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Burgenland – Big Apple –
Bembel Town: The Valdivia Story, or, What a Difference a 100-EUR Bank Note Can Make

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From the Skiing Slope to the Deep Sea

It all start­ed with a skiing slope: Right there, where an English entre­pre­neur was taking skiing lessons in Austria, is where the histo­ry of Valdivia begins.

Like so many success stories, it was coin­ci­dence that start­ed every­thing… And today, Valdivia is cele­brat­ing its anniver­sary. It was exact­ly a year ago when we start­ed our busi­ness as an exec­u­tive search consul­tan­cy in Frankfurt/Main – with the name of the first German deep sea expe­di­tion boat as a trade mark. And just like the deep sea explor­ers of the 1898 Valdivia expe­di­tion, we were prepared to go deep­er for our goals – with courage and curios­i­ty. Excit­ed to find out what we would accom­plish. Very soon it turned out to be an extreme­ly promis­ing journey.

The Number on the 100-EUR Bank Note

But back to the first chap­ter of our (his)story: born to a skiing instruc­tor from Austri­an Burgen­land, Daniel Bauer set off to explore the world at the turn of the millen­ni­um. It was Amer­i­ca and the Amer­i­can Dream, the Land of Oppor­tu­ni­ties, that he set out to discov­er at the begin­ning of the 2000s. But what can you do when the author­i­ties will not issue a Green Card for you? This ques­tion was on Mr Bauer Senior’s mind when teach­ing skiing in the Alpes to tourists from coun­tries near or far. What would be his son’s next stop? Quite unex­pect­ed­ly, it was a British skiing tourist that provid­ed the solu­tion — in the course of a conver­sa­tion, he mentioned that he a was the owner of an inter­na­tion­al consul­tan­cy resid­ing in London. He told Mr Bauer Senior to make his son come by some time. With this and at the end of an instruc­tive and intense skiing week, he hand­ed Mr Bauer Senior a 100-EUR bank note as a tip – and a very special bank note, too. For the Briton had noted his private, very confi­den­tial tele­phone number and email address on it.

 London and Berlin – From Capi­tal to Capital

Daniel Bauer called. Soon after, he was invit­ed for a first tele­phone inter­view, as was common at that time, they talked on the land­line (Zoom confer­enc­ing was SciFi – we are in 2006). The conver­sa­tion last­ed not even 15 minutes. The two hit it off right away and with­out making a lot of words. So it was a deal: This young man would get the job. Was it mere coin­ci­dence that both the owner of the consul­tan­cy and Daniel Bauer have a teacher fami­ly back­ground? Wasn’t Mr Bauer with his degree in Civil Engi­neer­ing just the person for a consul­tan­cy focussing on the real estate sector? Would he be fit for the tough nego­ti­at­ing floors of London? … He was – and so the owner’s intu­ition proved to be s good as gold. Yet, who would have thought that the  21-year-old would so easi­ly live up to his new role and be accept­ed so read­i­ly by his London colleagues? His idio­syn­crat­ic, some­times adven­tur­ous dress style was coined ’Austri­an Mafia’ by them. It brought about the best of British team spir­it and so they went to dress him prop­er­ly in famous Savile Row, where Senior Manage­ment person­al­ly made sure his new style would be busi­ness-appro­pri­ate. In the coming years, his career in London set off quick­ly – and that in real estate recruit­ing out of all recruit­ing busi­ness, an extra­or­di­nar­i­ly compet­i­tive sector. It was his deeply-root­ed urge for success and his never-give-up mental­i­ty that made all this possi­ble. And the jour­ney contin­ued: next stop Berlin, where he estab­lished the first German branch – and the name of employ­ee no. 1 was: Daniel Bauer.

From the Deep: Up to Top

Even when he reached the top, Daniel Bauer want­ed to move even further up. He strived for the new, for improve­ment and perfec­tion, he devel­oped ideas – in short, he did not want to settle for what he had achieved. So his London surro­gate father Adam Walk­er and Daniel Bauer togeth­er nurtured the vision of some­thing hith­er­to unknown: What if you sepa­rat­ed exec­u­tive recruit­ment from HR consult­ing and trans­ferred it into an inde­pen­dent enter­prise, acting sole­ly for its own purpose? For there was a genuine niche: a special­iz­ing, exclu­sive and fully-focused exec­u­tive search consul­tan­cy for the real estate industry!

That spir­it never rest­ed; through­out the years, the idea was taking shape, and, like pioneers, they embarked on the jour­ney. In many a sleep­less night and with a couple of good drinks, the idea of a consul­tan­cy that would break new ground in Germany was born: Exec­u­tive Search with all the depth was the idea – ratio­nal, trans­par­ent, and rest­ing on profound exper­tise in the sector. The founders would much rather fully explore one sector – construc­tion, real estate, and the finan­cial sector to go with it – than get lost in innu­mer­able unspe­cif­ic options.

Valdivia Is Setting Sail

So the deep sea became a model and a symbol – and further paral­lels began to show soon. When estab­lish­ing the enter­prise in Frankfurt/Main, the founders came across deep sea researcher Carl Chun. The zool­o­gist was born in Höchst, today a part of Frank­furt, in 1852 and he was the entre­pre­neur­ial type: As early as in 1880, he had made himself a name – not only with explo­rations on deep sea crea­tures in the Mediter­ranean Sea, but also with his inven­tion of verti­cal fish­ing nets, specif­i­cal­ly designed to capture organ­isms at a certain sea level.

’Valdivia’ was the name of the boat with which he took to the seas after exten­sive prepa­ra­tions in July 1898. Our found­ing part­ners liked the mean­ing and the sound of this name very well. So in 2020 – in the turmoil of the pandem­ic – a new Valdivia would embark on a great jour­ney – with the same courage and deter­mi­na­tion that those pioneers of the deep sea had when Carl Chun depart­ed on his mission, in the end making it a success that is alive even in our day and time.

Full Steam Ahead to the Second Year

Just like our idol did 124 years ago, we are delib­er­ate­ly moving off the trod­den path. Our in-depth exper­tise in the construc­tion and real estate sector, the struc­tured search process, and our high-end data base navi­gat­ed us through our first year – for the good of both our enter­prise and our clients. We will contin­ue on this course. Ener­get­i­cal­ly und with enthu­si­asm for our indus­try, we are now look­ing ahead with great expec­ta­tions as to where our jour­ney will take us in the coming year. Chap­ter II of our story will follow short­ly. Stay tuned.