Kaunas resident’s startup was introduced to a German market
Photo: A. Aleksandravičius.
Kristina Mačianskytė from Kaunas, who more than once had the opportunity to personally experience the difficulties that a person who has to change their place of residence, career, or study – perhaps even a city or a country – faces, thought to herself: wouldn’t it be great if instead of feverishly surfing the internet, we could find all the service providers, needed for the moving process, in one place – quickly, safely and conveniently. This is how E-Umzüge was born, a platform that connects moving service providers and people, who are moving. Kristina received help from both the Kaunas Startups program and Juris Consultus law firm, which supports the aforementioned program and also provided legal advice for E-Umzüge pro bono.
“Every time I was faced with moving issues and challenges, both I and the people around me or acquaintances had to go back to the most basic and common Google search, possessions volume calculator. This search method, of course, was inseparable from lengthy conversations with the transportation service provider about your possessions that need to be moved or even meetings with said companies to plan the process. And when would all this take place? There would be so much extra work and questions brought by changes in professional or personal life, that it felt like there was not enough time even for myself. Thus, my startup idea didn’t come up spontaneously but rather was inspired by a long-term need and all the personal and other people’s experiences when searching for a convenient and simple solution,” Kristina remembers how the idea of the startup was born.
The previously acquired professional competencies, personal contact base, feedback, and recommendations from friends working in the relocation sector helped Kristina understand the situation better and refine the functions of the future startup.
“I have also noticed the need from the moving companies. They desperately tried attracting maximum customer traffic without having huge marketing budgets or reducing their spending on “empty rides” to go look at the possessions that they will have to move. After all, in this field, every minute and each kilometer counts. So, after gaining a lot of experience and knowledge, I decided to let this seemingly simple but very practical idea see the light of day,” The creator of E-Umzüge startup says.
Solo founder with a powerful backup
Kristina calls herself a solo founder but strong IT, marketing, and sales professionals, who believe in her idea as much as she does, assist her in achieving a common goal.
When looking for more opportunities to strengthen her project and get better prepared for its future launch onto the German market, Kristina joined Kaunas Startups in 2019.
“Although I already had solid experience in B2B and B2C sales, I still lacked marketing and legal knowledge and I went to Kaunas startups with a great desire to properly plan my actions. Today, I can safely say that thanks to the program I have received more than I expected – thanks to the organizers, lecturers, and the whole friendly team. A good idea alone is definitely not enough if you want it to become a convenient and favorite product for everyone,” Kristina claims.
Among other businesses working with Kaunas Startups, Juris Consultus lawyers shared their legal experience with the startup community. Kristina remembers that already then, during the first consultation with Juris Consultus lawyer Ramūnas Širvys, she received what she needed the most: strong support and encouragement to move forward. At the end of the program, during the Demo Day, when the winners of the ideas were selected and announced, the JurisConsultus team set up a special prize for the E-Umzüge startup – legal advice. Kristina used it for consultations regarding issues related to her startup. “For me, as someone who is just starting a business for which, investment in development is vital and the range of expenses is extremely wide, it was a really big help. We continue our cooperation with Juris Consultus to this day,” Kristina says.
How does everything work?
The strength of the platform is simplicity, transparency, and security. A moving person can add all the necessary information with just a few clicks and receive offers from several moving companies free of charge within a few days, without additional calls, correspondence, or visits.
“You choose the most suitable offer and begin the moving process. Meanwhile, moving companies receive very clear information regarding the object to be moved, the distance of haulage. They can accurately estimate the scope of the service and provide a realistic price. This tool is especially handy for processing international orders: it does not matter at all in which corner of the world the moving company or a person, who wants to move, are. If at least one zip code from the selected company’s moving radius matches, the company will receive this request and will be able to submit its offer. Among other things, security is ensured. Before registering on the platform, moving companies are additionally inspected and the money for services provided by the selected service provider is paid only after both parties confirm that the service has been properly performed,” the startup founder says.
Why was Germany chosen for the startup’s launch? According to Kristina, the decisive factor in choosing the pilot market was none other than demographics: more than 50 million people move around Europe every year. A big part of it is in Germany. Based on the data, this country is the number one leader in the rental housing section. In terms of percentage, Germany is only surpassed by Switzerland.
Kristina’s own skills and experience also influenced the choice of the market. She was born in Kaunas and graduated from a school, which provided advanced German classes. Later, during university studies, she traveled a lot and studied and lived in Germany for several years. Even Kristina’s final thesis was about refugees’ social adaptation and educational aspects of their integration in Lithuania and Germany, which helped to get acquainted with the demographic indicators, current situation, and tendencies not only in Germany but also in Europe as a whole. Excellent knowledge of the language, the country’s culture, and demographic issues left no doubt that the German market is the one with the most favorable startup prospects for E-Umzüge, the moving services platform.
When asked about the stage her startup is currently in, Kristina mentions the first steps towards the goal. The first press release was issued in September and the first marketing steps were taken in the target market.
“And what’s next? Work, work, and more work. Monitoring consumer behavior and further improvement of the product – after all, there are no limits to perfection,” the founder of the startup smiles. She also adds that after the startup is established in the German market, it is planned to expand its geography to other European countries. The principle of the operation of the platform should lead to organic development and requests for moving will dictate further directions better than anything else.