Berlin plays host to one of the most exciting startup scenes in all of Europe. In fact, the city is actually the continent’s second largest startup hub after London – and Brexit may have just put pay to that.
New ground on everything from FinTech to FemTech is being broken in Berlin – but today, we’re focussing specifically on the world of ecommerce, and have chosen just five of the top Berlin-based companies that are innovating in this space for our list. And so, without any further ado, let’s take a look at who they are and what they’re up to…
Lesara is the Berlin-based online fashion and lifestyle retailer that wants to pass on significant discounts to its customers by enabling them to buy ‘direct’ from factories in Asia. Since its launch in 2013, the retailer has expanded into 24 markets in seven languages across Europe, has grown its assortment to more than 100,000 SKUs, and has a team of over 300 employees. Impressive figures, so no wonder Lesara was recognised as Europe’s fastest growing tech company in 2016.
What makes Lesara so particularly awesome, however, is the fact that it can turn around a new product from idea to market in just 10 days. Heavily investing in artificial intelligence and algorithms, Lesara brings together customer data with what’s trending online to deliver fast-fashion products at almost breakneck speeds. And not only does Lesara ensure rapidity, but a great deal to boot – it works directly with manufacturers around the globe to bring consumers trendy, up-to-date merchandise at prices (up to 80% off!!) that simply can’t be matched anywhere else – all without compromising on quality. Amazing.
Europe’s largest online fashion retailer Zalando has come a long way since its inception in 2008. Now operating in 15 different markets with more than 10,000 employees hailing from 100 different countries, Zalando has always strived to be the very best online destination for fashion. Indeed, offering everything from high street favourites to designer brands, sportswear, and kidswear, it would be hard to argue that the company is anything but.
Zalando’s core USP is found in its innovative shipping and returns policies, which come at no additional cost to the consumer, while a speedy delivery is pretty much guaranteed. In addition, Zalando offers “payment after delivery”, which, combined with a 100-day return policy, presents pretty attractive options for online shoppers, and are indeed what make Zalando so popular and so awesome.
Founded in 2012 and with headquarters in Berlin, Home24 is Europe’s leading online furniture retailer, also operating in Austria, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. Like Zalando, Home24 is backed by venture capital group Rocket Internet, and is using the power of the web to change the way people buy furniture for their homes.
There are always sceptics no matter what the industry – especially when it comes to ecommerce. Online clothes retailers were once told that it would never work – and perhaps those same nay-sayers will be eating humble pie once more as consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing large items like furniture online. Indeed, Home24 is proving unequivocally that it can be done, and that there is indeed a market for their goods. In fact, the Berlin-based company now employs 1,000 people worldwide, and its business model continues to be attractive to consumers – particularly because the last mile delivery service is free of charge for all customers in Europe, regardless of the product’s size and weight. Nice one.
VOJD Studios was first launched with the idea of using 3D printing to make homeware goods and consumer fashion. Since then, however, the company has decided that its technology is better suited to the high-end fashion accessories market – the space in which VOJD Studios operates today.
Building a synergy between luxury and progressive design, VOJD Studios combines traditional quality and craftsmanship with technological innovations to create beautiful 3D printed jewellery and accessories – bringing a brand new aesthetic to the luxury fashion industry. In the past year, the company has partnered with a number of leading fashion houses – including LOEWE, Alexander McQueen, and Akris – all of which have integrated 3D printed items into their collections.
Berlin-based Grover has an innovative take on ecommerce – instead of buying electronic products outright, you subscribe to them instead. There are many consumers out there who would love to have the latest smartphone in their pockets, or try out a drone, or have a play with the latest virtual reality gaming products with their friends. The problem, of course, is that not everyone can afford all those things – especially not all at once.
And this is the problem that Grover is solving. For approximately 5% of the retail price, the ecommerce company lets consumers rent out electronics and gadgets for month so they can essentially try before they commit to buy. In addition, users can extend their rental experience for up to a year, paying a monthly fee to hold onto the device for that time. Smartphones, headphone, wearables, IoT products, laptops, cameras – you can rent all of the above and more with Grover by subscribing to the various package deals the company offers. Very cool indeed.
Did We Miss Anyone?
So much cool stuff happening in ecommerce in Berlin right now! But is your favourite Berlin-based ecommerce startup on the list? Let us know what you love most about the above companies we’ve highlighted – and the ones we haven’t!! – by heading down to the comments section below. Happy shopping, everyone!