Stephan Noller

Deep Tech Serial Entrepreneur, Advisor, Author, Maker and Thinker. Love to make and build things. Climate change is our biggest challenge.


I like classical music, especially baroque. I could listen to Bach for hours. But also to Billie Eilish... I love the Opera. Good food, sewing & soldering, dancing. My kids, my wife, family. I believe in democracy and in the hard work that it means to keep it alive. I find it important that everyone can find a safe and comforting place in this world. I love nature and believe it is in big danger because of climate change and other effects that we as humans are causing. I believe in entrepreneurial power to drive some of the change that we need, but not only. Big changes in a democracy have to be driven by parliaments and through law-making. I have some passion for digital as you can see below but also growing doubts.


I have built technology that has reached millions of people several times, Audience-Measurement for the german speaking Online-Markets, European Targeting Champion, Covid Vaccination Pass for the german government. And with Calliope mini an educational piece of technology ("the german MicroBit") that is used in thousands of classrooms all around the world.

UBIRCH> is offering a platform that helps companies to collect & share their ESG/CSRD climate data

Calliope aims to bring the fun of computing to every 3rd grade kid in german schools. I actually soldered the first two versions of the board by myself. The final version was presented to german chancellor Merkel at the annual IT-Summit in November 2016. Rollout started directly after the event. Article on Hackaday. Calliope mini is now used in thousands of schools all over Germany, but also in many other countries around the world. And it has made it into space! I founded, a Berlin based startup which is now one of the biggest pan-european targeting platforms and market leader in most european markets. The idea of the company was to reinvent the way ads can be delivered by applying a combination of machine learning and market research (watch this little video to understand the approach). Many european publishers were using the technology to deliver their ads more precisely. After five years the company was profitable and sold to Deutsche Post/DHL.

Data-Days: At i founded (together with my team) a bi-annual conference called "Data-Days". The aim of the conference is to look at the data-driven world from a slightly different perspective - not only business-models, but also aspects like privacy, society, philosophy etc. are covered. The first edition took place in Berlin in 2012 and was a huge success with more than 200 people attending and speakers from all over the world sharing their thoughts. DataDays 2014 took place at October 1st and 2nd in Berlin and demonstrated the need for a broader perspective on the tricky issue of a data driven future once more (first reviews can be found here and here, a full coverage on the datadays youtube-channel will follow soon).

TNS/AGOF: As i sold 'my part' (which was personalization technology) at humanIT to TNS (market research, now owned by WPP) i was employed by them to run it.
At TNS i developed a new way to do web-measurement on the internet with a combination of classical research and new machine learning techniques (german article with some details). This got accepted by the german market and is used as the standard to measure audiences since 2005 - after introduction of the new currency the digital market spendings took over growth leadership compared to all other media for many years. The austrian market adopted a similar method later and a slightly modified version of the approach is being used in the swiss market as well.

humanIT: The first company where i was employed was a spin-off of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft called "humanIT" that went bankrupt in 2000. I was one of the three employees that were kept to restructure the company and sell it. After 12 months of hard work we were able to sell all assets to two different companies and create a good return for the shareholders. This teached me a lot - how hard it is to go bankrupt and how you can turnaround nevertheless and make the best out of it.


I love to build up and run companies and to establish a certain culture. By doing that i am trying to overcome old-fashioned ideas of management (command & control, micro-management etc.) and develop new ways of leveraging the power of innovation and team-building. I think the strengths of innovative companies are lying in the power of the whole team, therefore the main thing management has to achieve is to leverage this and maintain it when the company is growing. I also believe that we are looking into a future where work is going to be redefined and ideas like 9-to-5, office-presence, goal-management etc. will cease to exist. Together with my colleagues we for example got rid of all kind of individual bonus-structures in our company (now my previous company) because it is proven to be counterproductive and simply is based on a stupid idea of steering people into certain directions instead of trusting them. We also got rid of HR trying to figure out what training people should take and monitor their progress etc. - instead we gave the money to the people directly and let them make their own choices where to spend it and what to improve.

I have a strong believe in gender equality and diversity. Because we are so far away from having gender equality in most industries today - sadly also in the digital industry, i do believe in the need of a forcing mechanism to get there quicker, knowing that it is hard to implement, if the regulator does not do it (article in german on the subject). But i wouldn't wait for the regulator to solve the problem - we have to work on spaces which are friendly and comfortable for both genders and that value diversity as the normal (knowing, that this is nevertheless not the case).

