Johannes Jaeger works with Hack Horizon, the world’s first travel-tech hackathon on an aeroplane.
What’s your story?
I’m originally from Germany and have been living around Asia for over 10 years. When I started my undergrad at HKUST I joined the Underwater Robotics team. I left the team after two years with a very good software developer of the team, to co-found Plain Exchange, a peer to peer currency exchange platform, later shut down by Apple. We used hackathons to recruit tech talent. After attending several hackathons and winning the world’s largest hackathon, I started organising hackathons including Europe’s (Hack Junction) and Greater China’s largest (hackUST). In January I met Kosta, whom I started working on Hack Horizon – the world’s first travel-tech hackathon happening on an aeroplane.
What excites you most about your industry?
In Hong Kong the startup ecosystem in general is undergoing explosive growth. It’s geographical location makes it the epic center for international travel – within 5 hours you can reach 50% of the world’s population. Currently there are very few developments in TravelTech in Hong Kong, additionally the nature of the industry makes it very difficult to enter. Hack Horizon does not only attempt to create successful companies off the back of the event, it will unite the currently siloed startup ecosystem and create role models for future wantrepreneurs.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I moved to Asia over ten years ago. I am by no means an Asian, but I do see it as my home. Two of my many nicknames are inverse banana and egg (German on the outside, Asian on the inside). Also I am very fortunate to have had the chance to extensively explore the APAC region.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong. It is the only Asian city where I have extensive experience working.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Where there is a will there is a way.
Who inspires you?
Thomas Jaeger – my father. He had no formal university education and started a family in a 9 square meter flat before moving a 6 person family to Asia in his mid thirties. He now has 4 of his children working and studying on 3 different continents, with unlimited support from my mother.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
In Formula E, they do not exchange the battery, drivers need to change the car.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Sleep more when I was younger. Ever since I moved out to Asia, each success and failure has lead to the next big thing.
How do you unwind?
Hiking. My favorite trail is MacLeHose – a real beast.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan which has the world’s friendliest people. When you stand on the street and look lost, open a map and people will come and try help you, even though they often speak very limited English.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
Shameless plug for your business:
To stay up to date with the latest Hack Horizon news including launch of applications – www.hackhorizon.com
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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