Frank Thelen

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Frank Thelen
Hart aber fair - 2020-02-03-3732.jpg
Thelen in 2020
Born (1975-10-10) October 10, 1975 (age 45)
Bonn, Germany
OccupationInvestor, businessman, author
TelevisionHöhle der Löwen

Frank Thelen (born October 10, 1975) is a German businessman, investor and author based in Bonn, Germany.[1]

He was a co-founder of companies such as ip.labs and doo. As of 2014, he is the CEO of venture capital firm e42,[2][3] now Freigeist Capital,[4] which has invested in startups such as Wunderlist,[5] MyTaxi,[6] KaufDa, pitch,[7] Lilium GmbH and Hardt Hyperloop.

Thelen consults the Microsoft Ventures accelerator in Berlin,[8][9] and he also supports startups in German politics.[10] Together with the German State Minister for Digitization, Dorothee Bär, he is a leading member of the German Innovation Council.[11]

He is an advocate of the universal basic income (UBI).[12]


In 2012, Thelen spoke at the Founders Conference in New York and was given the "Innovate by Society" Award by Microsoft handed out by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that same year for his startup "doo".[13][14]

Thelen supports startups in German politics.[15]

In 2014 he joined the German version of the TV show "Dragons' Den" (Shark tank), called "Die Höhle der Löwen" as investor.[16]

He is also a regular guest in German talk show 'Hart aber fair'.[17]

In 2018 his autobiography "Frank Thelen - Die Autobiografie: Startup-DNA - Hinfallen, aufstehen, die Welt verändern" was published[18] and has been a bestseller for several weeks.[19] He is convinced that "The next decade will be the biggest challenge in humankind’s history."[20]

He claims that he is fighting for a strong European economy.[21]


  • Die Autobiografie: Startup-DNA – Hinfallen, aufstehen, die Welt verändern. Murmann Publishers. 2018. ISBN 3-86774-611-7.
  • Europa kann es besser: Wie unser Kontinent zu neuer Stärke findet. Ein Weckruf der Wirtschaft. Autorenbeitrag. Hg. Thomas Sigmund u. Sven Afhüppe. Herder, Freiburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-451-39360-0.
  • 10xDNA: Das Mindset der Zukunft. Frank Thelen Media, ISBN 978-3982176406.


  1. ^ Kleideiter, Wolfgang. "Gäste beim Charity-Abend in Spendenlaune - Titus Dittmann begeistert". Westfälische Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  2. ^ "German startup Doo rebuffed acquisition interest from Dropbox". April 3, 2014.
  3. ^ "Freigeist". Gründerszene.
  4. ^ "e42: Frank Thelens Beteiligungsfirma wird zu Freigeist Capital". August 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "15 steps to launch your own startup in Europe - Part 5". December 19, 2013. Archived from the original on December 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Weis, Christian. "Bonner Investor lag mit myTaxi goldrichtig".
  7. ^ "Frank Thelen". CB Insights.
  8. ^ "Microsoft Ventures partners with HTGF and Seedcamp – and eyes first deals in Berlin". VentureVillage. Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  9. ^ "Wie Microsoft aus Gründern erfolgreiche Unternehmer macht". Morgenpost.
  10. ^ "Live From Berlin — German Chancellor Angela Merkel Shines Spotlight On Tech Startups". TechCrunch.
  11. ^ "Innovation Council konstituiert sich im Bundeskanzleramt". Startseite (in German). Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  12. ^ Thelen, Frank. "Löwen-Investor Thelen: Das wahre Problem beim Grundeinkommen ist nicht das Geld". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  13. ^ "CEO Frank Thelen benennt e42 in Freigeist um". kress.
  14. ^ Bonn, General-Anzeiger (5 March 2013). "Bonner Software-Firma erhält Innovationspreis: Merkel zeichnet „doo" aus". General-Anzeiger Bonn (in German). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  15. ^ "Innovation Council konstituiert sich im Bundeskanzleramt". Startseite.
  16. ^ "Drop Ins im Skatepark: Höhle-der-Löwen Frank Thelen Interview „Ich komme halt echt von unten"". - Skateboard News, Videos und mehr. 18 February 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  17. ^ "Frank Thelen". (in German). 2018-12-07. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  18. ^ "Frank Thelen Startup-DNA". Murmann Publishers GmbH | Shop. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  19. ^ "buchreport". buchreport (in German). Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  20. ^ "On a mission: The man who would save Germany's future tech". Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  21. ^ "Investor and Entrepreneur Frank Thelen: It needs courage and constistency to build up European global players". (in German). Retrieved 2019-04-28.