Webmag founders David Maus (left) and Christian Wust. (© 2019 by Thomas Kiewning / BK Media Solutions)

Webmag: Digital Magazines for Companies

Webmag developed a platform for digital corporate publishing and is currently being supported by Media Lab Bayern. With Webmag, companies can affordably and easily create customer magazines and product brochures. Both founders explained their startup to us.

1. Who are you and what do you do? Please briefly introduce yourselves and your product!

We are David Maus (34) and Christian Wust (34) from Webmag. We met more than ten years ago during our bachelor studies, lived together in a shared apartment and took on all sorts of projects. We then evolved in different directions professionally: David focused on designing and developing software, while Christian concentrated on communication, PR and marketing for technology companies. We joined up again for Webmag to put a solution for digital corporate publishing on the market. Why? Because we noticed it was of growing importance for companies to issue their own publications, but most of them are still lagging behind in terms of digitization. Customer magazines or product brochures land on the company websites as static PDFs and are far from user friendly. Digital first — that’s far from true! That’s why we developed a platform where companies can affordably and, most importantly, easily create digital magazines — and where they can also quickly tap into new potential thanks to data analytics or call-to-action buttons.

2. But that’s already been done!

That’s true, there are lots of options for creating digital magazines — but they almost always involve high costs and a great deal of effort because agencies are commissioned and specially trained employees are required. Small and medium sized companies often do not have the necessary capacity and IT resources — or simply the necessary budget. Nonetheless, they know they need to deal with digitization if they don’t want to get left behind. It’s also of growing importance in large companies to integrate digital projects into existing processes as easily as possible, otherwise their implementation often takes years or is never tackled at all. Ease of business is the key word in this case. Our editor is organized so it can be integrated into existing processes without any major effort. Thanks to preconfigured designs, it’s possible for anyone in a company to create digital magazines, brochures, white papers or other publications with just a few mouse clicks that automatically look high-quality. As an SaaS model from the Cloud, companies can easily adapt its usage to their needs.

3. What was your biggest challenge so far?

Our biggest challenge was figuring out what really works for companies. The technology itself is not the big problem, but rather the exact alignment of the system and user interface to the needs of companies. In the end, it’s the nuances that determine whether a tool like Webmag is accepted or not. Something that became clear to us during the process was that we needed our own CMS to smoothly facilitate integration. We also had to tailor the pre-configuration of the design just enough so it wouldn’t be too difficult for employees without design skills, but their results should still look great. It was also key to realize that companies want one thing above all else: Digitization – yes, definitely, but it better not involve any additional effort, and please don’t have new projects tie up any resources.

“Munich is of course particularly attractive for us since it’s a media center”

4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?

As of today, we’ve gained a large commercial vehicle manufacturer as a customer and partner whose marketing professionals create their publications themselves right on our platform — without graphic artists, without an agency and without any major coordination loops. As a result, the department won’t just have an unread PDF on the website. Instead, they have a marketing instrument that promotes lead generation, works in coordination with social media channels and can be optimized thanks to real time tracking. We’re currently expanding business together to cover compartmentalized dealer networks. With Webmag as a white label solution, manufacturers present themselves as a service provider to their dealers while also supporting their digitization. Dealers can then easily adapt the ready-made online magazine by adding content that is locally relevant and then distribute it to their customers – at the lowest possible price. That makes it even more interesting for manufacturers, because, in addition to strengthening their relationship with specialist dealers, they’re ensuring that their own brand is presented at is best to end customers. For large companies with dealer networks, this concept will be decisive for their future positioning in the respective markets.

5. What does Munich mean to you?

Munich is of course particularly attractive for us since it’s a media center. The proximity to publishers, agencies and publishing houses is tremendously helpful for developing our product and business model. As a member of the Media Lab Bayern fellowship program, Munich is also where we received our first funding. Munich is also David’s homebase and, as a top travel hub, is happily used by Berlin-based Christian as a reason for an increasing number of business trips.

“We’d happily accept the unicorn label”

6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?

We’re primarily aiming for healthy and continuous growth and want to give our partners stable and reliable business. That means we’re counting on the market for digital content marketing to grow as forecasted and on being able to quickly upscale our partner network thanks to a solid foundation when we get to that point. If the strategy works, we’d happily accept the unicorn label — and would still share our experience at an Epic Fail Night.

7. Isar River or the English Garden?

No question about it: Isar! More specifically, the northern part after the weir. Even at the height of summer, it’s not too busy and there are amazing coves for swimming, having a barbecue and relaxing. You can get there on a bike in twenty minutes and adding a cold beer after work makes it a mini vacation.