Mike Hecker

Venture Partner

CEO of Eden Springs, founding team of Nespresso, Kusmi tea and BE WTR

How did you come up with the Nespresso store concept?

I was Nespresso’s first CMO and arrived at the company in 1988. The first Nespresso store was really our office, in Switzerland. We had customers coming by to pick up their orders and noticed that they often spent time chatting with us, drinking a coffee, or hearing about new innovations. We were providing an experience. Once we realized this and strived to be more intentional about it, it was an easy transition. We had a vision – we wanted to be innovative, high-end, and new entrants in a new category that had yet to be discovered. It was crucial for us to be in direct contact with the customers. The boutique was a way for us to listen to customers and provide them with a convenient and enjoyable experience, through a high-end DTC coffee brand.

What’s your go-to alcoholic drink?

That’s easy – I’m a big whiskey drinker! I particularly enjoy whiskeys over 15 year-old. And, just like my coffee and water, I drink it straight up. 

Do you tend to review startups through an optimistic, pessimistic, or realistic lens?

When I’m looking into startups I’m very much an optimist. Later on, when it comes time to review them for an investment, I try to be more challenging. I enjoy keeping an open mind when it comes to ideas and opportunities in categories that don’t yet exist – creativity and big-picture-thinking go a long way! But when it comes to KPI’s on business assumptions, I tend to be more of a realist.