Robert Jacobi

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Nunatak supports “Managers Without Borders”

Nunatak supports “Managers Without Borders”

Aspiring start­-ups and entrepreneurs are not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Africa. Nonetheless, there is an economic system of mid­-sized companies and small­-scale enterprises in developing countries as well. It is precisely these that benefit from the assistance of “Managers Without Borders” Foundation from Stuttgart, Germany. The charity already fosters more than 150 projects in 40 countries on all continents.

Africa is only one of many continents, where "Managers Without Borders" is supporting small­-scale enterprises. The foundation is active in more than 40 countries.
Africa is only one of many continents, where “Managers Without Borders” is supporting small­-scale enterprises. The foundation is active in more than 40 countries.

Their work ranges somewhere between development assistance and economic promotion: an on­-site know-how transfer among managers and local entrepreneurs. While traditional aid often exclusively focused on financial support and hence generated dependencies in the past, the foundation’s efforts center upon capacity building instead. It is their aim to advance promising on­-site projects and to strengthen economically independent small to mid­-sized businesses through knowledge transfer. The projects come from areas such as trade, manufacturing or advanced training, joined by social services providers, initiatives helping in setting up businesses, as well as agriculture and forestry.

More companies to profit from assistance in the future

The Nunatak Group is excited to have strategically partnered up with the foundation for some months now. “Our goal is to assist ‘Managers without Borders’ in expanding their range, for one, in terms of additional countries and, otherwise, adding more businesses in each country”, said Nunatak’s Managing Director Robert Jacobi.

A workshop with "Managers without Borders" in our office.
A workshop with “Managers without Borders” in our office.

What could such a the future cooperation look like? “Managers Without Borders” is already actively supporting over ten projects in Uganda’s capital Kampala. However, due to selective consulting only a few companies benefited from their managers’ advice in the past. “We are helping the charity to build so called ‘business hubs’ that act as permanent branches in the respective countries”, explained Jacobi.

Close collaboration with start­-ups and universities in Uganda

These ‘hubs’ can simultaneously support several businesses and start­-ups, and thus aid a holistic and lasting fight against poverty. For their realization, an exact analysis of local conditions, permanent on­site partners, and crowdfunding concepts are necessary. Furthermore, it is essential to keep in close contact with universities, seeing as most start­-ups are founded there. From the very beginning these institutions of higher education must be empowered by the managers’ entrepreneurial knowledge. “Especially Nunatak’s digital know-how will be highly valuable in the scale of digital business models in Uganda”, stresses Jacobi.

Strengthen economically independent small to mid­sized businesses through knowledge transfer – that's the aim of "Managers Without Borders", here on a project in Uganda.
Strengthen economically independent small to mid­sized businesses through knowledge transfer – that’s the aim of “Managers Without Borders”, here on a project in Uganda.
InsurTech 2.0: Insights from our Nunatak Afterwork

InsurTech 2.0: Insights from our Nunatak Afterwork

It was the premiere of our exclusive event series: In a very relaxed atmosphere, our two managing directors Robert Jacobi and Rupert Schäfer opened the first Nunatak afterwork event. The hot topic of the evening: “InsurTech 2.0: Battle or cooperation?”. Around 40 guests from established insurance companies, start-ups and consultancies participated in the open discussion at the Nunatak office close to the “Siegestor” in Munich.

Rupert Schäfer emphasized the new role of InsurTechs in interaction with global players of the insurance industry: “Regarding the distribution and digitalization of existing business models, the first wave of InsurTechs started with high expectations. So far they didn’t get fulfilled, but they had a huge impact on the established insurers’ willingness to change.“ As an reaction to new actors, insurers are investing more and more in start-ups and founding their own innovation labs. But not everyone is successful: “It’s still hard for many established insurers to anchor new mindsets and workflows in their organisation.”

The real danger are tech titans like Amazon and Google

Meanwhile, many companies realised that InsurTechs aren’t the real danger in the competition for insurance customers of the future. Quite the contrary is actually the case: With strategic partnerships and common initiatives InsurTechs and established insurers can even complement each other. Thus, investments and M&A activities are increasing, too.

