Scout24 talks about startup life in Munich
Interviews Frederik Bohn
Scout24 operates leading digital classified platforms, including AutoScout24 and ImmobilienScout24, in Germany and other selected European countries. We talked to Luiz Scheidegger, Head of Technology - Core Experience, and Boris Danne, Business Development Manager, from AutoScout24. They filled us startup life, the demand for software developers in Munich and how it feels to be part of one of city’s biggest tech successes.
Tell us about how Scout24 started. When? Why? How has it developed?
Luiz: AutoScout24 and ImmobilienScout24 were active as the first digital marketplaces in Scout24’s portfolio 1999 and 1998.
ImmobilienScout24 is the leading digital real estate classifieds platform in Germany, based on consumer traffic and time spent, as well as customer numbers and listings.
AutoScout24 is a leading automotive digital classifieds platform in Europe, in terms of unique monthly visitors and listings. We aim to make markets more transparent and efficient.
Munich is famous as the powerhouse of German industry. Is this strong and established industry background an advantage or disadvantage for startups?
Luiz: I believe Munich may be attractive for startups due its universities and high standard of living. But all of this makes living here very expensive, which can make things more complicated for organizations that are just starting.
Boris: Expert knowledge is a great support for startups and also many founders already have experiences before they start a company. Recreational value and work- life balance are also additional bonus points for Munich. In addition, we have lots of investors: large corporations and leading digital companies are here. In recent years, Munich has developed into a relevant startup ecosystem.
Do you have any good examples of startups working with corporates in Munich?
Boris: At Scout24 we work and exchange a lot with startups, in various ways. Acquisitions are one of them: Easyautosale is a good example of integrating a new product into our core business to expand our portfolio. We often run tests with startups which could bring value to our customers.
We see the benefit in startup drive and speed and are open to bringing our strength to the table for potential partnerships. Another good example for Munich would be the fashion startup Stylight since it was founded by a group of students and is now part of ProSiebenSat.1.
Does Scout24 immerse itself in the startup community?
Boris: We are strongly involved in the startup ecosystem, both in Berlin and Munich. We organize meet-ups and host events, such as the Lean Startup Machine here in Munich, a three-day workshop where entrepreneurs learn how to build products with market potential. And with You IS NOW we have another interface with the entrepreneurial and tech community in Berlin.
How does Munich compare to Berlin as a tech hub?
Luiz: I haven’t worked in Berlin yet but my impression is that the startup scene is much bigger there.
Boris: Yes, Berlin is of course bigger but Munich is just different. Here in Munich you have a smaller community and it’s therefore easier to get to know relevant people. As a result, access to the startup scene is easier.
How international is it? Is German very important?
Luiz: Munich is getting more and more international, people from all over the world are coming to Munich, mainly driven by the demand for competent professionals. I feel German is very important for integration reasons, but not for working.
Is it easy to find developers?
Luiz: No, it’s definitely not easy.
Boris: I totally agree with Luiz. Competition is definitely very tough. Good developers have a lot of choices here in Munich; just like in other relevant cities.
What are the biggest challenges to growth there?
Luiz: I think, as everywhere else, finding talents is the biggest challenge. The cost of living too.
What are the most important tech events and meetups?
Luiz: Bits & Pretzels, Microservices Meetup (held by us) and Coding Dojos are events that you should definitely check out to familiarize yourself with the scene.
Boris: In addition, there are several events organized around specific topics for startups and tech companies by universities, young professionals and accelerators.
What are the most exciting startups in Munich in your opinion?
Boris: Regarding mature startups, I recommend Freeletics and eGym Fitness which focus on fitness trainings. Bragi, a producer of wireless smart earphones, is interesting as well.
Tado, a startup focusing on thermometer control system is also worth checking out. In terms of young startups, I am thinking of the media startup DER KONTEXT which is an interactive web magazine for background stories concerning events of the day or the robotics guys from Robotise.
What makes Scout24 a great place for developers to work?
Boris: At Scout24 you have a great amount of freedom, we live a culture of empowerment; where top-down decision-making should be as low as possible.
Also we believe that Kaizen, continuous improvement, is a very important aspect. Because at Scout24 you have to learn a lot and you’ll be always learning.
And we work with very exciting technologies. We have also very compelling challenges because we deal with very important aspects of people’s lives, their homes & cars.
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