Felix Dannich from Mainz was living in Berlin when he decided to found his own startup, Mynt. But where? In his hometown, of course. The recipient of the “startup innovativ 2023” award explains in an interview why this was one of the best decisions.

Paint the four walls of your own home with something petroleum-based and possibly hazardous to your health? It doesn’t have to be that way, Felix Dannich from Mainz thought to himself. In 2021, he and his business partner Mark Shif founded Mynt GmbH. It was a step literally marked with excellence – in 2023, the Mainz-based startup was one of the winners of the Rhineland-Palatinate funding program startup innovativ. In an interview, Dannich offers a glimpse into the story of the young company’s founding and talks about what has changed since their success at startup innovativ.


Mr. Dannich, in 2021 you founded Mynt GmbH, a startup that produces paints and varnishes for sustainable and healthy living and sells them through direct marketing. What was the process from the idea up to the founding?


The idea for Mynt was born when my co-founder Mark Shif and I both wanted to renovate our apartments. Even the buying and selecting of the right paint color at the store was inconvenient and not at all customer-friendly. We also noticed that most conventional paint products were bad for the environment. After taking a deep dive into the topic, we decided to develop a better solution ourselves and founded Mynt.

“Our enthusiasm for the issue arose more from our personal experiences and the opportunity to develop an innovative solution for an existing problem.”


Had you and your business partner been involved in interiors, decoration, or paints previously?


We were actually pretty much industry newcomers. I had studied business administration and worked in business development, while Mark’s background was in engineering and marketing. Our enthusiasm for the issue arose more from our personal experiences and the opportunity to develop an innovative solution for an existing problem. We were very aware of our strengths and weaknesses, though. That’s why we deliberately looked for complementary additions to our team and worked closely with experts from the paint industry.

You worked for a while in Berlin. Why did you decide to return to your hometown in Rhineland-Palatinate and found Mynt in Mainz?


That was a very conscious decision. I have very close ties to my hometown; my family lives here and I wanted to actively build something in this region. And of course Mainz is also the city of Johannes Gutenberg and has therefore always had a particularly entrepreneurial spirit. My goal was always to found a company that would have a positive impact on society. And so I swam against the current a little and moved from Berlin to Rhineland-Palatinate.

How has the startup scene in Rhineland-Palatinate developed in the last few years in your view?


When I first moved back to Mainz, the city as an entrepreneurial center was still in its infancy – at least from my perspective. In the last few years, however, the startup scene in Rhineland-Palatinate has developed enormously. These days there are more and more new initiatives, networks, and funding programs that actively support startups. So in retrospect, I have to say that deciding to found the company in Mainz was definitely one of the best decisions for me.

“One challenge that most startups and we as well are faced with daily is building trust.“



In 2023, your startup was one of five winners of startup innovativ, a funding program from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. How has this achievement influenced your company?


Winning startup innovativ had several positive effects on our company. One challenge that most startups and we as well are faced with daily is building trust. Startups are new, after all. And through funding and competitions sponsored at the state level, one gets a kind of seal of quality. That has helped us a lot in sales and marketing and in terms of consumer confidence. We also profited from the press coverage and network that arose from our win. In addition, the funding provided us with the opportunity to take part in a truly outstanding coaching program. This is especially important for startups at the beginning, because you often get tunnel vision and a coach can help you see things from an outside perspective. And finally, the financial support has enabled us to invest in ways that we would otherwise not have been able to do.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs who want to apply for future rounds of startup innovativ?


First, you should inform yourself about all the funding opportunities in Rhineland-Palatinate, because there are other competitions and grants in addition to startup innovativ. We also took advantage of the RLP entrepreneurs’ grant, for example. When applying for startup innovativ, it’s important to show the progress you’ve made in the last few months. It has to be clear how and in which direction the startup is developing. In addition, you should invest a lot of time in the application itself in order to set yourself apart from the competition. We had applied once before in 2022 and that didn’t work out. This time we put a lot more work into it, and we won. So it’s worth it to go the extra mile and make your application materials as good as possible.

“Our biggest lesson was the importance of focus, fast implementation, and adaptability.“


Looking back at Mynt’s short history so far, what lesson has been the biggest for you personally and what impetus for the future have you taken from it?


Our biggest lesson was the importance of focus, fast implementation, and adaptability. Startups have limited financial and personnel resources, so it’s important to concentrate on single aspects instead of tackling everything at once. The daily challenges require a hands-on mentality and the ability to solve problems effectively. Other important points are resilience and adaptability. Strategies and plans change frequently in the world of startups, so it’s important to stay flexible and adapt to new situations. It’s also important to stay in close contact with the customers in order to respond to their needs and identify new possibilities. Ultimately, it’s about not always hitting the same wall again and again but rather about facing new challenges and learning from them.

Felix Dannich

Was born and raised in Mainz. He met his future business partner Mark Shif back in the fifth grade. Dannich studied business administration at the Mainz University of Applied Sciences. After that, he moved to Berlin to work in business development at a major online retailer while also getting his MBA at the Frankfurt School. In 2019 he returned to his hometown and founded the successful paint startup Mynt with Shif two years later.


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