Young and looking as if they had just put down their skateboards to surf the internet quickly, these youngsters are doing big business. A former margarine factory in the Ottensen district of Hamburg is home to a global internet company that will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. Welcome to Jimdo! The company’s product is a building block that allows just about everyone to set up a technically and visually professional website even without the specialised know-how.
Going without specialists
Founded by Fridtjof Detzner, Matthias Henze and Christian Springub in 2007, the firm started from the Detzner farm near Cuxhaven. That’s where the guys spent one and a half years of their business lives and working on an idea that was highly innovative at the time. Ten years ago, people who needed a professional-looking website required an entire team of experts to take care of technology, programming, content and design. Experts had to be paid to maintain the website and keep it up to date. Commenting on the idea behind Jimdo, Detzner said: “That did not seem to make sense. After we had built hundreds of websites ourselves, we came to the conclusion that there must be an easier way for a small business, a freelancer or an association to have their own web presence. Actually anyone with a great idea should be in a position to design and maintain his own website himself.”
From building block to online shop
The resulting product is based on a concept that consists of two basic components. One is a design kit that allows anyone to design a personal website without any great technical knowledge. The other is a comprehensive service package that takes care of all related tasks which only an expert can handle: technical issues, such as hosting, software upgrades, search engine optimization and virus protection. Anyone visiting the Jimdo website will see the attractive word “free” at the start and two numbers at the end: EUR 5 and EUR 15. Whoever wants to build a website can start with Jimdo’s free offer and gets an internet presence under the Jimdo domain and the complete kit. For only EUR 5 per month, the customer gets his own domain name, as well as the entire service package. For EUR 15 per month, a user can set up an entire web shop.
20 million worldwide websites
“We launched Jimdo in 2007. It was three of us at the time. We had absolutely no advertising budget and relied fully on satisfied customers. Obviously they were really excited about the idea and kept on recommending us. This went on until we thought it’s time to leave our home and move to Hamburg,” said Detzner. The internet knows no boundaries and Jimdo’s growth has been international from the start. The trio have since morphed into a company with around 180 employees in the headquarters in Hamburg and ten more in the Tokyo branch. In 2017, Jimdo has 20 million web sites all over the world.
Technical developments going ahead
Two years ago, Jimdo won the most prestigious German awards for entrepreneurs: the German Founders Award in the category fast growing enterprises. Yet, the company still appeared to be a large community of friends and never found the time to tailor its processes and structures to its increased size. This was finally achieved last October and has resulted in cutting the Hamburg workforce by almost one quarter. However, the ongoing technical developments have not suffered. A Jimdo website looks good on a notebook or desktop PC and on any mobile device. Users need merely a standard internet browser to set it up. Many similar companies can be found in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Yet, only a few insiders know that the company logo mounted on the wall represents a true global player in its field.
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