There hasn’t been much noise about Lars Hinrichs after he resigned as Xing CEO in early 2009 and subsequently sold his shares to Burda. But now he appears back on the European start-up scene with his new venture aptly named HackFwd.
At HackFwd, Lars takes the role of Executive Geek. That reminds me of the old days at Böttcher Hinrichs where Lars also was the Chief Geeking Officer, kind of. Böttcher Hinrichs went bust in 2001, but this experience somehow laid the foundation for what later became Xing. Founded in 2003, Xing went public in 2006, a few days before Lars turned 30.
HackFwd provides pre-seed financing and all kind of support to geek founders with original, consumer-focused ideas. In exchange, HackFwd gets 27 per cent of the company. As of today, HackFwd lists four start-ups on its website, with TheDeadline amongst them (we already mentioned TheDeadline). According to Lars, the mission of his new company is simple:
Free Europe’s best developers from their day jobs to help them build their own game-changing companies.
But even if this sounds much like the incubator idea, the company sees itself as investor rather than incubator. The basic idea is summarised in this neat video:
Besides Lars, three other investors serve on the board: Marco Börries of StarOffice, StarMoney and Yahoo fame, Stefan Richter, the founder of freiheit.com, and Jean-Paul Schmetz, the former CTO and CEO of Burda Digital.