27. June 2014–
Today is the official launch of Openers. This is what the initiator of Tech Open Air (TOA) and two ex-PR ladies have been working on for months behind the scenes. The Berlin founders had enough of old agencies, so they brought to life an all-encompassing service.
For starters, Openers wants to make it easier for startups to enter the market in Germany by advising on legal and linguistic challenges as well as on communication and product. In cases where the team itself doesn't have the expertise, they will use their network. In the next few months, Openers wants to help pave the way for German startups to expand abroad. Because of TOA coming up, it should also be possible in the future for corporations to use the innovative potential of the startup scene.
In an interview with Gründerszene, Founder Carolin Lessoued explained what Openers wants to accomplish and how it plans to do that.
You want to help startups enter the German market and help German startups expand abroad. You also want to help corporations participate in startups. What is your priority?
Our first target market are the startups abroad. But since we have our headquarters in Berlin, we deal a lot with German startups who would like to expand internationally. At the moment, we are offering this service together with our network partners. Our long-term vision is to be able to offer this service ourselves. Regarding the corporates, Tech Open Air provides us with a platform to show our network and credibility and to make our network more accessible to corporations.
Can Openers be considered independent from TOA?
We want to act as sister companies under one roof. But we are a fully independent company, even if the founding team with Nikolas Woischnik overlaps, and we always implement various projects together.
How did you get the idea to found Openers?
It happened in two parallel ways. The first is the previous agency work together with Kerstin Bock. After four years in the agency world, we asked ourselves together and separately: what could we do differently? What could we do better? We worked out a rough concept and, together with Niko and TOA, we created a wonderful basis on which to launch Openers and to also get in touch with potential customers.
You don't want to be an agency, because you already did it in the past - or because you think it is too short-sighted?
Because it is too short-sighted, exactly. We are still a service, but we want to avoid being called an agency. The term is not broad enough to describe our service portfolio and our approach. In addition, the agency label has negative connotations. We want to be more and offer more.
Could it be that you will use an agency as a partner?
It can very well be. In every aspect where we don't have the expertise in the team, we will look to other agencies and freelancers. That is what we are currently doing for SEO and development. We are already operationally active in the text area among other things.
Could you explain examples from the wide range of services that you offer?
We can't see the whole spectrum at the moment simply because we have only been in business for a few months and haven't been able to work out a case for every service. However, it will be very diverse. As an example, we worked with a startup from Tel Aviv that only had a concept for an app. We organized small pilot events for them to look how people reacted to the game experience and collected valuable feedback from some German users. Another example is Toywheel where we did classic app promotion after the relaunch. We also do all the communications for TOA and gave a workshop to Mykita on community building and social media.
Does that mean that each project is completely different depending on the customer?
Yes, that is exactly what should define us. We don't provide standard solutions that we offer to every customer. Each service should and will be adapted to the needs of the customer.
And what customer or company size do you consider?
Of course we work with a lot of startups through our network and have a lot of fun with that. We enjoy innovation, technical gadgets and interesting business models, but we also don't exclude retail businesses. We want to give ourselves the freedom to work on a project and have fun regardless if the business is small, medium or large.
How exactly do you earn money? Directly through commission or something completely different?
It is just like any other service provider: through hourly or daily rates. When we work with other service providers or agencies, we also earn a commission. In the future, further dynamic models such as Service for Equity are possible. We want to stay open and flexible from the beginning and not close any doors for ourselves.
In relation to Openers, we often hear about "enabling". Can you tell us more about that?
For us that is extremely important and is our USP. We don't want to be considered by our customers as only an external service provider who only delivers results. Instead, our goal is to go into companies to build up know-how. So that the people are not in the situation that they were in before. And we are also very happy to work on a project basis, for example, a series of events, the launch of a new app, the building up of a new office in Germany and so on. We often avoid classic one or two year retainer contracts. We would rather have quick, intense and instructive!
Thanks, Carolin, for the interview.
You can find the original article here.
Image Credit: Openers
Article translated by Elena Rueckert