Benedict Sebesta, Moritz Held and Matthias Rickertsen have revamped the www.productmate.de website, first launched in 2014, to help local manufacturers, concept stores and young designers market their businesses and products.
Content and direct links to online shops
New tools include a search function allowing users to filter results according to products, partner firms, ideas and regions. The new responsive design encourages users to browse on their mobile phones as well. Partners firms can find novelties such as chat support to contact Productmate staff directly.
Since the launch of the first beta version in March 2014 in Hamburg, now hailed as the home city of countless start-ups, over 500 businesses across Germany have opted for Productmate. Moritz Held, who is responsible for business development, said: “At present, we are investing most of our energy in building up content.” Users will soon be able to purchase products offered in the partner companies’ online shops.
Findeling – a platform for owner-run businesses
However, the business idea behind Productmate is not unique to the founders. Findeling, a Hamburg-based start-up, has set up a platform to shine the spotlight on owner-run design stores and bookshops throughout the year and not just in the pre-Christmas season. The founders of Findeling, Katharina Walter and Florian Schneider, launched the website in early 2015. Now users can find all kinds of interesting stores with their app, which is updated regularly and includes a shop recommender also. The new tool suggests shops suited to the customer based on the generated data.
In an interview with Hamburg News in December, Walter noted: “Last year, plenty happened in online platforms for local businesses.” Meanwhile, around 40 to 50 similar concepts exist in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Our unique selling point is the special focus on sustainable products and slow fashion.” The app uses filters and quality seals such as “bio”, “vegan”, “handmade” or “upcycling” to guide users to products and shops. The users can also follow the posted shops creating a network between owners and customers.
Move prompted by lack of space
The founders of Productmate are optimistic about the future and wish to launch internationally in the long-term. Sebesta, co-founder, said: “We are constantly expanding our portfolio to pool unique products, services and places all over the world on Productmate.” However, settling the bigger team into the new offices in Hamburg’s Altstadt is presently taking priority over any bid to go international.