I grew up in the digital industry and am lovin it. I think the digitalisation will reshape our world and many industries almost completely in the near future and we have the best chance to shape and drive this development now (including the massive risks for our society).

Because i believe that shaping this in a responsible way is so important i joined the editors-team at the DiDaT project as a co-chair. DiDaT is a fascinating trans-disciplinary project that aims at identifiying unintended risks that come along with digitalisation of certain sectors - find more info and an excellent white-book here.

For the rest of my career i have decided to dedicate all my energy towards fighting climate change, because i think it is one of the most important problems we as humans are facing right now. I also have a strong believe in entrepeneurship but also political action. Therefore i am very happy about the current ESG/CSRD focus of my main company.


I do care about politics a lot. And i am working on it from very different angels. From 2009 to 2011 i was chairman of the policy committee at IAB Europe - representing the european digital industry in front of the european commission and negotiating principles of an efficient self-regulatory regime for online behavioral advertising in the EU. I am a founding member of D64, a german think-tank/association that tries to deal with all policy issues that arise from the digitalisation of our society. From 2013 to 2019 i was part of the Advisory Board "junge digitale Wirtschaft" at the federal minstry of economics and energy and from 2013-2014 also for the state council of Rheinland Palatine (Landesrat fuer digitale Entwicklung und Kultur) in terms of digital devlopment and entrepeneurship. From 2017 to 2019 i served as vice president at the german association for the digital industry, bvdw.

One of my favorite political topics is in the field of algorithms and how they affect our society. I believe that we need an 'algorithm ethics' (in german) for programmers and companies that apply algorithms for filtering the content they deliver to users, regardless whether it is content, advertising, products or personal updates in a timeline.

The other initiative that requires a lot of attention is the idea of a digital curriculum in german schools. There is no doubt that our schools are not preparing students enough for the digital age at the moment. I want to be part of a movement that tries to change this, therefore its one of the key demands we put on paper for the Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel in the advisory board of his ministry. But i am also personally working on teaching materials to start with education in electronics and programming as early as possible (some examples on my german blog, but also here in english).
Over the past 2 years i focussed more and more on the climate crisis because i believe it is the biggest challenge for our planet and requires all the power of political decision- and law-making. I am a bit excited by the extent that governments all over the world have started to tackle this, especially with regulations towards climate footprint reporting and the such.
My company is listed in the german transparency-register for lobbying activities and i actually like it.

Maker & Blogger

I am absolutely amazed by the maker movement and would call myself a maker as well. You can have a look at my projects here: or look at my first talk as a maker at re:publica 2014 in Berlin (in german, sorry). Of course making is fun - but i believe it is more than that. Making is about owning the technology that surrounds you. It's about getting from being the receiver to being the producer. It's about art & creativity. And it's for sure very powerful in connecting people. In a world of surveillance and algorithms a maker-movement can make people more powerful to stay in control and own their environment...
And i am surprised how much european technology made this possible - both the Raspberry Pi and the Arduino-Platform are european inventions - find a few more thoughts on this here.

You can find my german blog here and my english mainly focussed on making here.

My project MathSweeter has been accepted by MakerFaire Rome 2014, unfortunately i couldn't go.

We have finished our first IoT project "Finding Europe with Lights" which was part of re:publica 2015 in Berlin. You can find a nice making-of video here. And a cool "making of" article here.


I studied Psychology at the University of Cologne (now proud member of their alumni page here). I worked as an assistant for statistical analysis and methodology for Professor Norbert Groeben. He was a great teacher to me, both for respecting the data and working on an empirical foundation but in the same time trying to avoid a mechanistic approach to the world but applying the hermeneutical principles of understanding and interpretation to live and psychology. I loved how he managed to keep the idea of human autonomy in his psychological work while trying to embrace statistical methods and empirical science as much as possible.
I wrote my diploma thesis on "Mental Models and Hypertext Navigation" with supervision from Prof. Groeben and Prof. Kobsa, professor and researcher in the field of user modeling at GMD/Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, today Professor at University of California.


In English Language

In German Language

Articles and Publications (german and english)

I live in Cologne, Germany. You can reach me here