What a Ride! How the ZOLLHOF Startups Experienced 2021
by Paula Kopp
As 2021 is coming to an end we asked our ZOHO startups how this year went for them. All agreed on the fact that it has been quite a crazy, never-ending rollercoaster ride. While we all sometimes can feel a little stuck in the second year of a global pandemic, our startups could not be stopped. We’ve seen them grow, not only in terms of funding and team size but also personally.
Take a glimpse into the past 12 months with 9 inspiring startup teams — from social startups to mobility scale-ups.
Aelius Förderwerk e.V.
Aeilus is a social startup with the goal to support, mentor and inspire young people and create equal opportunities within the German education system. The team describes the organization as: young, social and non-profit. You can also add: successful. They couldn’t even choose what their most significant accomplishment was this year. What do you think: is it the biggest funding approval ever, their social impact certification or maybe their current donation campaign in collaboration with SAT.1?
Welcome to Nuremberg! Aponia is a sustainable same-day-delivery-service for medicine. Their mission is to connect local pharmacies, customers and bike couriers and deliver pharmaceutical products at your doorstep — within less than 3 hours. The Munich-based startup launched in Nuremberg this year which (besides having received funding) has been their biggest milestone. Generally, expansion was Aponia’s motto. They added two new full-time members, two new working students and 15 new riders to their team and they keep going — their biggest learning: Never stop hiring.
The idea for meinegemeinde.digital was born during the #VirusvsWir hackathon in march of 2020. They took the pandemic as a chance to drive forward digitization in religious communities and after finding together last year and optimizing internal processes, the team could focus much more on tasks this year. They completed a joint testing phase for their app in South Germany including 40 church congregations, planning to cover even more next year. By user testing their new native app they are currently building the technical foundation of any future successes. The team realized that their app is also usable in other contexts and as a consequence they keep making new friends. The KDFB (Katholischer Deutscher Frauenbund) is one of them, check out this video.
The mental healthcare app mentalis provides seamless post-clinical-care for patients recently released from an inpatient stay in a clinic. Check out this blog post to learn more about their successful launch. For the team 2021 was an intense and awesome year. They proved that when you “just do things” you can achieve anything and they couldn’t pick one single highlight. Some milestones include launching as a medical device and receiving the first signed customer contracts. Without the great cooperation within the team they built this would not have been possible. The team tripled and “is the best team it could be”. Awww!
Smart City System
Smart City System produces smart parking sensors which wirelessly transmit the occupancy status of parking areas in real time. The startup was part of our first batch ever and they successfully keep growing and growing. Eventually Smart City Systems had to be restructured this year. The larger a company becomes, the more complex the interpersonal challenges become. Thanks to the restructuring the individual tasks have become clearer and leading positions act more as coaches and listeners now. The cohesion in the team has grown strongly. This year was challenging, volatile but progressive and thanks to excellent team collaboration Smart City System could outperform their schedule and many of their customers want to expand their cooperation.
VITAS offers an AI based voice assistant that can be used across industries. This year they launched their new voice assistant for SME and the team grew from 7 to 18 people. Their most important learning: Everything is possible, be prepared! We sure are!
Zesavi offers an in-house online platform that allows people at any level of an organization to easily create and share 3-minute video tutorials on their own. This year the startup developed from a team with an idea to a small business with considerable revenue and operations. A journey they really enjoy to experience. They also signed their first long-term contract. Happy customers are most important for the team and their number one learning this year is to never stop talking to the users.
More updates from the ZOHO ecosystem:
CarOnSale was founded in 2018 and started right here — in the holy halls of ZOLLHOF. The startup provides a digital marketplace for B2B car trading. This year they received a $60 Million funding by Stripes and HV Capital and we couldn’t be any prouder, sending our congrats to Berlin!
While still keeping an office at ZOLLHOF FlixMobility acquired the American Icon Greyhound Lines Inc. this year. Greyhound is the largest provider of long-distance bus transportation in the United States and thanks to the acquisition FlixMobility will get a foothold across the big pond and meet the increased demand for affordable and sustainable mobility solutions in North America. Curious to learn more about the company? Check out this video and learn what FlixBus Founder and CIO Daniel Krauss told us during his visit at ZOHO in 2019.
Thank you to all the startups for your exciting insights and we can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for you! Happy holidays and a good start into the new year. All the best, stay healthy and take care.
Paula works in Marketing & Communications at ZOLLHOF and is studying International Cultural and Business Studies at the University of Passau. When she’s not writing blog or social media posts you’ll probably find her writing on her bachelor’s thesis in American Cultural and Media Studies