1. Why did you found your startup, which problem do you address and how do you solve it?
We solve the “Crisis in craftsmen-resources”! – The craft sector in renovation is a highly fragmented market with more than 140 bn. EUR volume in Germany, a lacking data exchange and inefficient working methods due to mainly small sized businesses. It is difficult to book craftsman capacities as there is no convenient way of designing and ordering a renovation. This problem is solved by covering the entire customer journey and offering the craftsman-service and the materials as a package. For craftsmen, Myster is THE platform for efficient, more profitable value creation.
2. What gave you the idea to found Myster GmbH?
It happened by coincidence. In the summer 2016 the management consultancy team of Perpetuo GmbH participated in a business development workshop of a major lighting manufacturer. Among other things the question was raised of how customers will place orders for handicrafts in the future and how the desire for convenience will affect the handicraft market. Mirco Grübel couldn’t understand why a proper solution of UBERising the handicrafts market didn’t exist yet and was driven from the beginning by the mission to “make a renovation-order as easy as a taxi ride-order to the train station”.
3. What is special about your business-model, what are you doing differently?
EASY ORDERING – Myster means “One Contact & One Contract”. Customers are able to bundle the effort to one vertical partner, supported by a digital user experience.
LESS COSTS & HIGHER REVENUE– For craft companies, Myster’s online focus enables economies of scale which they cannot reach themselves. Technological innovations such as cloud computing, AI solutions and self-service modules allow us to substantially reduce manual efforts.
OMNICHANNEL – Most use cases of Myster take place in a digital way. To complete the offering, two Point-of-Sales-Concepts were implemented. The so-called Myster-Box is the own showroom concept, which runs in Dortmund (next to HQ) and ran for 9 months as concept proof in Hamburg’s Harbour City. Secondly, the so-called Myster-Spot is a shop-in-shop-concept, already running and scaling in the field.
DIRECT LOGISTICS – Myster earns a cut in the craftsmen services and also earns from direct commercial and logistical connections to producers of floors, wallpapers, etc. Material, which is ordered for renovations, is delivered directly from the manufacturer onto the construction site.
4. Which were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome in the beginning?
Certainly, one of the biggest challenges was the step into operations. In the beginning, with little manpower, it was a big challenge to serve the customer’s needs efficiently. Today, Myster has reached the critical size to scale up, which the company is doing successfully. As startup, founded in Dortmund, another challenge was to raise money away from the main startup ecosystems in Germany/Europe. Now, as our volume and success becomes more visible, we start to overcome this challenge, as we just have closed a Pre-A series.
5. What was the most valuable advice somebody gave to you during your foundation phase?
The recommendation of a wholesale manager to get directly in touch with material manufacturers. The direct contact to corporations, seeking new, more efficient sales channels, became one of the strategic pillars on which Myster’s business model lays.
6. What was your greatest success so far?
Myster acquired hundreds of dry construction-, floor-, and wall-construction partners in a multitude of craft businesses spread across Germany, formed seven strategic partnerships with renowned manufacturers and successfully proofed the Myster-Box concept by opening a pop-up store in Hamburg HafenCity and running the concept in the heart of Dortmund.
7. Why are you on Startbase?
Myster welcomes the network-idea of forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are interested in sharing disruptive ideas and jointly working on lasting solutions. Building valuable relationships is deeply entrenched in our market model as well as being up to date with the latest industry and technological development and events which enable us to think further outside the box.
8. What would you recommend other founders?
A scalable model is one of the elementary recipes to success. Addressing and involving main market players is crucial for building an effective market model. Furthermore, cooperations support business models in taking off after having proved the MVP. Here, a clear focus is crucial.
9. What is your biggest need/your next challenge?
Over the next few months, Myster will be moving into the newly formed Coworking-Space in the city center of Dortmund called “NoBuzzwords #G3TSH1TD0NE”. Within that space, Myster plans, in cooperation with Perpetuo GmbH, to create an ecosystem of forward-thinking Startups and SMEs which are open to discuss disruptive business models in Proptech, share ideas and work on accelerating their business. Another big need is to raise capital within the scale-phase of Myster, as the business is growing significantly.
10. Let´s say, you are the Governing Mayor of Dortmund for one day, what would you change?
Adding tax supports for founders and dedicating budgets to raise founder spirit in the municipality. On top of this, not only supporting founders in general, but also supporting founder heroes (very successful, promising business models, like Myster 😉 ) of a city is important to create stories to motivate potential founders.
In addition, Myster would like to establish structures to welcome investors (their local branches) in the specific city.