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Berlin to go, english edition, 01/2016

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STARTUP A DIGITAL CASH

STARTUP A DIGITAL CASH REGISTER A point of sale system with an integrated online shop – the Berlin startup Inventorum simplifies digital business processes for retailers Berlin inspired founder Christoph Brem to try something new: He created Inventorum, an iPad-based point of sale (POS) system specially designed for stationary retailers. The app is more than a cash register, though, as retailers can also use the software developed by Brem’s Berlin startup to handle their entire business, including inventory management, accounting, customer relations and web shop services. In the summer of 2012, when Christoph Brem moved his family to Berlin after 16 years of launching successful startups in the USA, he knew he had found the perfect location to live and work: “Berlin was an inspiration,” explains the founder and managing director of Inventorum. After the move, the idea of creating an iPad-based POS and inventory management system for the retail sector quickly became even more than that. Brem has high praise for Berlin, especially for its high quality of life and affordable cost of living, but also in particular for the networks available to startups in the capital: “Within a very short period, I was able to find people who believed in my idea and were willing to invest risk capital.” One of them was the wellknown Business Angel Michael Brehm, with whom the Bavarianborn Brem founded Inventorum in Berlin in early 2013. retailers benefit additionally from the opportunity to access new forms of commerce without having to grapple with complex and expensive IT solutions: “All processes run seamlessly, synchronously and across all channels.” Since its founding, Inventorum has undergone solid growth as 600 paying customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are now using the iPad-based POS system. The Berlin startup was also able to attract new investors with its vision of uniting the future of local retailers in one simple app; in addition to venture capital entrepreneur Dr. Max Iann, Funke Digital and Berliner Volksbank Ventures also got on board as partners. And, seeing as things were getting a bit cramped for Inventorum’s 37 employees, they rented out additional space at the Technology and Innovation Park on Voltastraße in Berlin. Looking to expand even further in 2016, the company has its eyes set on attracting customers first in the EU and then in Asia. es From wine merchants to paper supply stores: Brem’s business software is specifically tailored to small retailers. In taking this approach, his startup occupied a niche. “While a number of digital POS systems already exist for the restaurant industry, we’re the only ones in Germany to offer such solutions for local retailers,” explains the entrepreneur, who just happens to come from a family of retailers. The Inventorum app turns an iPad into a cockpit that retailers can use to manage their business. It integrates a POS system with all popular payment methods such as credit cards, invoices and PayPal as well as inventory management, customer service and accounting. Users can also activate a web shop with little effort and even connect automatically to online marketplaces such as eBay. According to Brem, The founders of Inventorum, Michael Brehm (l) and Christoph Brem (r). All Photos: Inventorum 28 BERLIN TO GO

NETWORK THE SCIENCE OF BEAUTY Swiss Cosmeceuticals manages its European business from Berlin, where it’s also creating a high-quality spa retreat All Photos: Swiss Cosmeceuticals The Swiss cosmetics company Swiss Cosmeceuticals opened in mid-2015 its first office in Berlin and is currently setting up a branch to manage its business on the European market. A team of 13 employees now works in offices on Potsdamer Platz. Roughly 100 jobs are planned in the medium term, and the task of these employees will be to establish the la clé brand worldwide. Swiss Cosmeceuticals has ambitious plans, and in a city like Berlin, nothing is impossible. The Swiss company was founded in Appenzell and is closely tied to the biography of its founder Masha Pavlovic. As a successful businesswoman, Pavlovic has lived in a variety of international contexts. On her business travels, she was often unable to find cosmetic products that provided a clear and transparent list of their ingredients. Drawing on these experiences, she decided to take things into her own hands and went on to launch the world’s first beauty society for successful modern women. She worked together with scientists and experts to develop products that offer a high degree of quality and transparency. Driven by her passion and attention to detail, Pavlovic sought to list all ingredients openly alongside the reasons why they were used. As she argues, knowing the ingredients and their effects is “the key to individual well-being.” The idea for la clé – French for “the key” – was born. Since that moment, Swiss Cosmeceuticals has built la clé into a global luxury cosmetic brand that offers more than just cosmetic care products. The company provides exclusive spas and a unique knowledge platform covering the subjects of beauty, skin care and success, while also using a unique distribution model. From the very beginning, it was clear to the founders and management team – which includes Pavlovic, her husband Jean-Paul and Fabian Keller as CEO – that a luxury brand would thrive in metropolitan areas. In 2013, Swiss Cosmeceuticals undertook a comparison of various candidate cities and ultimately decided in 2014 in favor of Berlin. In 2015, they opened their office in the German capital. For CEO Fabian Keller, Berlin has the best pool of professionals in any major city. Here, he was able to find dedicated and highly educated individuals eager to create something new and use their own creativity to move beyond existing ways of thinking. According to Mr. Keller, a lifestyle brand “must be present in a modern, hip city. And Berlin is definitely both,” he argues. The city also has a positive and charismatic appeal to countries in Asia, which is a very important market for Swiss Cosmeceuticals. The Asian market is also one of the key reasons for setting up offices on Potsdamer Platz. Indeed, as an international attraction, Potsdamer Platz is a popular site for Asians visiting Berlin. Fabian Keller explains the decision to set up shop in Berlin by pointing to the cosmopolitan and international flair of Potsdamer Platz. Swiss Cosmeceuticals has big plans for its Berlin office. Their European business – which they also see as including Middle Eastern markets – will be managed from here, and roughly 25% of its global sales are expected to come from Europe. In addition, over 100 new employees will join the team by 2017. Professionals are being sought especially in the areas of sales, product development and project management. In the coming year, the company will open its exclusive la clé spa at Potsdamer Platz, the first to be found at a European hotspot. This roughly 300 m 2 flagship spa will provide a special refuge where customers from all over the world can get to know la clé care products and maybe even network, which would be very much in the spirit of the founder, who sees her company as a holistic platform for the modern woman. at The Swiss Cosmeceuticals team in its office at Potsdamer Platz. BERLIN TO GO 29

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