From EIA to Forbes: alumni success story
Lukas and Mathias are the EIA 2017 alumni from Turin. After EIA, they continued on developing their project and this year were awarded one of the Forbes DACH organization 30 Under 30 recognitions. Their company- Vereinsplaner- now has more than 3.500 clubs as users from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Northern Italy. Their software, which is a SaaS product around financial-, member-, inventory- and other organizational features, helps these clubs in many different ways. They boast one of the most heavily trafficked blogs in this field of helping clubs with tips and tricks across the whole German-speaking market.
Link to the Forbes articles (in German):
Read their success story from our interview with Lukas in this blog to get motivated!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What are your passions in life?
Mathias (25) and I (27) both are from a small village in Austria. We both were studying at the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria but in different faculties. So, we did not really know each other before EIA. But we both had a passion for startups and we both already had a startup before EIA. The passion drives us both to build something in the software field, which is used by thousands of users – in our case with Vereinsplaner, users and clubs. We were a pretty good fit with our mindsets and our different skills in the field of Marketing (me) and development (Mathias). Our goal with Vereinsplaner is to build a mid-size company (30 to 40 employees in Linz) and be the biggest software provider for clubs in middle Europe.
Vereinsplaner is an organization and communication tool for sports clubs, choirs, bands, traditional clubs and company’s clubs. We have functions around finance, inventory, member data, cloud storage and chat.
What made you apply/join EIA? What were you expecting to get out of the program?
Our great interest in Startups. As I mentioned we both had started with our own startup before EIA already. Mathias’ was Vereinsplaner and it was for sure better than mine. So, even though we did not work at EIA together in the same Team, we learned a lot of important stuff about product-market-fit and building a successful revenue stream, which we are still using for Vereinsplaner right now. We were hoping to meet people from around the world with our mindset and passion for building a company – and exactly that we got at EIA.
How was your EIA experience? What were the most valuable takeaways and learnings, biggest challenges?
Overall, the experience at EIA was amazing. We pushed each other with motivation to the next level and learned in the theoretical parts a lot. The mentors gave us a lot of help with their experience in different fields. So, we are still sometimes taking a look into the Playbook we got at EIA, because now almost four years later we understand all the parts from a practical side, as it is part of our daily business. The biggest challenge probably was in the last 3 days when we all knew it would be soon over and, with people from far away, we will not be able to continue at this level on the project.
But Mathias and I decided to work after EIA together more and more on Vereinsplaner, even though it was not our project at EIA. We saw that we both are completely the same when it comes to a work mindset and that’s important.
What happened after EIA? How did EIA help you develop your business?
After EIA, we decided to meet each other more and more and at least do some first steps together at Vereinsplaner. It worked pretty well, so in 2018 we made the first revenue out of our SaaS business model. Step-by-step we professionalized Vereinsplaner with methods we learned at EIA and at university. We also were involved in a second startup and we both did some small work for equity investments at other startups. We built our small company-empire and fined university and focus right now 100% on the growth of Vereinsplaner. Here we have already 3.500 clubs as user/customer from 5 different German-speaking countries.
How was the impact of EIA on your career?
As I mentioned previously, the largest influence was the people we met there. Doesn’t matter if it was the other students, or the mentors or the investors, we learned tonnes from every single person. And the fact that Mathias and I got to know each other through EIA is by far the most important outcome.
Can you tell us more about what happened with the startup you’ve created during EIA? What’s the current situation with Vereinsplaner? Any news to share with us and our audience?
After EIA, Vereinsplaner grew continuously month-by-month. More clubs from over 100 different fields started to use our software. We were awarded by many organizations: App of the year in Austria, 3rd Place Young Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 Under 30 (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and lately got a 300.000 Euro project funding from the Austrian Research Institute (FFG).
Any advice or comments for people who are thinking about applying? Why should they not miss out on this opportunity?
Yes – just do it. Those were one of the funniest, most helpful and most practical three weeks about building a company ever. If you have an idea or you are thinking about creating a startup, take your chance and go to EIA, feel it and come back with a lot of know-how. This will at least save you a year of trial and error. Work hard every day and be surrounded by great people – the two keys to success are both found at EIA.
We as a team behind Vereinsplaner are looking forward to getting in contact with new people who are interested in our software and like the story behind it. We have ambitious plans for the future. If you are interested in taking place in the journey of Vereinsplaner (in any way), do not hesitate to visit our website https://vereinsplaner.at or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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