CEOs to know: Enervee's Matthias Kurwig

Since 2009, Enervee has helped consumers save money on home appliances and find great deals, but for CEO Matthias Kurwig, those seven years have taught him a lot about life.

Written by John Siegel
Published on Dec. 15, 2016
CEOs to know: Enervee's Matthias Kurwig

Crazy hours are the nature of working at any startup, but when serial entrepreneur Matthias Kurwig was starting Enervee in 2009, he wasn't able to work the 16 hours days he was used to. As Enervee was in its infancy as a business, Kurwig became a father for the first time.

During his seven years with the Santa Monica-based startup, Kurwig has learned much about startup life, from what it's like to be first-to-market to creating a work-life balance that allows him to be home for dinner each night. 

What's the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

The biggest challenge was missing a large IPO with a previous startup back in 2001 (the market tanked), and as a result having to lay off more than 100 employees over the course of the following year. These were fantastic people, deeply committed to the company's success. You want to cry — and I did — but eventually you realize that your own emotions have no place in a situation like that. You need to worry about the team members and their families losing their income, and then figuring out how you can keep as many on board as possible. It makes you look and think twice when hiring again.

What characteristics do you look for when you're interviewing someone?

Intelligence and empathy. We obviously check for relevant experience too, but I believe it is more important to have the skills needed to succeed with the things you don’t know. Being smart helps a whole lot, but only if you can engage with others. It’s all just a lot of fun working at a company with smart and caring peeps. In Enervee’s case, you also should really love the planet.

How have you grown personally and professionally since starting at Enervee?

I became a dad in 2009 — the year we started Enervee — and I have two daughters now. So my personal development for sure is getting real about life-work balance. I’ve been an entrepreneur since my early twenties and have always worked very crazy hours. Over the past few years, I learned how to make every one of them count so I can be home for dinner most nights.

From a tech standpoint, what trends are you focusing on in the new year?

Smart home stuff. Figuring out what is going at your home, what is using energy and recommending what you should change to help your wallet and the planet.

What advice do you give to aspiring tech professionals based on your professional history? 

Innovation doesn’t equal success. Innovation at the right moment in time does. Being first has great probability of commercial failure. If you want to be first, you better figure out how to pay the bills until the world is ready for you.

Who are you inspired by?

Oh, too many to list. At the top of that list is our current president: I am sure history will look at him as the most successful and impactful world leader — against the most incredible odds. I had the pleasure of meeting him and couldn’t believe how personable and caring he was. He also shares my passion for saving the planet, and doing it through digital channels.

Why do you love Los Angeles?

What’s not to love? Sun, beach, diversity, bike lanes, best food, art, music and Enervee.


Images via Enervee

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