How to Find Good Startup Ideas and Avoid Stupid Ones
Written by: Estefania Fernandez Delgado


Christoph Räthke is one of the most popular startup mentors in Germany. His work as an Angel is based on many years of accelerating startups at Berlin Startup Academy, the boutique accelerator program he founded in 2012. In total, he has been a startup founder, investor, writer, speaker, and mentor for almost 20 years.

I met Christoph in 2014 when I was attending to his events with the Berlin Startup Academy in Berlin and in 2016, I was a regular attendee of his event “Christoph’s feedback” where you can pitch your idea and he gives you his feedback, according to his wide experience in this topic.

Most of startups fail within the first year after having invested a lot of resources and emotional energy in a project so… why not to know in advance (and deal with your own ego) that your idea is not going to make it? Fail fast to succeed fast!

After attending few events, I have recognized that many other regular attendees never pitched, they only wanted to get inspired and connect with other people and, that some ideas could be improved if we apply some business model innovation techniques. After one of his events, I have asked him: Is there any event where we can work on a business idea using innovation frameworks like Design Thinking? He said, you can do it! So, I did create this meetup that at the beginning was called Design Thinking Workshop for Entrepreneurs. The first event was on March 14th, 2016, and since them, it has developed and grown so much, but that is another story.

The case is that this meetup was special because this community would not have been created if it was not because of Christoph and it was about time to have him as a guest speaker.


When I asked him to participate in the meetup, we had to define the topic. It was obvious that it was going to be related to startup ideas. He has suggested the title “How to find good startup ideas and avoid stupid ones” which I thought it was great because it really shows Christoph’s straight forward style.

And the conclusions and tips for those with a startup idea in mind:

great - stupid


  • Ideas that belong to toxic industries where it is very difficult to be successful and that is better to avoid: music, arts, public education, health, and construction. Mainly because there are too many external factors that can lead you not to have control of the business or there are industries that are too conservative.
  • Sustainability might be a toxic industry too. There are only few companies that take a big market share, and it depends on external factors too.
  • If you can’t find your idea on Google, there is a 98% change that it would fail. Most probably someone tried before and failed for a reason.


  • Anything boring, repetitive but needed.
  • Anything that serves the unserved and anything that targets a very specific niche, and the niche it is even better if it is not even obvious.
  • Anything that will make your supporters rich.
  • If you work on ecology, translate it into an economic opportunity.
  • In a nutshell, anything that can be related to increase productivity, serve old age, manage resources, AI and automation and/or enables technology.


  • Anyone can be an entrepreneur, even if you do not have a specific degree in business.
  • There is a wrong conception about if you are passionate and work hard you can make it. Make sure first that your idea is solving a real problem.
  • B2C and e-commerce businesses have a high customer acquisition cost, so you should think about the option of starting something BSB too.
  • A great idea has also to fit with founders, expertise, personality, and lives
  • A stupid idea is following anything that looks fancy, but you do not have enough knowledge about it.
  • Prepare to see other people having more success in life than you, at least for the 2 first years of your startup.
  • Agencies and consultancies are not startups
  • Nobody cares about your idea so be open and not hide it.

Thus, we have a very informative meetup where Christoph shares his more than 20 years of experience in a less than one hour talk! I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did!


To give advice to as many people who want to explore potential business ideas in an entrepreneurial way as possible, Christoph is holding a meetup called “Christoph’s Feedback”.