The Munich startup Messengerpeople offers an SaaS product for messenger communication. In concrete terms, that means: When companies decide to use channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram or Viber for support, service or marketing, chances are very good they’ll end up working with the Munich-based SaaS startup. With a five million euro round of financing and 60 employees, the young company has grown significantly since its founding in 2015. Founder and CEO Franz Buchenberger answered our Seven Questions.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do?
Franz Buchenberger, Messengerpeople: We are a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider for communicating with customers through messenger apps. Although many software providers offer customer communication by email, telephone or text messaging, the platform we’ve developed is the first software solution to use the current top communication channel — messenger apps. No comparable software exists at the moment that is officially linked to the world’s most widespread messenger apps and whose use by companies complies 100% with the GDPR.
Max Tietz, Peter Pock, Kristof Nast-Kolb and I founded the company in 2015 — it was called Whatsbroadcast back then. Whatsbroadcast was the result of combining two startups that were both active in the field of messenger apps. The match was perfect. Max, Peter and Kristof are our tech geniuses and created our software with their wealth of expertise. I look back on many years of experience in developing and marketing innovative corporate software and had already been a co-founder of several companies at that point. The Messengerpeople team has now grown to approximately 60 employees, and we’re located in the heart of Munich in a beautiful old villa next to the Theresienwiese.
There also happens to be an office for rent here in case anyone is interested in moving in next door to us. We would be happy to have an innovative Munich startup for company. (More information is available here.)
“The match was perfect”
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Franz Buchenberger: Really? Then let’s keep that to ourselves. No, seriously: There’s maybe a handful of official “messenger solution providers” worldwide for WhatsApp, Facebook, Apple Business Chat and Viber.
Of that group, we’re one of the first to offer software specifically developed for messenger communication including a chatbot builder. And we’re the only ones with service that offers companies scalable customer communication using several messenger apps.
Relevance, knowledge and passion
Munich Startup: What are the three main ingredients in your recipe for success?
Franz Buchenberger: First: Being highly relevant. Eight out of ten Germans use WhatsApp pretty much daily. And more than 50 percent of customers would like companies to offer personal service using this channel. To give a concrete example, a customer might send a retailer a picture of their complaint — and then quickly receive a reply. That’s what customers want — which is why a growing number of companies are looking for a professional and legally watertight solution.
Second: Knowledge. We are working in an extremely dynamic and technically demanding market. That requires a lot of knowledge — and the willingness to always learn something new. We’ve offered messenger expertise for roughly five years. We know what’s important and can draw on a unique wealth of experience based on thousands of messenger campaigns.
Third: Passion. Everyone in the team uses messenger apps every day. The fact that it’s become so natural demonstrates how important messenger apps have become in our daily lives. That’s why we so whole-heartedly believe in our product.
Always ready to learn something new
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Franz Buchenberger: Well. Like I said, there is market demand. For example, we just recently won over TUI Deutschland as a customer. With our software solution, more than 2,000 companies have already discovered the advantages offered by apps like WhatsApp. And that number is going to grow.
The fact that our product is right at the cutting edge has been confirmed by independent bodies for several years. For example, we were voted “Innovator of the Year” by Brand Eins (2017, 2018 and 2019) three times. And Messengerpeople just recently received the Deutscher Exzellenz-Preis for the best software solution.
Munich Startup: What does Munich mean to you?
Franz Buchenberger: Munich is one of the most spectacular cities in the world to us and is also a popular location for new colleagues from abroad. The combination of recreational value with economic strength and innovation makes Munich perfect.
Our team enjoys the recreational opportunities and we like to be outdoors together, which often leads to new business approaches. And of course after Berlin, Munich has the highest density of startups to offer and is one of Germany’s innovation hubs. That makes it easy to establish interesting networks here.
Messengerpeople: “We’re not going to end up on the Epic Fail list”
Munich Startup: How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?
Franz Buchenberger: Everyone in the team has internalized the motto: “Anyone who isn’t 100% certain of being successful isn’t yet.” Messenger apps aren’t going away any time soon. There’s still a lot of potential for many years of success, and Messengerpeople is definitely at the head of the pack. We prove daily that we’re the pioneer and expert in the field of messenger communication. Deloitte put us in their “Fast 50” Top 10 of the fastest growing technology companies last year. That is one of many indicators that we’re not going to end up on the Epic Fail list.
Munich Startup: Get up early in the morning or pull all-nighters?
Franz Buchenberger: We’re all very different in the team, which is why we offer our colleagues flexible hours and home office options. One of our colleagues recently wrote on Slack: “I’ll be in the office at the usual time tomorrow — which means at 11:00 am” — and that works.
We make sure everyone can work in a way that is most productive for them. On average in the company, however, we probably have more people who prefer to get to the office a bit earlier. But we all turn into night owls during our company and team events at the very latest.