Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Norbert Hermann from LIIVELY: Overcoming Business Challenges

Welcome to the interview series hosted by Jesse Samberg. Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Norbert Herrmann, the founder of Liively. Norbert shares his journey of starting his business during the pandemic, navigating challenges, memorable customer experiences, and plans for the future. Join us as we delve into the world of small business with Norbert Herrmann.

Interviewee Name: NORBERT HERRMANN

Company: LIIVELY

Intervirew Host: Jesse Samberg

The Interview

Let’s get started. First, we’d like to know more about how you started your business journey

NORBERT HERRMANN : Towards the end of the pandemic, I was eager to move on and build something from scratch. I discovered Antler’s accelerator program, applied, and was signed up for the 2022 cohort within a few days after the interviews. Through that process, you’re paired with 90 other individuals from Melbourne and Sydney and put through a series of challenges, out of which ideas are born. I fell in love with the concept of in-stadium delivery and spent the next month trying to validate or break my business model, which led to successfully pitching for pre-seed funding… that was the easy part.

Reflecting on your business history, what stands out as the single greatest challenge you’ve successfully navigated, and how did you overcome it?

NORBERT HERRMANN : It’s challenging to pinpoint just one, but the tech crash that coincided with our pre-seed funding pitch had significant impacts on the subsequent period. Securing the next round of funding became exceedingly difficult as many investors, both small and large, pulled back from the market, favoring more established businesses. The journey from pre-seed to Series A is a highly volatile time for founders, requiring you to put everything on the line to bring your vision to market. In our case, despite having an idea that everyone loved, gaining support from both investors and our core local demographic was slow, especially locally.

Businesses often face ongoing challenges. What does your business consistently grapple with, and how do you tackle these challenges head-on?

NORBERT HERRMANN : As mentioned, Australia can be slow and overly bureaucratic in some verticals, which forced us to look abroad, bringing its own set of challenges. Scaling operations across diverse regions, each with its own set of rules and demographic nuances, remains a constant hurdle for us. We tackle this by conducting thorough local market research, developing a flexible platform that adapts to local demands, and forging key partnerships with local players to effectively overcome these obstacles. Expanding into compatible verticals more rapidly than originally planned has opened us up to a more diverse range of opportunities.

Can you share with us the most unforgettable story involving a customer or client? What made it memorable, and what lessons did you draw from the experience?

NORBERT HERRMANN : At our first major event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, we had just two and a half days from landing to the event’s start. We arrived with a suitcase filled with tablets to train our vendors and had to organize 40,000 QR code stickers for the seats. On the morning of the event, it was humid and over 40 degrees Celsius, causing all the stickers we had placed around the venue to fall off. We urgently had to produce another batch of stickers and reattach them around the Jeddah Superdome in time for the main event. The end result was phenomenal; it worked amazingly well, securing us our seed round funding and an incredible in-region partnership that has assisted us in establishing ourselves in the GCC.

Looking ahead, what are your current plans for your business when you retire?

NORBERT HERRMANN : Retire? Are you kidding?! I absolutely love what I do. Our aim is global domination; we want to become synonymous with great event experiences (of all sizes), not just for patrons but for everyone involved. We have all the right pieces in place now and continue to gain traction and interest from across the globe, with some very exciting opportunities in the pipeline.

Navigating the small business landscape can be both challenging and rewarding. Can you share a bit about the specific hurdles you’ve encountered in areas like sales, marketing, and adapting to changing customer trends?

NORBERT HERRMANN : As mentioned, while there’s been a lot of love for our approach, the local market has been cautious about embracing something new like Liively. From a sales perspective, I had hoped for a warmer reception to local innovation. It’s a challenge when people want to see results before committing, but we’re confident in the magic of what we’ve created, and we remain persistent… there’s always someone out there looking for innovation and that is helping us to break through some of the early resistance. Being a strong advocate for the ‘measure and improve’ approach has been crucial in overcoming early-stage hurdles. This strategy has helped us build a more robust ecosystem capable of servicing multiple verticals and, fundamentally, reducing friction.

Leaders Perception magazine would like to thank NORBERT HERRMANN and “LIIVELY” for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

Interested in connecting with the host of this interview series? Feel free to reach out to Jesse Samberg on LinkedIn: Jesse Samberg’s LinkedIn Profile

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