Anyone who has a child knows what it’s like to look for the right stroller: a car seat and a stroller or a combo design – plus a lightweight option for travelling? After just a few years, the stroller has done its job and needs to either be sold or given away. With their subscription plan, Strollme aims to radically simplify all things strollers: Depending on the age of the child, customers receive the right stroller for a monthly fee. In our interview, the founders told us how business is going with their stroller subscription.
Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Strollme: We’re Timon Beutel (33) and Sebastian Reichelt (32). Together, we founded Strollme – your stroller subscription – in early 2020. We offer the greenest strollers in the world based on a subscription concept, which is basically a leasing plan for strollers. Timon is a freelance UX/UI designer, Sebastian is a key account manager at Ralph Lauren. As a team, we cover both key areas of product and operations. We also have support from colleagues for social media, advertising, PR and logistics.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Strollme: Timon has been a dad for a few weeks now, and Sebastian will be in September. Something we’ve both already noticed is that having kids is expensive. Especially in the beginning, you have to make major investments, and a stroller is right up there at the top of the list. You can quickly end up with four-digit prices. At the same time, it’s not particularly sustainable to produce a new stroller for every child. Roughly 800,000 babies are born each year in Germany, but about 840,000 strollers are sold. That doesn’t make sense to us and we started looking for a sustainable solution. The result: Strollme. Parents and parents-to-be receive the greenest strollers in the world from us with our subscription plan. That means they can lease a brand-new stroller for 19.50 euros a month or a used stroller for 12.50 euros a month. We offer designs for three different age groups, covering the ages from 0 to 4 years. As soon as a child grows out of the first design, the parents are sent a bigger stroller insert. They can continue to use the frame of the stroller thanks to our modular system.
As soon as the stroller is no longer needed, our customers send the complete stroller back to us and that ends the subscription. We recondition the returned strollers and put them back in circulation as used strollers. We buy the strollers from the Dutch brand “Greentom.”
Strollme requires a lot of working capital
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Strollme: There aren’t any subscription plans in this form for strollers in Germany yet. There are similar concepts on the market, but they’re only meant for short-term rent – for example when grandparents come to visit.
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Strollme: 1. Customer payment practices. We’re constantly optimizing the payment options that are offered.
2. Logistics. Thanks to the modular system, every stroller is made up of individual parts that are available in different colors. We always need to make sure everything is packaged properly and sent to our customers. At the same time, the corona crisis led to delivery delays and missing deliveries in the beginning. We have it under control now with a new logistics partner.
3. Financing: We buy the strollers from the manufacturer, which means we require a lot of working capital. At the moment, we’re completely bootstrapped, but are looking for seed financing to be able to scale faster.
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Strollme: We’re very pleased. We spent last year gathering lots of quantitative and qualitative feedback and conducting comprehensive testing with our MVP, which is why we were able to take off at full speed early this year. At the moment, we have a high double-digit number of customers with strollers and the churn rate is promising.
“Fear or too great a need for security obstruct innovation”
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Strollme: Due to the current corona crisis, we unfortunately can’t really benefit from startup events or public pitches. But in general, we feel very much at home here.
Munich Startup: Risk or security?
Strollme: Risk. I think people with a great need for security will have a tough time starting a company. Especially in the beginning, everything is based on hypotheses that have to be proven first. There’s always the risk of your capital suddenly disappearing because an idea didn’t work. Fear or too great a need for security definitely obstruct innovation.