Jobs: Robert Mayer, co-founder of Visual Meta 0




People like shopping centers, because there under one roof dozens of brands. On the Internet, everything is different: it is necessary to open the site for the site to look for patterns, compare prices, and so on. D. – is a virtual shopping mall. This aggregator makes online shopping really comfortable. The project is owned by a German company Visual Meta GmbH. We met up with one of its founders Robert Mayer and found the structure of the workspace of the company and how difficult it is to manage an international team (Visual Meta is represented in 20 countries around the world).

Robert Mayer
Co-founder and Managing Director of Visual Meta, shopping platform which operate in 20 countries (Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, India, Turkey and others). The idea of ​​the German site LadenZeile and later created international peers ShopAlike to give people the opportunity to compare products from thousands of online stores in one single website. Thanks to this online shopping becomes easier, cheaper and more transparent.

What do you do in your work?

I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur, looking for the right business idea and found it. I talked with Oliver Samverom (founder of the German business incubator Europe “Rocket Internet”), we discussed various ideas for business and came to the idea of ​​shopping platform. It was then that I met Johannes (the other co-founder of Visual Meta), and we started working on the realization of the idea together.
Robert Mayer and Johannes Shabak – the founders of Visual Meta

Robert Mayer and Johannes Shabak – the founders of Visual Meta

In Russia, we launched in the early summer of 2014, and the platform is growing fast and stable.
Is it difficult to start a business in Germany?

As I said earlier, we have founded Visual Meta together with “Rocket Internet”, a leading business incubator in Europe. It was at the end of 2008 and in January 2009 we started the official launch. We passed two rounds of business angel funding in 2009, which was enough to reach a break-even point. C 2011, our company owns a group of companies Axel Springer.

It seems to me to start a business in Germany is quite simple.

The state provides support to start a business through various funding programs.

However, we have not used them. We were lucky – managed to find private investors. In public financing programs are often very strict rules that limit the freedom of the entrepreneur, and we tried to avoid it.

In general, in Germany simply find a business angel funding, is much more complicated things with subsequent rounds of financing – A and B, they are still much more modest than in the United States.
What other niches are now in demand in Europe?

I think that soon we will see a lot of innovative solutions in the field of online banking, online payment and other Internet of Things. At the moment, the huge flows of venture capital involved in these areas.
What is more difficult: to lead a small group or a huge corporation?

I think the most difficult to manage the medium-sized company. Little by less than 10 people to lead pretty easy because you personally know everyone. In large corporations already have a proven and well-established processes and structures. But in the fast-growing medium-sized companies (approximately 190 people) you’re not familiar with all the personal and often do not have yet the necessary structures of command and a clear hierarchy. That’s really difficult.
Robert Mayer: “At the moment, our company has about 120 employees”

Robert Mayer: “At the moment, our company has about 120 employees”

At this point in our company of about 120 employees, while in 2009 we had only 40 Every week there are new faces, there are always open positions, as we grow we are rapidly.
What is your workplace?

I believe that the company must necessarily have an office, even if a separate room. Coworking – that’s great, but only at first, and as the team grows, you need a separate room. When you become more than five people, rent their own office becomes a reasonable solution.

This summer we finished repair of office, and he has now become even brighter and more fun, that contributes to the overall friendly atmosphere in the company.

Renovated office Visual Meta
Renovated office Visual Meta

Jobs of employees
Jobs of employees

Corporate style in the interior
Corporate style in the interior

In our office, we try to do everything possible to make our staff was really comfortable, both physically and mentally. In the office, there is always available free coffee, tea, cereals, fruits and drinks. In addition, in the living room, employees can play table tennis, kicker, PlayStation, play guitar and just relax, and after 18:30 everyone can enjoy a bottle of German beer.

Office Lounge
Office Lounge

Table football
Table football

In the office, you can always have a bite
In the office, you can always have a bite

Is it difficult to manage an international team?

We hire people from all over the world – from Brazil to India, from Norway to Turkey.

We do not have boundaries between German officers and employees from other countries, we are all on the same floor.

Every employee at the same time belongs to two groups: the team of the country, which held regular meetings, and the relevant department (quality, marketing, design, sales, IT and so on. D.). So we tried to get the best performance and communication, as is well known, the larger the company, the more there is any problems with communication.
In Visual Meta international team

In Visual Meta international team
What are the difficulties faced by Russian-speaking staff who work with you?

Of course, each has its own habits and norms, which are due to their culture, education, nationality. However, many Russian-speaking staff who work in the company, have been living outside their country, and had already spent several years in various European cities – in other words, for them to work here is not so much a culture shock.


Recently, within the company, we released the so-called Code of Conduct, a manual on corporate culture, in which we share with the employees of the company core values ​​and basic ethics office. These things are important when the team is multinational and multicultural. But, basically, I think, due to the friendly atmosphere of the assimilation process is painless, and the problems are rare difference of cultures.
Is a Russian-speaking workers have difficulties with this?

According to my experience, Russian least disciplined and accurate than the Germans.

They work well as a team, and they have the business acumen. I like to deal with them.
What it takes to be part of your team?

Become a part of the Russian team is not too difficult, given that we have opened for you a suitable job. Russia was launched in early summer, and while at the moment we have vacancies in the Russian department, but we are always short of talented developers, so I advise you to watch for new positions in the relevant section Visual-Meta .
As you are looking for talent?

Usually we place position in large and popular recruitment websites. In the case of certain jobs we do so-called direct search, that is, contact the suitable candidates directly and individually.

September 21, 2014, we launched a competition of ideas Startup Berlin Calling , which aims – to attract the attention of talented Russian students and collect the maximum amount of development ideas in Russia.
What software is used?

We have a specially designed software for monitoring and control of key performance indicators, such as visits, income, and so on. D. Moreover, we have a special HR-program, which is convenient to store all the personal information of our employees and through which you can apply application for leave in two clicks.



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