Lisa Flieg

Jani Penttinen of Alumnus Transfluent: “Success will be defined by the people around you”

The world is becoming smaller every day, not just because of the amazing technological advancements of recent decades, but also because of the way the internet and the digital revolution are eradicating physical and spatial barriers. Things taking place on the other side of the globe suddenly feel like they’re right next door to us – if only those language barriers weren’t still in the way. The CODE_n alumnus Transfluent was founded in the belief that all companies should have an easy way to become global and communicate with their customers in the local language. The conviction of the Finnish startup morphed into a leading translation provider with a global team and solutions that bring them to the forefront of innovative technology. We spoke to the CEO and founder Jani Penttinen about the things that make his business model unique and the journey towards becoming a global, rapidly expanding enterprise. Jani also divulges a couple of personal tips on setting up a successful team and how he successfully pulled together 800k through the crowdfunding platform Invesdor. And that was just the prep work before the planned IPO gets underway! Jani also tells us about the up-and-coming startup scene in Finland.



Lisa Flieg

“Banks are at real risk of losing their power position”: FinTech feature part 1 with Meniga

Banks need to wrap up warmly – the upheaval across the whole sector has only just begun! Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are on a mission to revolutionize our monetary system, roboadvisors are superseding human financial advisors using sophisticated algorithms that predict the best personal investment strategy, or transfer money at the click of an icon on your smartphone. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is huge potential for disruptive concepts to take us off the beaten track into entirely new realms of banking and finance! The keys to the door for the promising FinTech startups now entering the market are customer service and automation. These two factors are defining current goals, as startups dare to challenge the hegemony of traditional financial services and the age-old banking system. How? By combining cutting-edge technology like blockchain systems, artificial intelligence and big data, and using them to create new and enhanced services for their customers. As part of our Future of Finance and Banking series, we will be looking at this fascinating topic and speaking to some of the “revolutionaries” in the sector. Their aim will be to predict developments in this rapidly evolving market from their standpoint, lifting the lid on visionary FinTech business and gaining insights into the kind of financial world we can expect to experience in the future!


Jónas Valtýsson

Guest feature | A new Meniga: Our rebranding process

We here at Meniga design solutions that help people understand and manage their money. A little over a year ago we decided that we wanted to take a fresh look at our products. Improve on what we had already built, leaving no stone unturned.

Now we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and plan to release our new product later this year. As a part of this work we improved our brand and visual language. We asked ourselves what are we really trying to achieve? Who are we trying to help? What is the point of all our work? Let‘s take a step back and start at the beginning.

Our old logo (Source: Meniga)


Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Once a sales rep for cash registers, now a business founder: how orderbird set up a new business

If the name orderbird rings a bell, it’s probably because it was one of the ten finalists at the very first CODE_n CONTEST in 2012. The startup also now rings different bells – think ‘ka-ching’ – as one of the five most successful mPOS systems in the world. And the initial spark of genius behind its business concept is still the same today: The startup from the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg can convert iPads into an ordering system for the catering industry. Five years after it was set up, the former CODE_n contestant is now organizing its own successful startup competition, naturally with a slant toward catering. The aim of its Gastro-Gründerpreis (gastronomy startup award) is to help lateral-thinking caterers with €10,000 of startup funding. In its third year now, the much sought-after award is bestowed at Berlin Food Week and the jury includes well-known German experts such as Christian Rach, Cynthia Barcomi, and Sophia Hoffmann.

 We invited the CODE_n alumni at orderbird to join us on the occasion of our fifth anniversary and tell us about their own early days as a startup. How did its founders come up with the idea of turning an iPad into a ordering system for catering? And how did they get the right people on their side? Read more about the story of a startup – from the initial insight and inspiration to becoming a full-blown publically traded company.


The new management team at orderbird (left – right): Artur Hasselbach, Thomas Köhl, Patrick Brienen, Jakob Schreyer, and Bastian Schmidtke

The ingenious idea behind orderbird first came to Bastian Schmidtke in 2009. He was scrolling through the Business Insider website when he read about the U.S. military using the iPod Touch as a remote control for bombs. Bastian was selling cash register systems in southern Germany at the time, and his thoughts immediately leapt to catering: More…

Felix Jansen

“Partners should always be found on a level playing field” – an interview with Jakob Schreyer from orderbird

At the first run of the CODE_n CONTEST back in 2012, orderbird was one of the Top 10 contest finalists. Since then, the Berlin-based startup has continued to develop. The latest chapter in the story of its growth: successfully arranging a new funding phase and bringing a new strategic investor on board. We talked to Jakob Schreyer, CEO at orderbird, about his company and the way innovation is dealt with in the financial sector.

Felix Jansen: Hello, Jakob. Congratulations on entering a new funding phase. You’ve raised more than 10 million US dollars with orderbird. How do you plan to use that money?

Jakob Schreyer: Thanks. We plan to invest heavily in product development and expansion in new markets. With our Series B funding phase, we aren’t just receiving a considerable investment, but we are also embarking on a new strategic partnership with our main investor, ConCardis. We will be working in close collaboration, specifically in the area of cashless payments, but we are sure to both benefit from know-how exchange in many other areas as well.

Jakob Schreyer CEO Orderbird

Last year, you launched a pilot project with PayPal. Yet ConCardis, your newest and largest investor to date, is a more traditional company from the credit business sector. In your collaboration, have you noticed that you approach the topic of innovation from very different angles?

The area of “mobile payments” has garnered a lot of attention in recent years. The topics moved forward by big American players such as PayPal, and now strongly pushed by Apple, are arriving in the German-speaking world. ConCardis has shown a great openness to innovation. Targets seem to lie further apart when it comes to traditional B2B companies.

