Lars Windhorst, the German “wunderkind” of the early nineties, was born in Rahden Germany on 22nd November, 1976. He dropped out of high school when he was 16, before graduating, and started trading in computer components. In October 1993, still a month shy of his seventeenth birthday, Windhorst established Windhorst Electronics together with Ming Rong Zhang, a businessman from China. The company assembled PCs and distributed these and other IT products in Germany and Europe, after importing the electronic components and computer parts from Asia. Within a year the company reached sales of US$ and had some 80 employees. This achievement gained Windhorst recognition as Germany’s youngest successful business person. When asked in an interview whether he was a computers or electronics freak, Lars answered “not at all”. What interested the young entrepreneur was the business – he saw the sector merely as a means to an end.
In 1995 Windhorst Hong Kong became part-time home as he setup Windhorst Asia Pacific Holdings, with offices in China (mainland) and Vietnam, and a business focus on electronics, finance and real estate. By 1997 the company had become multinational, with offices in several European cities as well as in Asia. Before his 20th birthday Lars Windhorst was one the youngest person ever nominated as a “Global Leader of tomorrow”. Just when it appeared it appeared the German wonder child could do no wrong, the winds of change began to blow in the world economy resulting in the crash of the internet market with its significant effect on stock markets around the world. Windhorst’s interests were not spared, and though he made a valiant effort to survive by changing the focus of his business to financial services, he was compelled to file for insolvency in 2004 for three of his companies: Windhorst Capital Holding GmbH, Windhorst Electronics GmbH and Windhorst AG. Windhorst himself managed to hold on until 2007 when he declared personal insolvency, resulting in a settlement by the Berlin-Charlottenburg trial court to agree to take a quota of 1.129%.
Demonstrating remarkable resistance, in 2004 Lars Windhorst was a partner in the establishment of the Sapinda investment group, and today is a Managing Partner of the group, also serving as CEO of Sapinda Deutschland Gmbh. The company manages public and private equity and global debt. Over the last half decade the investment group has handled investment transactions in excess of 3 billion Euro.
Lars Windhorst’s career has been stormy, with many ups and downs, including serious injury in an airplane crash. This dynamic young entrepreneur believes that he has weathered the worst, and hopes that if he is interviewed again a few years from now the facts and figures regarding his accomplishments will speak for themselves.