Janina Benz

Markus Schulz and Daniela Schiffer: “Everyone should know what kind of impact we have on our climate”

Markus Schulz and Daniela Schiffer are among the CODE_n13 finalists and founders of Changers, a solar charger and energy marketplace. Markus formerly ran an advertising agency where he worked for renown high tech companies in the field of renewable energy. Daniela has a background in media art and collaborated on several European and international projects before joining Markus at his agency.

Janina Benz: Congratulations on being among the 50 CODE_n finalists! What does Changers do, and what was your motivation to start it?

Markus Schulz & Daniela Schiffer: In order to be successful in our fight against climate change, awareness is indispensable. Everyone should know what kind of impact we have on our climate, how we can protect it, and how we can bring change about. That’s what Changers is about: motivating everybody to produce and use their own energy. And the best way to do this is to make that behavior measurable and reward people for doing so. So we developed a solar charger that can charge a wide range of mobile devices while counting the exact amount of energy produced and CO2 saved. The data is stored automatically and can be uploaded to our social network, Changers.com. There you can compare your achievements with your friends and the rest of the world.  And for each gram of CO2 saved, we reward our users with Changers Credits, which they can redeem for sustainable products and services. More…

Janina Benz

Jakob Schreyer: “We’re incredibly surprised at how fast things have gone… But it’s important not to place too much value on press limelight and first successes. So 2012 will no doubt be full of suspense for us.”

Jakob is orderbird’s CEO and also one of our CODE_n finalists. We are very happy that we got the chance to ask him some questions regaring the status quo of orderbird’s development.

Janina Benz: Can you give us a quick overview of who you are and what orderbird does?

Jakob explains orderbird App to Dr. Philipp Rösler (Federal Minister of Economics and Technology)

Jakob Schreyer: It was Bastian’s idea – he’s our founder and product manager. His job at the time – working out in the field with cash register systems – together with his love of Apple products was the ideal combination for getting things started. We hope to become the primary ordering and payment platform in the restaurant and catering business. The first step involves creating an iPad cash register system for the industry, the second step involves developing a platform for directly connecting diners, further services, etc.

JB: How many restaurants currently use orderbird?

JS: A year and a half after founding the company in the heart of Berlin, orderbird AG has grown to become a company with 27 employees and over 350 satisfied customers throughout the German-speaking countries.

JB: Where are you focusing your strengths, individual restaurants or going for the big chains?

JS: At the moment, we’re still concentrating on individual restaurants. In the mid-term, we’d definitely like to reach both target groups though.

JB: How do you regard orderbird’s success? More…

Janina Benz

mytaxi: “The media coverage was particularly impressive. Days after CODE_n, people were still blogging, tweeting and posting about myTaxi.”

Now that a month has passed since CeBIT took place, we were curious about the CODE_n12 Award winner, and asked the team at myTaxi what they’ve been up to since the trade show. MyTaxi’s marketing manager, Mareike Bruns, and location manager for Hamburg, Fabian Mellin, are no doubt familiar to most of our readers because they accepted the prize at the CODE_n Award Show. We interviewed the two of them and asked about their personal impressions of CeBIT.

 

Gerhard Müller (E&Y), Ulrich Dietz (GFT), Mareike Bruns & Fabian Melling (myTaxi)

Janina Benz: CODE_n took place about a month ago. The press coverage of the finalists and visitor interest in CODE_n exceeded all expectations. What hopes and ambitions did you bring along to CeBIT four weeks ago?

myTaxi (MB): The CODE_n Award offers startups the unique opportunity to present themselves to professionals and specialists on an international stage. We wanted to use this innovative framework to effectively position our young business venture in the media limelight and establish important contacts. Of course, our ultimate goal was to take home the prize, but none of us seriously thought we would.

JB: Looking back, how would you describe the 5 days spent at CeBIT?

myTaxi (FM): myTaxi attracted overwhelming attention. Interested end users, bloggers, journalists, investors, even politicians came by our stall to find out more about the app. This not only met our expectations but exceeded them by far. The week in Hanover was simply amazing! Not to mention the fantastic atmosphere in Hall 16 and the amazing support of the CODE_n team.

JB: Having won the CODE_n contest, we’re dying to know what you’ve done with the trophy?

myTaxi (MB): The trophy survived the move to our new location and has been given a place of honor in the office with a view of the Elbe.

JB: What happened after CODE_n? Were any of the contacts or stimuli immediately fruitful? Have any of your plans progressed faster as a result?

myTaxi (FM): Definitely! The many interesting discussions we had allowed us to exchange ideas that have directly affected our day-to-day work. The media coverage was particularly impressive. Days after the trade show, people were still blogging, tweeting and posting about myTaxi.

JB: A Facebook group has been established for the CODE_n Community, allowing members to continue the exchange of ideas among participants. How important do you consider this networking within the startup scene?

myTaxi (MB): The startup market moves ahead at breakneck speeds. At myTaxi, we don’t intend to miss the boat on new opportunities. Successful exchange and networking among startups is essential for this. CODE_n offers just the right platform to ensure this takes place, allowing startups to keep their finger on the pulse of fast-paced innovation.

JB: Apropos startups: A few days ago, we heard reports that the Berlin-based company Taxi Pay is working with the Viennese software firm FMS/Austrosoft to release an app. What do you make of this new competitor? Are they producing a very different type of product or is it an obvious copycat?

myTaxi (FM): We haven’t tested the app yet, so we can’t really make an assessment. myTaxi was the first app to hit the market, making it the pioneer of taxi apps. Actually, we’re pleased that myTaxi has been so well-received and even inspired other service providers. What makes us so different is the fact that we don’t have a control center. myTaxi is independent, transparent and distinctly individual. We establish a direct connection between driver and passenger that allows both parties to get in touch with each other. Passengers can view the driver’s profile details, complete with a picture, and review the ride in the end. The evaluation at Taxi.eu does not affect the order process when calling for a taxi, so good performance reviews do not directly affect the individual drivers.

JB: Time is really marching on for you guys. What kinds of things can we expect from you in the coming months?

myTaxi (MB): All kinds of things! We plan to relaunch the myTaxi app at the beginning of May. You can look forward to great new features combined with a new design, new functionality, and a whole new user experience. Internationalization is also at the top of our priorities list, but we can’t reveal which cities are next in line for our service – that’s top secret. 🙂

JB: Thanks for the interview. We wish you continued success and the best of luck

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