Primary Role
CEO at itravel

Person Details


Axel Schmiegelow is a serial entrepreneur from Europe focused on the web, social media, and software.

Schmiegelow currently serves as the CEO of itravel, an experience-based online and mobile tour operator that offers leisure travelers a platform to customize trips, including hotel, experiences, and transportation, and allows users to find trips based on activities & experiences ("moments").

Axel was the first co-founding angel investor of the European subsidiary of Yelp, the world's leading review and comparison service.

From 2006 until shifting his focus to itravel in 2013, Axel was also the CEO of curtis newton (formerly dw capital), Germany's first incubator for digital innovation, which helped launch Qype (now Yelp), sevenload (now part of Burda), webtravel (now part of leading travel tech software Da Vinci), mobileview (now part of D+S), armedangels (leading brand for social fashion), and others.

Schmiegelow has more than 15 years of experience as a serial entrepreneur, and is considered an expert in marketing, social media and entrepreneurship. He is a regular keynote speaker at leading industry events, including CEBIT, LeWeb, Web 2.0, DLD, next, Supernova, and SIME.

Prior to itravel, Schmiegelow was co-founder and CEO of sevenload, a platform for licensed online video content operating in most European countries, the U.S., Turkey, and Russia. After his role as CEO, Axel was one of three Board members at the company until it was fully integrated as a vertical video channel operator within Burda.

Having studied law with majors in Business and Copyright Law at the Sorbonne and Cologne Universities, Schmiegelow established at sevenload in 2006, the revenure share licensing model that today is the standard in premium online video. Under his leadership, sevenload also established an advertising model that secured net CPMs higher than on traditional TV. As Chairman of the Social Media Group within Germany's IAB equivalent, Schmiegelow helped broker with the leading TV broadcasters and establish a new advertising metric for online video in the German advertising industry's online advertising association, the AGOF. Similarly, under Schmiegelow's guidance, sevenload played a significant role in the EU antitrust efforts of the major online video industry players to prevent the creation of a joint platform of the two major German private TV broadcasters.

As the Chairman of the IPTV Division of the Tech industry association Bitkom, Schmiegelow spearheaded efforts to negotiate a viable revenue share licensing model from European copyright agencies. Schmiegelow is also a member of the Broadcasting Council of WDR Group, Germany's public TV.

In 2000, Schmiegelow completed an executive entrepeneurship program at MIT, a shareholder in DW Group.

In 1999, Schmiegelow, his brother, Erik, and Felix Hildebrand founded the world's first social bookmarking and tagging start-up, oneview, which he rolled out in 16 countries and 10 languages. It was based in San Francisco and integrated in Lycos and AltaVista. Its IPO was scheduled for late fall in 2000, but was called off in the .com crash.

After the accidental death of Felix in late 2000 and the meltdown of online advertising markets, Alex and Erik refocused oneview on a B2B offering, integrated it into Denkwerk Group, and by 2005, grew Denkwerk into the largest independent interactive agency group in Europe, with clients such as Nokia, Thomas Cook, and BMW. He withdrew from his operational role to concentrate on angel investments in 2005 and co-found sevenload in early 2006. Schmiegelow has exited the agency business in an equity-backed MBO but remains a minority shareholder.

Schmiegelow studied law with an emphasis on Business and International Law at Sorbonne (Paris) and the University of Cologne. During his studies, he was awarded a scholarship from the elite German Scholarship Foundation.

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