Finding a new circle of friends is not an easy thing for Internationals in a new city. And currently available platforms cover only partly the needs of expatriates. So we met Tim Stöhr, founder of International Friends Community, and asked him our 7 questions.
1. Please tell us about yourselves.
Hello, we are Andrey, Toray and Tim, the makers of the International Friends platform. We got to know each other over the platform of International Friends (obviously!). Andrey (28) is a programmer from the Ukraine, Toray (27) is a statistician and programmer and me, Tim (30). I studied Biology but with my international background (I have been living in 5 different countries and travelled in over 50), I am the strategical mind behind International Friends.
2. But that’s nothing out of the box!
No, that is not totally true. Sure, there is competition, the most known is Internations. However, we are markedly different from our competition in that we are mostly attractive to younger and more active users — the average age at Internations is 38, average age at International friends is 26).
Furthermore, we are available on all platforms (Android, iPhone, iPad, Website etc.). A further big difference is that our users do not need to pay anything. These are the reasons why we are already now the biggest network of Internationals in Munich.
“We have a very close customer contact”
3. What’s your three ingredients for success?
- 1st ingredient: We are all international, that is expats. We know how lonely it can be to arrive in a new city as a working expat and not to know anyone.
- 2nd ingredient: We have built an incredibly efficient server platform that allows us to expand our product in a very short time and to add new functionalities. The main advantage though is that it allows to create new communities in new cities within minutes. New servers can be added in a very short time. We have even gone so far as to program in the possibility to expand it to geographically different datacenters if needed during scaling.
- 3rd ingredient: Our already existing community! It always provides us with new ideas and helps us to expand the platform. We have a very close customer contact.
Building a huge momentum
4. Seriously: How’s business?
It is going really well actually. We have about 160.000 visitors per month on the platform. Between 300 and 500 persons are taking part in our events per month. The android app has already been downloaded 4.000+ times. We can show a monthly growth average of 10-20%. The numbers we have shown are obviously only for Munich.
Furthermore, we are already profitable. This allows us to invest continuously into the further development of the startup and to build a huge momentum.
5. What does Munich mean to you?
Munich, with its very strong international scene, is obviously perfect for our startup. There are loads of international companies which are employing people from abroad here in Munich. There are also loads of internationals in the growing startup scene. A big bonus are the surroundings of Munich. These are awesome for organizing events, hikes etc…
International Friends : Grown through word-of-mouth
6. Will your startup be the next unicorn? Or will we see each other soon at an Epic Fail Night?
There is a huge demand for a product like ours which allows expats to get to know new friends as well as their new city. International Friends has only grown through word-of-mouth. We cannot fail anymore as we already have the biggest community of Internationals in Munich and have been able to prove the success of the concept. We have even been able to successfully expand the concept in 5 different cities in three different continents.
7. Isar or English Garden?
Definitely Isar! There is nothing better than to start the BBQ season at the Isar.