Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Without explicitly planning to do so, Matthias Kramer and Marc Schlegel followed the principles of the lean strategy and their success proves them right in doing so. Yesterday at the meetup of the Lean Startup Circles Rhein-Main in our Frankfurt Ostend office, the two former bankers described the way they took since they first had their idea to start a business together.
Even the two founders Matthias Kramer and Marc Schlegel can’t hardly believe the story they tell. Two young men – their heads filled with creative ideas – get to know each other working for Deutsche Bank. They believe there has got to be more to life than having a stable job which allows you to pay your living expenses. Months later, the pair comes up with a plan and decides to take a big risk. The plan to found a start-up to sell a product which moves people and which brings them closer together: a dating app. An app that offers more than Tinder and its comrades. But then everything turned out very differently.
When Schlegel and Kramer tell this story, there is always laughter – just like yesterday at the Lean Startup Circle Meetup which was once again held in the byte5 office. The two founders say they have never followed the principles of the lean methods consciously but still ended up doing a lot of things lean experts would have advised them to do. Lizza’s key to success lies in its flexibility and its founders’ talent to respond to clients’ wishes.
A basic principle Kramer and Schlegel learnt in the early beginning: “When you’re experiencing a problem, turn it into a party”. When they started their professional journey in the spring of 2015, they invited friends over and introduced them to the concept of the originally planned dating app, but also to 30 further ideas for a start-up. Their plan was to just discuss ideas and gather feedback. Kramer served his famous linseed pizza for this occasion which he cooked regularly after switching to a low-carb diet due to a sport injury and which he served for what felt like the one hundredth time that night. “You should do something with that recipe!”, he was told again and again. Until the next morning, this advice felt more like a distraction to which kept them from pitching more ideas to their friends Schlegel and Kramer. But when the next morning came, they had a very different view on this advice and the supposed crazy idea suddenly did not seem so crazy anymore.
A picture-perfect start-up story followed which the two founders have told to the press, on TV and on the radio countless times. They bought a food truck and advertised their new low-carb pizza at several events in the Rhein-Main region. After a few months, a lot of customers came by mostly for the dough which they wanted to make themselves at home. The recipe has since been adjusted and improved regurlarly. The two founders also needed to get to know the gastronomy industry. After a financially bad year, they ventured to have their product beta-tested. They sent 1200 packs of dough to voluntary testers which had applied online. And Schlegel and Kramer were showered with praise. Spontaneously, they decided to apply for the TV show “Höhle der Löwen” (the German version of “Dragon’s Den”) and they were taken on. After the programme had aired, Lizza set a record in the fall of 2016 – after only about a year after its founding – when 23.000 orders were placed.
The fact that their decisions were always lean and flexible contributes to Lizza staying on its track and continuously extending its success, production, team and sales.
Why is it important to us to tell successful stories like Matthias and Marc’s? The team of byte5 is convinced of the lean strategy and we have learnt again and again that when working with web projects, it is relevant to stay flexible and creative in both the thinking and the working process. Lean Web Tactics make this possible for our clients. With Lean Web Tactics, your web project can be similarly successful as Lizza’s founding story – even if you can’t eat your final product with tomato sauce and gratinated with a whole lot of cheese in the end.