Tink wanted to draw attention to himself with a Trump parody at the start.
Today Trump bashing is nothing special, but Tink tried it in the summer of 2016, months before the 45th President of the USA was elected.
Not only with Trump, but also with his business idea, the start-up was early to sell smart home devices over the Internet.
Tink relies on products that control the heating by voice or switch on the light via smartphone.
As “Gründerszene” learned exclusively, the Berliners were able to collect fresh money with these good figures.
Led by Cadence Growth Capital (CGC) and together with old investors Rocket Internet and the ProSiebenSat1 investment arm Seven Ventures, Tink has just received 40 million euros in Series D.
In the Trump parody, the gun is drawn.
Tink refers to a smart surveillance camera from the online shop (video clip no longer online)
CGC is a German investor based near Munich and has, among other things, the company cell phone rental company Everphone and the dental splint mail order company Plusdental in its portfolio.
In the previous rounds, Tink had raised a total of 20 million euros in capital.
Smart Home as a new market: "A big risk"
When CEO Marius Lissautzki and COO Julian Hueck founded the company five years ago, Smart Home was still a niche, and only individual solutions existed on the German market, such as the smart thermostat from Tado or the intelligent door lock from Nuki.
According to Statista, there were six million smart home households in Germany in 2017.
In the current year it should be around ten million.
The growth doesn't explode, but it's constant.
According to its own information, Tink itself is also growing constantly, at over 100 percent over the past few years.
“It was an incredible motivator to develop a new market yourself,” says founder Lissautzki in an interview with “Gründerszene”.
“We don't market shoes online where you know that everyone buys shoes” - probably a swipe at the billionaire company Zalando, which initially only sold shoes.
Lissautzki is calm about the fact that the start-up could have failed in establishing a new market.
“A start-up is always a big risk,” says the founder.
"If you can't deal with a possible failure, then you shouldn't found a company."
The two founders got to know each other when Hueck, then still a business administration student, was doing an internship at the Bertelsmann company Arvato.
Lissautzki was head of strategy there.
A few years later, he told his former intern about the idea of starting a business in the Smart Home sector - and that's how Tink came about.
But when will the smart home become mainstream?
"It's like reading glass balls," said founder Hueck to "Gründerszene".
But it'll happen in the next three to ten years.
The topic received a boost in Germany with the introduction of voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home in 2017 and 2018.
Smart devices can be controlled by voice, previously this was often only possible via smartphone apps or other hardware.
There was another push in 2020 through Corona.
"People care more about their home and have become noticeably more open to the advantages and benefits of digitization," said Hueck.
This is why Tink offers its products so cheaply
With its focus on Smart Home and its expert status, Tink wants to stand out from the competition such as Media Markt or Conrad, which is why the Berliners are increasingly relying on service and advice.
The company has its own video studio to produce installation videos for the smart home devices, for example.
"We knew that if we established ourselves as experts early on, then the future would be ours," said Hueck.
The low product price in the online shop is also noticeable, sometimes with discounts of over 30 percent.
Tink achieves this by selling various products and brands as a total solution and passing the package advantages on to customers, says Hueck.
And selling these products in a bundle makes perfect sense, because anyone who buys smart lamps, for example, is also interested in a voice assistant as a control center for the new lighting and other smart home products in the household.
The price also comes about because it is a market in which you have to invest in marketing and customer acquisition - but in which good customer relationships are also built up at the same time.
"Once you have won over a household for the topic, the customers continuously expand their system," says Hueck.
Thus, the lower margins paid off for Tink over the customer lifecycle.
Tink wants to grow faster than the competition
In order to grow in the future, Tink is taking several paths and is also using the funds from the latest financing round.
On the one hand, the start-up wants to internationalize.
Tink plans to be present in all European core markets by 2023.
The start-up has been active in the Netherlands since 2020.
Furthermore, the Berliners want to score points with new services and link services to products.
Anyone who buys a smart thermostat, for example, can book an energy contract.
If you need a smart lock, you might also want locksmith insurance.
In the future, customers should be able to book these services directly via Tink.
The third growth driver will be new products from the kitchen, decentralized energy generation and e-mobility sectors.
In addition to its own B2C business, Tink relies on a white label solution for industrial customers. In what is known as B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer), the company is already working with the energy company Vattenfall and the Generali insurance group - Vattenfall has also been investing in Tink for a number of years. The founders are currently in talks with other customers.