Exceed 2012 Recap: Day 1
23rd March 3 Comments
Today, about 500 commerce professionals meet in the Kalkscheune in Berlin for the first edition of Exceed, the successor of the Live Shopping Days, organised by Jochen Krisch from Exciting Commerce and his team. What a perfect chance to meet interesting people and listen to them talking about current issues such as gender innovation, mass customatisation and crowd funding! That’s what we thought, so we got all our gear set up and made sure to catch all the important bits both from on- as well as offstage.
After the keynote by Jochen Krisch, in which he outlined the current development and the future trends for online retailing and got everybody in the audience up to speed regarding the important figures and the shifts that are currently taking place, he invited Uwe Horstmann and Christian Weiß from Project A Ventures to the stage to talk about their brand-new incubator. (We have been following the development of this company from the beginning, this post is a good starting point.) As former Rocket Internet employees, both answered questions about where the focus of the new incubator is and what Project A can do for potential startups. According to Horstmann and Weiß, what they can bring to the table is professional infrastructure and the expertise of experienced staff. Also, they followed a data-driven concept, aiming at recognising the most important KPIs for the business models in question in order to be able to optimise and scale the respective companies. Weiß also lined out the difference between the structured business approach on the one side and the creative, product-related innovators that still needed to find a suitable business model on the other side and said that great potential sits in combining those two. A question from the audience revealed that in order to receive a 750,000 Euro seed investment, Product A ventures would take about a 50% share of the company in question. Strangely enough, the topic of the Otto involvement was not picked up at all – a little bit more controversy on stage would have been a fun thing to watch.
This first session was followed by Beate Rank from Rakuten (former Tradoria) who talked about the aquisition process and how she perceived her position as well as her strengths being a female in the mostly male-oriented field of E-Commerce. According to her, men are better negotiators, but women inspired a more positive company culture. She did not leave the stage without yet again repeating that in Germany, Rakuten will be stronger than Amazon in five years.
Next up were Matthias Henze und Fridtjof Detzne from Jimdo, a service for letting people without programming knowledge create websites and onlineshops. They said that a good part of their success was based on the fact that from a very early stage, they concentrated on internationalisation, and today 80% of their revenue is generated outside of Germany. When asked what their PR looks like, they explained how they followed a personal approach, writing to bloggers and journalists individually rather than using pre-made PR messages.
This refreshing Q&A session was followed by the first round of startup pitches. The guys from Stylesclub offered nothing short of the “Fcommerce revolution for fashion”, building a Facebook app which allowed targeted and curated fashion retail. Whoever read our piece on F-Commerce should not be surprised by the fact that we were not soo thrilled about this business model. Userlike talked about a kind of advanced webchat software to support customer service in online shops. Again, it was hard for us to extract the innovative potential – at least the presenter had a “shit” output rate that rivalled the best rants in this blog. Finally, Fashiondays delivered a really bloated presentation that made it hard to extract the real business case. Fortunately, the presenter Alexander Graf from Kassenzone got it right: “So, you are really a small publisher for the fashion industry?”
Fortunately, the next slot was filled with a very vivid discussion about gender innovation with Julia Derndinger (Imedo), Delia Fischer (Westwing) and Daria Saharova (Bellegs). This session which was surely the highlight of Day 1 touched on things such as inspiration and emotional approaches to shopping. Fortunately, we caught the three girls on camera later that day, so watch out for this great interview to learn why sentences such as „I want to see myself walking in those shoes. – That might sound crazy to you, but you are not my target group!“ and the digital prosecco went down so well with the audience.
Direct retail and shopping parties was the subject of the next Q&A session with Annemarie Grund (Baby Basket) and Norbert Töpker (Rudi rockt), talking about babyclothes shopping parties for Moms and collaborative cooking and dining with many people in many locations respectively. Here, the discussion touched on group buying behaviour and the lack of competition in these specific settings very close to the customers.
The second round of startup pitches clearly contained more promising concepts compared to the first one. Einfach-machen-lassen offers services after a product has been bought, such as setting up computers and TV sets. They claimed to already have a network of 600 partners throughout Germany and work together with Neckermann. Itembase offers an online inventory for bought products, the data of which could then be used (and sold) as recommendation engine. (Kudos to Stefan Jørgensen for delivering the smartest pitch that day!) Last, Wellwide presented their E-Commerce platform dedicated to health issues, supporting questions such as „How can I stay healthy?“ rather than focussing on finding specific products.
The day was wrapped up by an investment panel with Andreas Schlenker from Partech International.