Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do?
Armin Hierstetter: We’re Retroplace.com, which is Christian Corre, 43 and me, Armin Hierstetter, 50. We founded Retroplace – your marketplace for video and computer games – in 2018. On Retroplace, every user can buy and sell games, accessories, game guides, soundtracks, etc. – regardless of whether the items are brand new or 50 years old.
On top of that, we offer ambitious gamers and collectors a free collection management tool and one of the world’s top game databases with roughly 140,000 games for more than 150 consoles and computers.
The idea originally came from Christian (who also happened to own one of the coolest video game stores in Munich, “Nippondreams,” for more than a decade). But because he has zero coding skills, he asked if I wanted to get on board. I did. And it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship…but now we’re getting off topic…
“On Retroplace, you can list your game in less than a minute”
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Christian Corre: You would think it wasn’t the case, but: Before we came along, there wasn’t a marketplace specifically for video games. In the world. We’re the first and so far only marketplace exclusively for video games.
Our aim was to create the marketplace I had always wanted. Which is why you get the bonus collection management tool. And the killer database.
Munich Startup: A marketplace for video games? Really? That’s a great idea. Did Amazon and eBay go out of business or something?
Armin Hierstetter: Ha. Ha. Very funny…but seriously: Amazon charges a 15 percent commission plus 95 US cents (0.81 euro cents) for every item sold. Together – especially for the lower priced used games – that quickly adds up to a 25 percent commission and more! “That’s way too expensive!” is what we thought, this can definitely be done better and more affordably. We charge seven percent without any additional fees or any other hidden costs.
Besides: Listing items on eBay and Amazon is extremely complicated and takes forever. On Retroplace, you can list your game in less than a minute. And that isn’t a slogan, it really works that way.
Christian Corre: We’re just as proud of our collection management tool: We were the first website to integrate a barcode scanner as a web app that the user can use to scan in their games in no time. Right there on the website. With your smartphone. Without having to download an app. And we’re still pioneers in that respect.
“We know that we have by far the best product out there”
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
Armin Hierstetter: For the platform to be insanely great, it needs a database that basically has every game that has ever been released. Retroplace has to know every game, because only then can it do the work for owners wanting to sell their games who would otherwise have to enter all the details. It took more than a year to do all the research, but it was worth the effort: Retroplace has one of the world’s best and most comprehensive video game databases, which is constantly updated to include new items. Lots of users also help us straighten out errors in the datasets and enter new releases. The community works really well in that aspect!
Christian Corre: Getting your name out there is obviously an enormous challenge for a platform like us. Especially when you don’t have a large marketing budget at your disposal due to a lack of investors. We know that we have by far the best product out there, but we also need to see how we can communicate that message to a broad audience. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, because despite the ongoing retro hype, we haven’t been able to convince the media to give us coverage, even though we’re seriously sexy. Okay, Armin not so much. But Retroplace as a startup is pretty darn hot …
Armin Hierstetter: We’re also not just riding the retro wave. You can now sell everything on Retroplace, including brand new games, new accessories and so on. But we did think the subject would be welcomed with more open arms by editorial offices than has been the case. It’s only worked with some trade journals here and there – it hasn’t become a topic for the mainstream press yet. Maybe we’re still too small?!
“Not networked very much”
Munich Startup: Apropos small: How is business going?
Christian Corre: The marketplace went online in mid-2018 and, as of today, approximately 1,000 orders are made on Retroplace each month and sellers make roughly 35,000 dollars (30,000 euros) in revenue with us. Per month.
Armin Hierstetter: And although that might sound nice: The potential is bigger by orders of magnitude! And we’re only talking about Germany. Retroplace is already available in five languages (German, English, Italian, French and Spanish), but we’re currently focusing on the German market. A lot can still be done!
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Armin Hierstetter: Without any beer gardens – it would be rough…
Christian Corre: Where we need to do more, because we’re not networked very much, is in the Munich startup scene. We’re missing out on second-hand experience, both the good and the bad. And there really are so many good opportunities to exchange ideas. We need to work on that…
Munich Startup: N64 or the first PlayStation?
Armin Hierstetter: What a stupid question: PlayStation, of course!
Christian Corre: What an idiotic question: N64, of course!