in your purpose. Think of your company vision as a destination, an audacious goal that you are working toward. A vision should be proactive and focus on new horizons, governed by the ability to plan for the future by combining imagination with wisdom.


As NBT leads the charge in deep tech solutions, IoT, blockchain and AI, we aim to help make sense of the complex forces driving the Machine Economy. In doing so, we are accelerating the digital landscape by establishing successful startups faster and more reliably than any other company builder in Europe.


Lesson 2 - Find forward-thinkers to join the team to help achieve your vision

Although this falls right into the line of general startup literature, it’s still one of the most important aspects of every company’s journey. A vision is successfully carried out when it has the right team behind it.


Moreover, a vision is closely linked to employee morale and forms the foundation on which company culture is built. As a source of inspiration, team members should be motivated by a vision to be part of something bigger that can, ultimately, drive real-world change. To build on this, if we look at the modern job market, individuals are no longer purely guided by revenue potential; impact initiatives, social responsibility, and professional growth are today’s value drivers that business owners need to consider.


Here at NBT, we understand that as a result of the business landscape becoming more complex, entrepreneurs are searching for secure and stable employment opportunities. By partnering with NBT, we can help you achieve this by minimizing risk through our comprehensive support framework to bring your tech-driven B2B concept to life.


We are continuously on the lookout for new talents to drive visionary ideas that expand Europe’s digital landscape. Furthermore, we bridge the gap for entrepreneurs looking to find a work-life-balance whilst simultaneously driving meaningful impact within an industry.


We leverage our internal team, an extended network of industry experts and key resources to ensure that this process is simplified and hassle-free. By partnering with NBT, we make it a top priority to help entrepreneurs successfully drive their own destiny.


Lesson 3 - Effectively communicate your vision to drive success

Learning how to create and communicate a company vision is critical to achieving an engaging narrative that resonates with your audience. Every touchpoint should strategically and authentically communicate your purpose and core values. Nowadays, it’s not just about what you do, it’s about why you do it.


Among the many benefits of establishing a clearly defined vision, it’s helped us to attract the right talent of extraordinary individuals in our technology, marketing, operations, and venture development departments.


In tandem with creating an effective communication strategy, establishing a robust business relationship with key stakeholders creates a foundation for successful cooperation. This is something we take to heart at NBT.


Our work ethic ensures that we embrace diverse perspectives to the highest standard of quality and creativity in pursuit of our shared vision. With this in mind, we have crafted a vast network of support figures, strategic partners and technologies that form part of our overarching ecosystem. By co-innovating with NBT, we give you direct access to this extensive ecosystem, providing you with valuable insights and step-by-step support along the way.


In the coming years, we will continue to build out our tech-driven portfolio of new business models and value chains, enabling greater opportunities for the entrepreneurs of the future.



NBT’s management board:  CFO Christoph Brueck (L), CEO Harald Zapp, and CTO Jasmin Skenderi (R)


Lesson 4 - Build a diverse network and community of visionaries

With a diverse team of dreamers and doers, we continuously reimagine a tech-enabled future while building the B2B models of tomorrow.


Our goal is to create a fearless environment, where our team is curious by nature, exploring every angle of the business venture pitch. Through rapid technology iterations, product-market fit and manufacturing viability, we do a thorough validation of each business idea to assess its impact and potential, before scaling it up to success.


However, it's important to note as with any new business idea, every venture does not guarantee success. While it may seem like a paradox, we recognize failure early on and put measures in place to learn from past trials. We believe that experimenting and accepting challenges as part of the business journey is an important part of the learning process. Each stage of iteration and learning forms part of the company’s knowledge base and becomes a business standard for the future.


In addition, we nurture and engage with our diverse network of entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, corporates, startups, research institutions and enthusiasts to gain exposure to new ideas and novel approaches to some of the world’s most challenging problems. We care about the impact that our companies have on the world and try to leverage our community of brilliant minds to harness the power of technology as a solution.


Lesson 5 - Be curious and open-minded to new opportunities

Successful entrepreneurs seize opportunities when they arise. By maintaining situational awareness and gaining exposure to a multitude of products, companies, and talented individuals, your business scope expands, providing you with a greater perspective to craft an inspiring vision that is not solely driven by profit.


As businesses scale and environments shift, companies often drift away from their original vision. Nevertheless, while it may be necessary to adapt your organizational process, and at times your offering, your core ethos should remain the same.


Here at NBT, we make sense of the complexities surrounding launching a new venture. We are the “no excuse” solution for entrepreneurs with big ideas. With our vast experience in building tech-enabled businesses of the future, we make it easier to establish successful companies by:

  • Reducing the risk, time and cost associated with launching an IoT startup
  • Having access to deep-tech software protocols and tools
  • Leveraging insights from our ecosystem of industry experts


Advancing the Machine Economy through a shared vision

As of now, there has never been a better time for entrepreneurs to make their mark. However, finding the right combination of ecosystem partners, tools and resources are critical to achieving success.


This is where NBT comes into play.


NBT provides access to the right vertical market that will enable you to leap ahead of competitors. Our B2B company-building approach is extremely tech-oriented and focused on the long-term outlook, which alongside our entrepreneurial spirit and powerful vision, is the key to building resilient and pragmatic ventures.


Fueled by ambition and a shared vision, NBT exists to inspire, build and launch technology companies to advance knowledge provision in the Machine Economy. We aim to help entrepreneurs and companies prepare for a more automated future, where real-time trusted data insights will be key. As Europe’s leading company builder - and innovation vehicle - NBT builds successful ventures to help tackle some of the world’s most prominent challenges by creating a stage for visionaries to implement change.


Looking ahead to 2020, you can expect to hear more from us as we continue to build the machine to machine (M2M) economy of the future – one company at a time.



NBT’s team gathered to celebrate the end of summer during a busy 2019, with Harald in the center.


To find out more about creating a successful business venture or to co-innovate with NBT, get in touch.



Cover image by Dan Taylor photography.