18-year-old loses his money with Tesla shares and now opens a bistro

Emil Senkel in his French restaurant in Berlin's Hansaviertel

Emil Senkel in his French restaurant in Berlin’s Hansaviertel

Tristan Filges

A small side street in the Hansaviertel of Berlin. From a distance the tricolor in blue-white-red greets you from a shop. The French restaurant “Suite Seventeen” is owned by Emil Senkel. The young restaurateur is only 18 years old – and known less for his gastronomy than for his videos about Tesla on social media. At just 17, Senkel tried to monetize his enthusiasm for Elon Musk’s company through stock trading – which unfortunately ended badly. Here in Berlin, the Tesla fan is now daring a fresh start. meets Emil Senkel for a chat. Everything in the restaurant looks very rustic and has that “Paris flair”. But appearances are deceptive, everything is digitized here: online orders, daily changing offers on the self-programmed website and lighting controlled with Siri. He has an employed cook whom he brought in from France. Despite the pandemic, he says he makes a profit from take-away dishes. None of this is a matter of course for a young person – especially not if you have actually gambled away all your savings trading Tesla shares.

Hobbies: Cooking, programming and building the Tesla facility

Senkel started cooking out of passion when he was twelve years old. A short time later he also found joy in programming. He combined these two hobbies with his entrepreneurial instinct. He bought groceries with his own pocket money, calculated a margin with Excel, and sold the cooked food to his parents. Senkel thinks innovatively and so his enthusiasm for Tesla is not surprising.

“Elon Musk is my idol, he inspired me to start my own business and to ignore the people who find this absurd. Since I was 14 years old, I have had the dream of driving my own Tesla. I would love to have a Tesla 3. “, says Emil Senkel to

When Tesla announced that it would be opening its own production site in Brandenburg Grünheide, Senkel could hardly believe his luck. At that time, as a schoolboy at the age of 17, he really wanted to work for Tesla – preferably as a programmer. The fascination drove him to take the train and bike from Berlin to Brandenburg every weekend. There he visited the construction site again and again and documented the progress of the construction of the plant. More than 2,000 people followed him and his reports on Twitter.

At 17, Senkel began trading Tesla shares. Since you are only allowed to trade on the stock market in Germany from the age of 18, he looked for a platform on which the identity did not have to be confirmed.

Big loss without consequences

He set up an account on a corresponding online broker platform and began trading with his savings from tips from the waiter and pocket money. Senkel was so convinced of Tesla’s share price gain that he eventually leveraged the stock. This type of stock trading offers greater profits for the same amount of money, but also carries the risk of a greater loss – because the leverage works in both directions. In Germany, it is regulated by law that people who leverage their options on the stock market have to sell their shares if the price falls by more than 50 percent. With a stock price as volatile as Tesla, the risk is high. As a result, Senkel lost more than half of his money and was quite desperate.

“I wrote directly to the CEO from the broker platform. The support could not help me much. I pointed out that I am not of legal age and that I should not actually act ”, the young shareholder tells

That worked. The platform transferred his entire starting amount back to him. Nevertheless, the Tesla fan has something good to say about the story: “I didn’t make any profits. So I didn’t gain anything, except experience. ”Senkel finally dropped out of school at the age of 17 without a high school diploma. He had too many absenteeism and wanted to become self-employed anyway.

Independence in gastronomy as a new goal

He has now buried his dream of working for Tesla. “At a company like Tesla, everything will be done by machines and computers in the future, so I’d become obsolete anyway,” says Senkel. He would rather invest his entire fortune in his own restaurant.

Since August 2020 he has been preparing Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon and other dishes together with his French chef. At the moment only to take away, but that would also work well. In the future it would also be possible to order food via Lieferando and a cooperation with a local kindergarten would also bring money into the coffers.

Senkel nevertheless sees similarities with Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “I also dream that one day we can live on Mars, so I would say that we share our dreams, but that we have our own path to success. I also have to have my own dreams and goals. “

He wants to fulfill one of them in a few years: owning his own Tesla, Model 3. According to Emil’s Excel tables, which he uses to record his savings plans, he would be ready to buy the car of his dreams with the current profit in mid-2023 to be able to. Then he would no longer have to bring his purchases to the restaurant on the cargo bike.


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