Meet the German Entrepreneur of the Year - Co-founder of Flix, which now owns Greyhound #GSA22 image
E361 · - The Authority on German Startups
Meet the German Entrepreneur of the Year - Co-founder of Flix, which now owns Greyhound #GSA22
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1 year ago

Executive Summary

Jochen Engert won the German Startup Award 2022 as German Entrepreneur of the Year. He is the co-founder of Munich-based Flix a unicorn recently valued at 3 bn US$ and the owner of Greyhound Lines. He shares in this interview his entrepreneurial journey, and his experience in winning 90% of the local long-distance bus market in less than a decade, without owning even one bus. We talk about the rough times during COVID when the service was shut down for 8 weeks, their expansion into different countries, acquisitions, and investments. He also shares some experience from his business angel investments.

“We are getting to profitability pretty soon”Jochen Engert Co-Founder Flix

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“Our families, even our girlfriends thought we were crazy leaving our consulting jobs to start this ‘bus thing’.”Jochen Engert Co-Founder Flix

German Startup Awards 2022

This interview is in media partnership with the German startup association (Bundesverband Deutscher Startups Their German Startup Awards #GSA22 honor each year outstanding female and male founders and investors in special categories. You can learn more about the winners in our interviews and on this website:

You can also have a look at our history, we also interviewed many winners of the German Startup Awards 2021 already.

“Our initial hypothesis was that you need one central player to orchestrate in order to put up a national network.”Jochen Engert Co-Founder Flix

The Founder

Our guest today is Jochen, the Supervisory Board Director (formerly CEO) and Co-Founder of Munich-based mobility unicorn startup Flix (formerly Flixbus). Jochen studied at the University of Ottawa, Canada, as well as at Stuttgart University and in Koblenz at WHU. He has also been a consultant at Boston Consulting Group for 5 years, prior to starting Flix.

“If you want to be a founder, you are always on sales, to clients, investors, and also people you want to hire”Jochen Engert Co-Founder Flix

The trigger of Flix was the 2009 coalition government contract, where the ruling parties stated they wanted to de-regulate the bus service in Germany, for the first time permitting long-distance buses. Before the de-regulation there was a law in force forbidding long-distance bus connections, competing with train service. So they founded GoBus, later re-branded to FlixBus, then to Flix.

“ … for all operational complex businesses: Operational excellence, passion for detail and laser focus on customer centricity and ultimately customer technology … that is something that compounds, …. Building ultimately a competitive advantage, that is very hard to impossible to replicate ”Jochen Engert Co-Founder Flix

The Startup

Flix started as GoBus, later FlixBus ( Today they operate FlixBus, FlixTrain, FlixCar, Kâmil Koç in Turkey, and Greyhound Lines in the