Ever end up wasting your time because the person you were supposed to meet didn’t show up? According to Depondo, that kind of annoying situation will soon become a thing of the past. The startup offers an internet platform where users can financially secure their appointments. If an unreliable user doesn’t show up, they pay compensation to the person left waiting. We spoke with Uwe Lätsch, co-founder of Depondo.
1. Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourself
We are Uwe (37, Product Development & Management) and Samuel (30, Software Development & Architecture), the founders of Depondo in Munich. Depondo is an internet platform where users make binding appointments with each other. Appointments become binding because they are secured with monetary coverage. That means: If one of the participants doesn’t keep the appointment or cancel with sufficient notice, we charge the agreed amount to their credit card. We then pay that compensation to the participant who was left waiting. But: Nearly 100% of the time, both participants keep the appointment or cancel with sufficient notice just because of the monetary coverage. That to us is what makes Depondo a revolutionary way to safely and reliably arrange appointments.
An appointment management platform that provides financial security
2. But that’s nothing out of the box!
According to our research, there is no comparable solution out there. There are a lot of appointment management and booking platforms already. But what makes us different is that we clearly focus on securing appointments. Instead of competing with existing providers, we rather want to be incorporated into their product as a supplementary service. We see our technology as an added advantage for all existing platforms. Their customers benefit from increased appointment reliability (nearly 100% of all appointments are kept), which leaves them more satisfied and loyal to the company long-term. Here’s an example from our classified ad area of business: Let’s say you’re selling a chest of drawers on a classified ad market place. Someone who is interested contacts you. You chat back and forth and make an appointment for them to see the chest of drawers. This is where Depondo comes in. So you can both rely on each other, one of you creates an appointment with Depondo. The person who creates the appointment simply sends a Depondo appointment link to the other party. All they have to do is confirm the appointment and conditions. That’s it! Now you’re both secured. None of the established classified platforms offer that service!
Depondo is banking on cooperation instead of competition
3. What are the three main ingredients in your recipe for success?
- Ingredient number one is the founding team – one that is complementary in terms of skills, gets along well and is in it with their heart and soul! That is the foundation for everything else.
- Ingredient two is permanently asking for and using user feedback. We actively learn from our users and incorporate what we learn directly into our solution.
- Ingredient number three is cooperation instead of competition. The days of going it alone are over. We believe in network economics, where we complement and enrich existing services from established providers with our product.
4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?
We’ve already gotten some really good feedback from our first friends-and-family test run. In our experience, honest and reliable people are very much willing to provide security when making appointments. In our current phase, we’re testing out different ways and channels to explain our very new idea to potential users. Because there isn’t a comparable solution on the market, Depondo will only become a realistic option for users after they’ve become familiar with the concept of securing appointments.
Startup hotbed Munich
5. What does Munich mean to you?
We established Depondo as a side project in our home of choice, Munich. Until we had our Proof of Concept, we were able to make good use of the benefits provided by Munich as a startup hotbed. An example is the support we received from the startup network Baystartup in the form of coaching and an advisor. That’s something we’re really grateful for. Because we’ve financed ourselves until now, we’re also pleased to have support from the company Friendsfactory. They’ve been helping us with their flexible and startup-friendly workspace. As a whole, good networking with friends and specialists in Munich as a startup location has allowed us to achieve quite a lot without needing to dig too deep into our pockets. The extensive offer of meetups and startup events in Munich – which you’ll also be able to secure with Depondo in the future – helps us maintain valuable communication with other founders and specialists.
“We currently see huge potential in scalability”
6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Humanity is increasingly interlinked. We all notice it in everyday life. We do more and more of our business transactions online, which then leads to real meetings with people we don’t know. That’s not always a smooth process. With Depondo, we help our customers make more secure and reliable arrangements with strangers. We bring people together who can trust each other even though they don’t know each other yet. As a digital product, Depondo aims to improve how people deal with one another. We also assert the same claim for our corporate values and business ethics. First and foremost, our product should be easy to use. In case there is a dispute, we want to treat each other fairly. We’ve set ourselves high standards, because our objective is to become the world’s first and leading platform for securing any kind of appointment. We currently see huge potential in scalability. We’ve also been working on a partner API from the very beginning in parallel to Depondo. We want to offer it as a white label solution. That will allow us to serve many different industries and markets in the B2B realm in the future, even beyond Germany. With our integration strategy, we want to be available on the right platform at the right time where users need secure appointments.
7. Hiking or beer garden?
Beer garden with a proper meal and good company –Prost!