The Nunatak Afterwork in our Munich office
Nunatak Afterwork in our office with Rupert Schäfer (2nd from right)

The big unknown are “tech titans” like Amazon and Google. “Regarding to insurances and the digital interface with the customers, their future strategies are still not clear”, Schäfer said. “Among all the current threats – that’s what German CEOs have sleepless nights about.” And according to our Nunatak Update Paper “InsurTech 2.0”  they should be afraid: Already 30 percent of the people all over the globe would rather take out an insurance at one of the tech titans than at an established insurance company.

Why the disruption is a big chance for the insurance industry

The challenges of the digitalization were the main topic of the following panel discussion with industry experts like Stefan Daehne (ADAC Versicherung), Hermann-Josef Knipper (R&V), Klaus Driever (Allianz Deutschland), Frank Birzle and Maximilian Rast (ottonova), Simon Kolkmann (RYSKEX) and Matthias Mierisch (Speedinvest).

One important finding was that trust is a huge asset of big and established insurance companies with partly decade-long experience as well as brand presence. The new players couldn’t build up that level of trust yet – and it will get even harder for them in an increasing digital world with briefly, virtual touch points.

The participants also agreed on the assumption, that the unavailable disruption in the insurance industry is not only a threat, but also a chance: The industry is heading towards a co-existence of established and new actors – provided that the classical insurers administer to the change process. It’s short-sighted to hide behind the regulating lawmakers.

Rupert Schäfer’s conclusion: “Evenings like this and our talks with insurers and investors show that the digitalization of the industry is not fully developed and customer-orientated implemented yet. With other words: The game has just begun.”

The next Nunatak Afterwork is already in the planning. Details are coming soon.



Israel is THE startup country per se. Approximately 1000 companies in the tech and online sector are founded every year and only a small, but notably relevant part of it is present this week at the DLD Conference in Tel Aviv – a mixture of conference, festival and urban happening. In addition, the usual suspects such as Google and Amazon are present, who will be using their own space in the “Old Train Station” location to convey the cloud topic.

Representatives of large corporations from all over the world are sweating during panel discussions at temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius amongst the slightly overstrained ventilators. Artificial intelligence, the future of mobility and finance, educational technology (EdTech) and cybersecurity are the essential topics this year. The digital story of Tel Aviv is also featured as one of the most innovative cities in the world.

Here are some impressions of Nunatak managing director, Robert Jacobi. Interestingly enough the DLD Munich conference has played a crucial part of the Nunatak story: The two managing directors Robert Jacobi and Rupert Schäfer, then a DLD producer at Hubert Burda Media, met for the first time there back in 2007.

VZB Fireside Chat with Robert Jacobi: Grasp Blockchain in 15 Minutes

VZB Fireside Chat with Robert Jacobi: Grasp Blockchain in 15 Minutes

Sometimes it just helps to talk faster – up the speech tempo from Allegro to Presto at a short notice, especially when a highly complex, multi-facetted topic demands clarification in only 15 minutes. Do it in a way where even non-experts understand what it is all about and reach a real “aha” moment.

At the recent VZB Fireside Chat, our Managing Director, Robert Jacobi was asked to do exactly that. The name Fireside Chat is a bit misleading: no flickering flames were needed on this sunny summer day. The attendees were instead lured to the rooftop terrace of the Donner & Reuschel bank building to enjoy a fantastic view of Munich’s skyline – the ideal backdrop for our co-founder to accept this 15 minute challenge.

In an entertaining tour d’horizon, Robert Jacobi gave the attendees, most of whom are managers of Bavarian publishing houses, a practical insight into one of the most discussed technology topics today: blockchain, with an emphasis on its uses in the media industry. He underlined the fact that the technology is no longer an idea for the distant future, but rather an already determining factor in many companies’ plans across various industries… at least internationally.

A marketplace such as Civil for example could fundamentally change the rules of the game in journalism because blockchain offers new, direct compensation models for high quality journalistic content – just outside the traditional publishing structures. The platform Adchain already enables the purchasing, tracking and billing of ad impressions via a blockchain ledger. In this instance blockchain prevents ad fraud and ensures transparency to the performance contribution of all intermediaries. The NYIAX ad trading marketplace works in a similar sense and provides the same benefits.

Don’t be fooled, blockchain can do much more than legally transacting secure and transparent contracts. It has the potential to take digital advertising to a whole new level. In the future, the Basic Attention Token could play a key role. It monetarily rewards users for their attention with BAT tokens, in return, the technology enables a group-specific approach targeting… A win-win situation, and thus, an ideal starting point for a rapid breakthrough of blockchain technology in this segment.