Company Founders

Peter Braun, Co-Founder and Managing Director
M.A. in Political Science of South Asia (Heidelberg University, Germany)

Peter was born in south-western Germany, where he spent most of his childhood. But he always had a penchant for travelling the world and learning about other cultures. In the process he picked up many languages: German, English, Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, and French. Since coming to India for the first time in 1996, Peter has spent more than five years travelling, studying, and working in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. During his academic career he studied at Benares Hindu University, Rajasthan State University in Jaipur, and the University of Peshawar in Pakistan. Internships with South Asian and international agencies sensitised him already at a young age for the complexities of culture.

After obtaining his degree in Political Sciences South Asia, History South Asia, and Modern Indian Languages – Hindi, at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Peter started his professional career as Consultant for South Asian Affairs in the office of Thomas Mann, Member of the European Parliament. Working in Brussels and Strasbourg, his main responsibilities included the monitoring of Human Rights in South Asia and the extension of institutional cooperation.

To apply his vast expertise on the Indian Subcontinent and to actively promote the Indo-German relationship, he then took up a position as Political & Administrative Counsellor at the Indian Embassy in Berlin. Later he followed a call of the South Asia Institute which made him the Director of the institute's branch office in New Delhi. Assigned with the task to increase academic exchange between India and Germany and to assist German students in India conducting field research, study abroad programmes, language training, and internships, Peter Braun engaged as a facilitator to connect Europe and India in the field of education.

Establishing new initiatives to utilise recent opportunities for graduates and young professionals from Europe in India, he finally decided to work in the framework of Knowledge Must to further the exchange between the Western world and India on a non-institutional basis. A passionate lover of the Indian Subcontinent, he deeply immersed himself in the Indian cultural environment, mastering local languages, customs, and moral values. And Peter thoroughly enjoys imparting intercultural knowledge, as he is a brilliant communicator.

 

Daniel Ratheiser, Co-Founder and Managing Director
Master of International Economic Studies with First-Class Honours (Maastricht University, The Netherlands)

Born in Montreal, Canada, Daniel has lived, studied, and worked for extended periods in eight countries and speaks nearly as many languages: English, German, Chinese (standard as well as Sichuanese dialect), Hindi, Urdu, Dutch, and French. Currently he is teaching himself Bengali. Studying at universities in Liège (Belgium), Heidelberg (Germany), Maastricht (The Netherlands), and Washington, D.C. (United States of America), he got a taste for moving between cultural realms, but he always made it a point to spend his entire semester breaks exploring the diversity of the Indian Subcontinent.

In India, Daniel worked for the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, where he, among other things, authored a very successful guidebook for Indian IT companies on how to develop the German market and co-authored studies on Joint Ventures and Licensing in India as well as on Indian Companies Doing Business in Germany. He also was teaching at the Max Mueller Bhawan in Mumbai and directed a documentary on the Indian IT industry shown on the German public television channel ZDF.

Among other professional experiences, Daniel has worked in China as an internal consultant for an intercultural solutions provider in Chengdu and as a management consultant in Shanghai leading extensive project teams for reputed transnational organisations, including Fortune 500 companies. Having himself relocated many times across national borders (and helping many others to do so), he has practical experience moving between cultures and understands firsthand the complexities that arise when crossing cultural boundaries.

To make the most out of his experience, Daniel decided to form Knowledge Must together with its other founder Peter Braun. Since then Daniel has worked with individuals and organisations from many countries, helping them to cross cultural boundaries and to grow their global competence. He also conducted numerous research studies in the intercultural field, from historical cultural exchange to contemporary interfaith relations. His real passion, however, has always been researching and writing about the cultural relations between South Asia / India and East Asia / China, the two regions of the world he feels most indebted to. Pursuing this research for 15 years, Daniel has become a leading expert on India-China relations.

 

Stefan Heil, Co-Founder and Chief Information Officer
M.A. in Political Science / Pol. Sc. of South Asia (Heidelberg University, Germany)

Stefan Heil was born Bruchsal, Germany, in 1980 and grew up in that very area near Heidelberg in Southern Germany. Next to his native German, Stefan speaks flawless English, solid French, as well as intermediate Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu) and is currently revamping his skills in Italian. After finishing school he enrolled at the University of Heidelberg to study law, but soon realised that becoming a lawyer was not really what he wanted to do with his life. Instead, he followed his heart and did a M.A. degree in Political Science (with a focus on International Relations) and Political Science of South Asia. His final thesis dealt with negotiation theory and its application to ethnic conflicts (especially to the Sri Lankan case).

During the course of his studies, Stefan has visited South Asia many times. He fell in love with the region in general and India and Sri Lanka in particular already after his first visit in 2003 – a feeling that keeps growing ever since. Besides trying to see and experience as much as possible of the region, the peoples and cultures he came across, he was conducting research for his thesis, working as an intern with United Nations' International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Sri Lanka, and later with the University of Heidelberg / South Asia Institute branch office in New Delhi.

Besides his focus on South Asia and his formal educational background in Political Science, Stefan pursued a second professional path in IT, with a strong focus on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) technologies and comes with 10 years of IT experience in key roles. He was working for five years as a systems- and network administrator for various departments at the University of Heidelberg, where he, among other responsibilities, introduced Linux and other FOSS technologies. Before joining Peter and Daniel to start Knowledge Must, he already co-founded a FOSS based company devoted to information security and the right to online privacy.

This unique mix of interests and expertise was the reason for him teaming up with Peter and Daniel to co-found Knowledge Must as its Chief Information Officer. Deeply rooted in global IT industry fora and especially the FOSS movement, he recently started researching about the use of FOSS in developing societies and is still an avid activist for the right to online privacy and information security.