We speak with Martin Edenhofer, the CEO and founder of helpdesk Software, Zammad. Read about how the business was started and their plans for growth.
Tell us about the business, why was it started?
I have always had problems with service providers, whether it was the internet connection or an incorrect order. The result was always the same: I would call the service partner several times, but I was never able to get any qualified information about my process, nor did the call centre agents know anything about the current status of my request. With the current increase in e-commerce I saw the opportunity to help both the customers and the enterprises with a new solution: Zammad. With this software, customers get results faster and agents have an easier time processing.
What challenges have you overcome?
Right from the start (out of personal conviction) we decided to use the “Open Source” business model. From today’s point of view it was a good decision (and yes, we would do it again). Still, this business model provides the challenge that you need to release a fully comprehensive product first, and you will only generate revenue in the subsequent years. That’s because with Open Source, users first install it, use it, and then become customers years later. With an open-source product, you start by creating the market, which then “only” generates sales in later on. On the other hand, being open-source often results in a larger user base, so it pays off in the long run.
How have you adapted your business with Covid-19?
We haven’t! For us, Covid-19 has not brought any change. Our customer segment is growing because of Covid-19, so today we can take advantage of our lead and reap what we’ve sown. Also, we have been working from home since the beginning, which was a must for us from Day 1, because this is the only way to get the best staff. This also means that we didn’t have to adapt to a new remote work routine – for us, it was already normal.
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What are your plans for growth?
We have grown over 80% every year for the past 4 years. We currently have over 700,000 downloads and over 800 paying customers. We are not supported by debt capital. Instead, our most important asset is the motivation that results from our values (joy of work, sustainable action). Which, from our point of view, you can only achieve without external investors. Therefore, we will continue to look forward to the future, but we do not have exorbitant or unrealistic expectations. It may sound crazy, but for us it is the right way, and one that has worked great so far.