To what extent do you find the financial industry willing to fundamentally question established business practices and move toward new digital business models?  More…

Michael Hehn

Corruption Trak: “At CODE_n we met a lot of people and realized the giant we are dealing with which also forced us to rethink our strategy…”Corruption Trak: “At CODE_n we met a lot of people and realized the giant we are dealing with which also forced us to rethink our strategy…”

Michael Hehn: Hello Ishan! On CODE_n 2012, you were the participant who traveled the longest distance to Hannover. Could you please tell our readers from where you came, and which idea you brought with you?

Ishan Agrawal: We came all the way from Singapore to CeBIT for CODE_n 2012. We had been working on a not-for-profit to fight corruption in India. We call it Corruption Trak. It is a technological solution to the menace of corruption. People can report cases of corruption by filling up a simple short form to talk about details of corruption incident. We then try to channel this data to the relevant authorities so that action can be taken on these reports.

Corruption Trak with Johanna (CODE_n Team)

Corruption Trak with Johanna (CODE_n Team)

MH: Your platform is easy to use, and it is without controversy that corruption is a major problem. Still, the number of submitted reports is not very high so far. Do you have an explanation for that?

IA: The bigger the problem the tougher it is to solve, and a problem like corruption involves dealing with the government as well as educating the citizens. At CODE_n we met a lot of people and realized the giant we are dealing with which also forced us to rethink our strategy. Instead of going right in and publicizing the platform for getting more reports we have decided to gain strong support first, with external organizations and the government agencies of India, so that we can make full use of the reports on our website. We want to close the loop with people reporting and their reports being heard and acted upon instead of us just being a data collection tool, which by itself would be great as well though. After CODE_n we are spending our efforts towards this goal, so hopefully in the near future you can expect some interesting news from us.

MH: I was crossing the Russian-Mongolian boarder by train this year. For me it worked without problems, but others reported later that they were more or less forced to to buy a $10, worthless “health insurance” to get the stamp in their passport. Later I found several blog posts mentioning similar incidents. How could Corruption Trak help here?

IA: As I mentioned earlier, the scale of the problem is too big to tackle all at once. Once our tool is used to its full capacity Corruption Trak can certainly help in the case mentioned. A case reported could be acted upon by the local authorities or at least make the problem known and evident, thereby forcing the authorities to take some action.

MH: Only very few countries are nearly corruption-free, according to Transparency International´s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index. Are there plans to start your service in additional countries and help fighting corruption also there?

IA: We definitely are thinking of keeping ourselves as a globally used tool as the technology itself is generic enough for its international use. We will open our versions for other countries as soon as the time is right and we find the right people to take this movement forward in their own country.

MH: Corruption Trak is non-profit. How do you cover your costs, p.ex. for hosting or for event participations like CeBIT?

IA: Being students comes with its perks. Our school has been supporting us so far and the rest has been our own expenses. We think even if we have to spend some from our own pockets, it is worth the change that we want to see. It’s a small price to pay for all the possibilities that Corruption Trak brings with it. That being said we are looking at a more sustainable approach to go forward. We think the key is to focus on our relationships with other organizations for support.

MH: Did you profit from the huge media attention for your project during CeBIT to find partners? Can we expecting major news in the next couple of weeks/months?

IA: We definitely did. Although our main market is India and the press has more been in Europe, it has benefited us in validating the concept and we have gained a lot of credibility and trust when the media from different parts of world appreciated and praised our efforts and the product we are building. It definitely was a great start for building all of our future relationships.

We have been quietly working these months, and we are expecting some results soon. We would definitely inform the amazing CODE_n community first thing of any exciting news that is worthy sharing.

MH: Are you able to balance both the Corruption Trak project and your career plannings? I think you were students when developing the platform, but are about to start working (or even already did so).

IA: It has been the toughest thing definitely. I am still in school while my other 2 co-founders have started working full-time. I think we still are able to take time out to work on Corruption Trak out of our sheer passion and hope to see things change. I wish I had the luxury to work on it full time, but we have been trying our best. Definitely having 3 people in the core team helps, as we can distribute work and leverage on everyone’s networks.

Ps: We really miss being at CODE_n and all of the wonderful people we met there!!

MH: Thank you Ishan! Hope to see you again soon. 🙂Leider nur in Englisch verfügbar!

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

Matthias Lamberti: “There are very few things I would actually have done differently, apart from maybe publicly releasing the letter I sent to my bank at the time to cancel my contractual relationship. ;-)”

Matthias Lamberti is founder and manager of yavalu, a financial platform for effective asset management. The yavalu team also participated in the CODE_n contest and was selected by the jury as a top 10 finalist. We met Matthias for a face-to-face interview at the CODE_n headquarters in Stuttgart.

JB: Leaving a position as asset manager in a large corporation to start your own business was a big step to take. What inspired you to establish yavalu?

Matthias Lamberti (CEO yavalu)

ML: You’re right, it certainly was a big step – and absolutely the right decision. The financial industry is set to change dramatically in the next few years. With yavalu, we want to play an active part in shaping this change and in finally giving customers control over their finances and investments again. I worked for many years in risk and asset management myself, and in the end, I was incredibly disillusioned and disappointed in the poor quality of service provided and the prevailing practices in the industry. The longer I worked in the field, the more I became convinced that it was possible to consult people properly on financial matters; to help them understand the issues and charge fair prices, all with the aim of giving them control over their finances and investments. This was my motivation.