Interview with Claudia Hillmeier, leAD Shareholder

Over the last months, we’ve been working to change the ratio in the sports and health tech industry. We understand the importance and benefits of having a diverse team, and we’ll continue to work towards this goal. With that said, it’s with great pleasure to welcome the incredible Claudia Hillmeier to our shareholder club. A highly successful serial entrepreneur, strategic investor, and international advisor for multiple companies, Claudia is a visionary with a kind but fearless approach to disrupting traditional industries.

Our CEO Christoph sat down with Claudia to talk about her journey as an entrepreneur, understand what drives her and what excites her about this market. You can find the full interview here.

Christoph Sonnen: Claudia, very excited about our chat! It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the leAD family. It would be great to start with a short introduction.

Claudia Hillmeier: Thanks, Christoph! This is very exciting. I was born and raised in beautiful Bavaria, Germany, right outside of Munich. Very early on, I realized that I was destined to become an entrepreneur. I always looked for business opportunities, even during my high school years, and always with a purpose. My brother was a race driver but he wasn’t on a level where he would get major sponsors. I was always trying hard to support him financially even though he was much older than me. Because of that, I’ve learned the whole business and money aspect of life very early on. I had a very interesting life growing up between lakes, mountains, and race tracks. Living in a men’s world most of my life. 

CS: Is that where your passion for sports comes from?

CH: Yes, our family is very athletic and I think that’s where my passion for leAD is originated. I love everything related to sports. Athletes just have a different set of values than most people. They are more driven, more disciplined, more focused. And I love it. Being surrounded by athletes is a very positive experience and a beautiful incentive to thrive. 

CS: What’s the main advice you would give to entrepreneurs?

CH: If you want to sustain your enthusiasm, you need to have a bigger purpose. It doesn’t matter what your purpose is as long as you are clear on what it is. To work that hard and put all your energy and money into your startup, you need to have a clear purpose. 

CS: We both know the entrepreneurial journey is long and not necessarily easy. What kept you motivated throughout the years?

CH: When you’re passionate about something, it should never feel like work. If you start your own company and it feels like a job, chances are that you will run out of steam. Lack of passion will probably be the biggest roadblock to make it to the top. But if you say: “I know what I’m building. I’m on a mission. I’m willing to do whatever it takes” you will feel very different about the hours you have to put in. You’ll have way more energy and inspiration to keep going.

CS: What do you think about mindfulness trends? How do you stay fit and healthy when you work a lot? Do you have any tips you would like to share?

CH: My best tip is to constantly educate yourself and start to understand how your body and your mind works. I believe in stillness and meditation. As much as I’m outgoing and never get tired – people often call me the energizer bunny – I love stillness and meditation as a balance. I need it to reset. But to move and exercise is equally important. I learned how to listen to my body and what to put in to get the most out of it. There are a lot of healthy things that are supposedly good for you but not necessarily good for you as an individual. That’s why I think it’s important to customize the healthcare and wellness approach. I learned what fuels and what drains me. I know how to get the best outcome and if I don’t, at least I have the knowledge why I wasn’t my best and I have the tools to change my outcome. 

CS: How did that influence your decision to join leAD?

CH: I wouldn’t be part of leAD if I didn’t see the huge potential in sports and health. I think it’s the future. As much as tech companies are more and more ruling the world, it is health, wellness, mindfulness, and sports that will be the biggest focus for everyone who wants to achieve and thrive. I think the more wealth is being distributed around the world, the more people will have the luxury to look after themselves. More time, more awareness of the body and mind. Realizing that the only vessel we have to create an amazing life is our body. Our mind and our body. What else would be a better investment in the future than making sure they both function well? It’s a huge industry with amazing potential, especially in combination with tech. It’s a no-brainer for me.

CS: Let’s talk about this shift of going from being a hardcore entrepreneur to being an investor. Before leAD, you have successfully invested in a club deal and leAD is a club deal. Do you like this type of co-investing? 

CH: I’m not a typical investor who puts money everywhere. I’m not even much into the stock market because it’s something that I cannot control nor do I know the players behind it. There is a lot of unknown and I am not comfortable with this aspect of investing. 

But when I invest in an amazing high-profile club like leAD, I have a lot of confidence and I am not worried about control. All the players – including yourself, the actual leAD team – are the kind of people I was talking about. Everyone at leAD has accomplished amazing things in their lives. I feel like everyone has a great social responsibility and we carry it out. If we just wanted to make money, there would be better options out there. leAD is allowing me to contribute, give back. 

IeAD has created a unique system in the startup world that is almost doomed to succeed. It covers everything from a business aspect and it also covers my need for passion, purpose, and professionalism. The way leAD supports its startups is all of that. Pure passion, pure purpose, and pure professionalism. I love when we can help businesses that are actually contributing to society, to the health of people, to everyone’s well-being. It’s the best of all worlds. 

Read the full interview here.