© Photo: Shopvibes

Shopvibes: More Data Exchange for SMEs

With its Software-as-a-Service solution, Shopvibes is focusing on the digitization of sales processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It’s an area where extensive Excel spreadsheets are still often used and interfaces are in short supply. In an interview with Munich Startup, Shopvibes founders Daniel Wimmer (CEO) and Philipp Schlieker (CTO) explain how their startup can help these companies and which challenges they’ve faced since the company was founded in 2020.

Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem are you solving? 

Daniel Wimmer: We’re digitizing the collaboration and all processes between manufacturers and their trading partners on a central platform. We’ve created a Software-as-a-Service solution that primarily small and medium-sized manufacturers, brands and suppliers can use to digitally manage their products and connect all sales partners directly.  

This allows us to solve several challenges for our customers: Until now, data and media have often been managed in Excel spreadsheets and decentralized folder structures. Consequently and due to a lack of transparency and options, the quality of the data is often not adequate for today’s requirements in multi-channel sales. Communication and data exchange take place primarily by e-mail, telephone and fax, because it’s either not possible to establish interfaces in the outdated systems or every interface with every partner has to be set up and operated individually.  

With our digital data management, we make it possible for the first time to process all data centrally and collaboratively. With numerous features, our solution supports the validation and optimization of data to enable the optimal presentation of products in retail. 

API-first approach 

With our API-first approach, we become the central interface to the outside world for our customers. This means the exchange of all data can be automated without the time-consuming task of having to recreate each connection.  

With our central platform, we enable high data quality, the highest possible degree of automation and create transparency. This saves our customers time and manual effort and enables resource-independent scaling. 

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box! 

Philipp Schlieker: So far, solutions have clearly targeted enterprise customers and only solve one part of the entire process chain. For small and medium-sized enterprises, it makes neither economic nor operational sense to purchase and operate these kinds of systems. 

With our lean all-in-one solution, we make it possible for the first time for small and medium-sized companies to digitize their sales processes in a cost-efficient way. Our solution is ready for use within a few days and without the use of the customer’s IT resources and usually pays for itself within a few weeks. With our intuitive user interface and onboarding service, we support our customers right from the start in making optimal use of our solution. 

Shopvibes: “Many manufacturers weren’t aware of the importance of good product data” 

Munich Startup: What’s your founding story? 

Daniel Wimmer: The idea for Shopvibes came from my personal experience in a previous job at a large online retailer. I worked in purchasing there, which put me right at the interface between suppliers and the online retailer. The processes were often performed in a very analog manner, and a lot was still based on MS Excel and e-mail. At the same time, many manufacturers weren’t aware of the importance of good product data and were often unable to meet our data requirements. Back then, we set up our own team just to manage the exchange of data. In many conversations in the early days of Shopvibes, we realized that this is exactly where we needed to start with the manufacturers in order to have the greatest possible impact with our solution. 

Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far? 

Philipp Schlieker: As a founder, you encounter new challenges every single day that you’ve never experienced before – but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting! The biggest challenge for us is prioritizing correctly in order to make our solution even more valuable for our customers every day. 

The biggest challenge so far was getting our financing round through in the middle of the crisis-ridden year 2022. We were fortunate to find investors who pay little attention to the hype of previous years or to the current uncertainty in the market and instead focus on sustainable factors for their investment, such as a strong team and a product that delivers real added value for customers. 

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years? 

Daniel Wimmer: This year, with help from the capital that was recently raised, we’re going to invest heavily in our team and in particular in our growth and our product. On the one hand, we want to digitally cover the entire relationship between suppliers and retailers with our solution, and on the other hand, we see enormous potential in helping suppliers with their data quality so they can optimally position their products in the market. 

In five years, we will be the leading solution for small and medium-sized manufacturers in Europe for covering digital cooperation with their retailers. 

Very close startup community in Munich 

Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far? 

Daniel Wimmer: In addition to being our home, Munich is indeed the perfect startup location for us. The rankings, in which Munich is rightly always very high on the list, confirm our experience. 

There’s a very close startup community here, where even founders who are already much further along than us are very helpful and can give valuable input. In particular, the TUM network offers many opportunities. Philipp and I originally both studied at TUM, and Philipp took part in Manage & More, which led him to the Xplore program. That’s how we got to know each other and decided to join forces to promote Shopvibes. Since then, we’ve benefited from many other grants and programs, especially Xpreneurs. But also from other programs, such as the LMU EC or the Start?Zuschuss! program of the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs have helped us significantly on our journey. 

And last but not least, with its high quality of living and talent pool, Munich is an excellent location for finding the most talented individuals and for convincing them to get off to a flying start with us. 

Munich Startup: Hidden champion or shooting star? 

Philipp Schlieker: We think our solution addresses a global problem faced potentially by every small and medium-sized company in Europe and around the world that sells its goods through third parties. We’re already active with our solution in several European countries and still have great ambitions! 

Regina Bruckschlögl

Nach eigenen Startup-Erfahrungen blickt sie als Redakteurin von Munich Startup nun aus einer anderen Perspektive auf die Münchner Startup-Szene – und entdeckt dabei jeden Tag, wie vielfältig das Münchner Ökosystem ist. Startup Stories, die erzählt werden wollen!

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