Meet Elina Tilipman, Head of Music for 88TC88
Interviewed by Marilda Qerimi, Country Manager Italy at eBay
The first think you notice when you meet Elina is her enthusiastic and positive spirit. She was born and raised in Germany as the daughter of Russian parents. When she was only 16, she decided to move out and experience life to find her own path. “My parents always supported me in every single decision I took,” she said. Highly passionate about music, she started telling the story of how she grew professionally in the music business over the last ten years. She began as a booking agent. Her boss was asked to leave, so she alone had to book bands for the next three years. “I had no experience, and during those years I learnt that if I wanted something I can make it happen and even with no experience I can make it work. It is all about the little steps you make in your life that keep you going. [They] keep giving you more experience and give you a new perspective on life.”
Where have you been living in the last 12 years?
I moved to the US for a year as an exchange student during high school. Afterwards I pretty much landed in Berlin, where I studied Event Management and Economics. Currently, I work as Head of Music for 88TC88, a content distributor startup whose main market focus is China. We bring content like music, games, apps and ebooks to China and work on legalizing the market in every possible way. So far we are a B2B business, distributing content to mobile carriers in China, but we are currently working on launching our own e-commerce platform, which will allow western artists to sell their music directly via our platform Paishou88.
I’m in charge of music licensing and I’m thrilled to work with different partners all over the world to ensure that the best content will be delivered through 88TC88 and to also give artists a chance to finally connect with a Chinese audience. Therefore I’m also working on partnership ideas with festivals, magazines, etc.
What’s your typical day like?
There is no such thing I think! I travel all the time. When I am in Berlin I sit in the office, read my emails and I get bored working on long contracts. (Just kidding!) But when I am traveling, I am always on the frontline, meeting people, making deals, networking (which is so important for our industry) and trying to convince potential partners that China is the next big market. My typical day is always different but it usually takes place on an airplane traveling somewhere! Last year I spent about eight months out of the country and this year it’s already four out of the last six months. I’m a nomad.
What do you think about the startup scene in Berlin?
The fact that I have been travelling so much helped me a lot in building a solid network and connections in different parts of the world, including startup hubs like Silicon Valley, LA and Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, I still haven’t exploited the Berlin startup scene so much. It’s only now that I’ve started working in the tech scene here in Berlin - thanks to the founders of 88TC88 who offered my this great opportunity - and I am loving it!
That’s the reason why I like the Berlin Geekettes. I hope to get connected more if I have the time. I didn’t choose to be in tech, I was chosen by the tech scene and I don´t regret any single day working in it.
Besides that I love traveling, because I feel this is the best way to grow and mature, both professionally and personally.
What’s your plan for the future?
I don’t have a plan. Every day has its own single goal. Living life and be happy is what is all about me. People change their lifestyle following trends, so I don´t know where I ‘m going to be in the future. I am enjoying everything and for me it’s always related to music. It is all about music, travelling and happiness!
Which is the coolest startup here in Berlin?
Of course the startup I am working for. How many startups do you know here in Berlin who deal with China as their main territory? ;-)
What’s the main difference between the Valley startup scene and the Berlin one?
I guess they [Silicon Valley] started earlier. Berlin is developing pretty fast though. I moved to Berlin when there was no startup or tech scene really. Favorable conditions like cheap rent and the ability to easily find international talent have helped a lot to give a push to the city’s positioning, making it attractive also as a business environment. Slowly money is coming here too. Now I’m a bit overwhelmed by the amount of startups Berlin has!
Is there a particular experience you would like to share with the other women in the community?
I am happy to see that there are more and more woman empowered and motivated to do something in this field. I think there is a big change to come for the tech scene overall. Women have a different network and approach things differently to men. It’s about staying motivated and spreading the word. We can do what we want to do and no one can really tell us “No, you can’t.”
And any advice?
No matter where you come from, always stick to your ideas and try - otherwise you’ll regret you haven’t tried. Always trust your gut. It always tells you the truth. This is something I have experienced a lot in the past. Believe in yourself. I think this is really important for women. Also, like Abraham Lincoln said, ‘The best way to predict your future is to create it.’
You can follow Elina Tilipman on twitter @eelisam