© Together

Together: “We are the iPhone of meeting software”

Digital meetings have now become standard, but that doesn't mean they always run smoothly. This can be down to the participants, but all too often the software used lacks the right tools. Christoph Kappes wants to change this with "Together" - in this interview, he explains what makes his solution special.

Munich Startup: What does your startup Together do? What problem do you solve?

Christoph Kappes, Together: Todate, there is no tool that allows you to do what you need in business: talk and write together so that everything is legally compliant, business secrets are protected and the results are traceable. Providers such as Microsoft are subject to data protection concerns and have backdoors, others lack important parts, and messengers and boards are not well suited for sustainable communication. That is our starting point.

Together is an intelligent meeting hub that focuses on interactive collaboration in such a way that legally compliant results are achieved:

  • Collaborative writing allows everyone to get involved – e.g. in the agenda, but also in brainstorming sessions and minutes. This enables better quality results. And it also leads to coordinated and better legitimized decisions.
  • We are improving collaboration with AI, for example by correcting logs and enabling prompting in the group. To ensure that this is 100% GDPR-compliant, we also rely on German AI from Aleph Alpha.
  • We help in constellations where trust is weak. These occur in small constellations, such as committees, health, authorities, consulting. But also in large constellations: overarching projects, consortiums, condominiums, joint ventures, corporations. We support trust with identity checks via video ID, make documents verifiable (electronic signature), allow pseudonymous use via wallet and enable extended voting as with a board or other committee template. And all of this is optional, you can also chat away as a crocodile37.
  • We have a whole conference floor for everyone so that communication can be organized functionally (project A, customer C, café). And you know where your colleagues are and have short distances. This makes us interesting for distributed organizations with hundreds of people.

Together wants to put collaboration at the center

Munich Startup: But that already exists!

Christoph Kappes: Video conferencing software is still at a low level of maturity. Physical speaking is being replaced by digital speaking and is being “shared” and flanged a little. The concepts come from video telephony hardware. Writing as a cultural form is not included, but rather flanged on – at MS Teams you can see this in the low use of Word collaboratively in the cloud. And since collaboration needs a corresponding culture, development is at a standstill. But talking about what has been written and writing down what has been discussed – they belong together! You formulate when you think and when you write, your thoughts become clearer. That’s why text collaboration can improve concepts, brainstorming sessions, agendas and minutes. But there are also infinitely more cases where collaborative writing improves quality, is faster and at the same time creates more legitimacy because everyone has been able to participate. In this way, learners can develop tasks and become teachers, and lawyers can work together paragraph by paragraph.

All the parts are already available somewhere, but nowhere from a single source and so well integrated, so usable even in larger and/or less trusting constellations and with benefits in seamless, elegant user journeys. Perhaps you could say that we are the iPhone of meeting software. With us, you can introduce yourself to each other, sign an NDA and then create a project description together, which you can send to everyone with a single click. And at an attractive price: a seat with 5 rooms costs a good 15 euros a month, which is a bargain for a German solution.

“Many have resigned themselves to the fact that meetings have too few results”

Munich Startup: What is your founding story?

Christoph Kappes: As a digital manager in many companies, I have seen that the reality is not as fancy as digital people imagine. Many have resigned themselves to the fact that meetings have too few results, that their calendars are full and their heads are already buzzing on Monday evenings. Everyone knows how bad meeting culture can be when it comes to minutes, for example, and how much it costs in terms of money and loss of productivity. As a crisis manager, I have even seen how meetings as the “heart” of the company can be the cause of the crisis. And since I have been able to learn how to improve management and meeting culture in many companies myself, I have poured my small toolbox into a tool. Of course, the tool is no substitute for people’s attitude, but it makes it much easier to achieve good results that are accepted without nagging.

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

Christoph Kappes: We spent four years designing and developing it. The concept developed logically and organically: first, the core was collaborative working, then the “floor” and the “trust” features were added, and a “soft” dimension also developed so that we could get out of the silos and counteract isolation. That’s why, after two years, we’ve relaunched the technology and replaced it in the meantime, e.g. we’ve replaced the video service. Now it is important to win new customers and listen to them well.

Together: Profitable in one year

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

Christoph Kappes: We want to be profitable in a year’s time and then we will become a globally relevant player. But I have to be honest, considering the global situation, I’d rather think one size smaller now.

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

Christoph Kappes: Our core team is a German-speaking team of people who get on well together – that is very helpful for an innovative product. We are based all over Germany, not just in Munich. As an ex-Hamburger, I live here in Munich, but so far I’ve only known Munich from interim mandates, but hardly the startup scene. But I’m looking forward to it.

Munich Startup: Hidden Champion or Shooting Star?

Christoph Kappes: If you’re successful, you’re not hidden in your market. And if star, then rising.