Emdad Hossain


'I bend the elements of art, philosophy, and connection to create legacy experiences.'

Emdad Hossain

My Backstory

Where were you born?

I grew up in Essen, the industrial heart of Germany, where people are known for being hard workers, straight shooters, down to earth, and easy to grab a beer with. My parents taught me the value of dreaming big and working hard. My mother founded a successful biomedical startup in the 1990s, growing it for 15 years before selling to a large firm. She taught me about perseverance, breaking through barriers, and doing simple things better than overconfident incumbents. My father started as a car mechanic before founding his own dealership in the 1970s. He saw success come and go with industry changes, but his amazing relationship skills allowed him to relate to anyone.

Starting at age 8, my parents had me help out on a small farm, which helped me appreciate physical labor. In my teens, I worked admin roles at my mom's startup, learning efficiency and attention to detail. At 16, I took a monotonous job besides high school at a bank’s account statement printing department that taught me patience - which is valuable as an early-stage investor. I studied energy management and finance, doing my undergrad in Germany before a Master's at Purdue and Tsinghua.

After university, I started in corporate finance and M&A, focusing on renewable energy deals. I then joined a large utility amid industry transformation during and after Fukushima. My role changed to business development in batteries, grid storage, and distributed energy. I also supported early tech investments at the intersection of energy and power retail tech. Later, I helped a global engineering firm leverage its vast hardware expertise to partner with early-stage hard tech founders - right before embarking on my own journey as a founder (unsuccessfully).

Where were you born, where were you raised?

I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany by my Bengali parents who immigrated to Germany in 1988. Apart from half a year in Nagoya, Japan I lived my entire life in Berlin and know this city like my own backyard.

What is the area you are from famous for?

Berlin is famous for its historic events like the The Berlin Wall during the Cold War, the birth place of the infamous döner kebab or its beautiful landmarks like the Brandenburger Gate, the Berlin TV Tower, East Side Gallery or the parliament. It is also known for one of the few cities that never sleep. Nightlife in Berlin is very bustling.

What did/do your parents do?

My father works in a hotel in the kitchen and worked at different hotels and restaurants before. My mother stayed at home and took care of the house and their children.

Any siblings when you grew up?

I do have two siblings, both younger than me. A brother and a sister, 24 and 20 years old respectively. We keep a special tight bond since we all grew up closely together. As the oldest brother, and one of the oldest child among many other Bengali children, I developed a sense of responsibility and embraced the role of the older brother not only for my siblings but also others whom I consider close to me.

What are the two things (outside of school) that you spent the most time on when you were a kid or teenager?

Meeting friends in my backyard or somewhere to hang out and spend time together. If not that I would write or draw anything that came to my mind. We would always play either sports or games that would involve physical activities like football, American football, basketball, volleyball, hide & seek and so much more!

What are you missing from your younger years?

I miss my younger years, the massive pool of energy and stamina, my flexibility and positive attitude. I see it often in people younger than me, people who still attend school. I envy them for their youth, their carefree behavior and I can’t help but to feel happy for them.But honestly, it’s also the ability to meet people I feel really close with that makes me smile and emotional. Reminiscing about the past, the stuff we did that we wouldn’t be able to do so right now.

Did you have a side job during school?

I worked as a service rep in various operas and concert halls. I was always interested in Classical Music, Art, Philosophy, Beauty and Truth, but what really I learned from that job was respect and manners. Discipline and coordination. A keen eye for aesthetics and a little obsession for perfection, which in many cases turns out to be more of a curse than a blessing. Combine all of that and everything will work out perfectly in most situations in life.

What did you study, and where?

I’m studying Japanology at the Free University of Berlin. Due to the 2019 pandemic my studies got all over the place, which is also why I had to postpone my semester studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan where I made very close friends who are now spread across the world.

Summarize your work after university and before Foundamental.

Before Foundamental I mostly worked in the service sector in which I learned how to interact and behave with customers and the everyday people. I’m also co-hosting my own manga podcast where I learned that working together is a must if you wish for your business to be successful! In teamwork, communication and trust is key.

What is your story of getting into Foundamental?

A colleague in Foundamental, Ed, is a years long friend of mine and naturally we talk a lot about our lives and give each other updates on it. When I started my own podcast, he also mentioned Foundamental’s Practical Nerds podcast, for which i was interested immediately, as it would offer me insights in an already established podcast program and learn from a totally different topic and offer my wisdom to Foundamental.

I Am On The Lookout For

Describe what 'partnership' means to you.

Partnership to me means a mutual relationship between two parties, in my personal experience often made through mutual trust and build by working together and advancing forward.

What are you chasing in your life?

Simply: Happiness. My happiness lies in a life where I can get satisfaction through doing what I love and be surrounded my the people that I like. I want to make a name of me that will last for a very long time, not a name that will be forgotten and die after two or three generations. For that I want to utilize my talents, which lie in acting, moderating or hosting, doing arts and anything that follows the principles of truth, art, philosophy, beauty and compassion.

What intrigues you? As in, you see or hear something like this, you stop whatever you currently do.

Nowadays, I’m intrigued by new technology and modern gadgets like right now for example glasses with in-build computers or the newest headphones with the best noice-cancelling. In this age, where technology advances in a rapid speed, it’s exciting to follow stuff on this topic and think about how can what technology benefit me and make my life easier.

What is your secret ninja-skill?

I wouldn’t say it’s a ninja skill but I’m good, really good in making friends wherever I go. To a point where I consider it already almost as a curse. I would say I know people, in the sense of I can take a guess how their personality might be and depending on that value for myself whether that person fits to what circle. For example the close friends circle, study circle, work circle etc. and help that person better when in need for advice for example.

In what ways do you feel inferior to some people you look up to?

More than often I wish I had the same confidence as others might have. Not that I’m not, but I’d like to believe more in myself than I already do. Apart from that, I cannot say I have an outstanding feat or talent for which I could be envied for. As far as my peers and friends say, I’m easy to approach, fun to talk with and have a charismatic trait to a level that keeps people around me at ease.

If you were a super-hero, what would be your super-hero name?

I think I wouldn’t come up with a name myself. I would do things that my super-hero version of myself would do and the public would give me a name through my actions. I like to think if I were to be a super-hero, I would have bending abilities as super powers. Bending the elements that is. So instead of thinking of a super-hero name, my own name, Emdad, would become synonymous with being a super hero. So by bending the four elements, I would get the title 'Avatar' Emdad.

What is one person in the world you would like to have dinner with?

Nishino Nanase. A japanese actress and model. Her creative work is really inspiring to me and I would like to know where she gets her inspiration from.

What can you nerd out over for hours with the right discussion partner?

World history, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Roman Empire, the universe and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

When someone who knows you in your business life very well were to describe you, what adjectives would they use for you?

Confident, approachable, charismatic, dominant.

Is there something you would never mind spending a lot of money on ?

Well obviously, anything that has to do with my health I don’t mind spending a fortune on me. Apart from that, big trips to Japan or to meet friends outside of Berlin.

Selected Partnerships