The next German “unicorn” could soon come from Chemnitz of all places.

Unicorns or unicorns are startups that reach a billion dollar valuation within a short period of time.

Staffbase - that is foreseeable - will probably be ready soon.

The company started a few years ago to revolutionize the possibilities of in-house communication and is currently running open doors for corporations.

Inge Kloepfer

Freelance writer in business for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.

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Investors are confident. They donated $ 145 million to the Saxon start-up in the spring financing round and in return they took a stake in Staffbase. The enterprise value calculated from this deal was $ 900 million. "Staffbase has been growing exponentially for years," say investors.

In the southern Saxon city of Chemnitz with 245,000 inhabitants, which was called Karl-Marx-Stadt in GDR times, people are particularly proud of Staffbase. The company is currently not only the star of the developing start-up scene there, but of the entire former industrial city, which was 80 percent destroyed after the war and literally bled to death after the reunification. This phase seems over, however, and the mayor Sven Schulze, who is very business-minded, is doing everything to ensure that even more companies such as Staffbase develop there.

In 2014, the three Saxon founders Martin Böhringer, Lutz Gerlach and Frank Wolf had such an obvious idea that one wonders why someone didn't think of it before.

They developed a product that moves internal corporate communication away from traditional management board emails, company newspapers, the bulletin board or simple printouts, and from now on delivers it to employees directly on their mobile phones - with an app.

Staffbase enables universal accessibility

Two thirds of employees in Germany are so-called non-desk workers, i.e. employees who do not work at their desks and therefore cannot be reached and informed by their superiors via e-mail. This is exactly where Staffbase comes in with its app, which warehouse workers can also download onto their mobile phones. Many millions of people work in production, in the freight forwarding industry, in the healthcare sector, in construction and do not notice a lot in their company. Suddenly everyone who downloads it can be reached with the app. Audi in Brussels, for example, is an early customer. MyAudiBrussels is the name of the app for several thousand employees there.

Unlike Microsoft Teams or Slack, the app is tailor-made in the customer's corporate design and sold in a subscription model, in which the customer concludes annually recurring software contracts. The volume of business can thus be easily foreseen. "We are now on the way to a turnover of 50 million euros", says Böhringer - not least with the help of well-known customers, including the Viessmann Group, DHL, Lufthansa Cargo and a good 1,000 more. “We generate significantly more sales with our existing customers through new applications than we lose through expiring contracts.” Of course, Böhringer and his team are not satisfied with the existing customers. There should always be more.