INTERVIEW WITH FOUNDER FELIX WIEGAND: “WE ALMOST ONLY THINK IN WEEKS”.
The comparison and booking platform Pamyra.de today announced the closing of a new investment round. The German logistics start-up was again able to convince both existing and new investors and raise further growth capital. “As a partner for the digital distribution of freight forwarding services, Pamyra continues to pursue a business model based on partnership with freight forwarders on the one hand and shippers on the other,” explains Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Dr Lasse Landt. “With Arne Anderssohn as a former top manager from the forwarding industry with more than 30 years of experience at companies such as Dachser or DB Schenker and Toni Sonn, the founder and CEO of the CaseKing Group, with years of deep experience in online retail, we were able to complement the team absolutely perfectly with a view to the next steps.” The round is led by Technologiegründerfond Sachsen (TGFS), which had already joined Pamyra in 2018.
With the new investment round, Pamyra.de successfully secures capital for the expansion and further development of the digital logistics platform founded in 2016 by Felix Wiegand and Steven Qual for the second time in a row. In the current interview, founder and CEO Felix Wiegand provides insights into start-up life, reveals tips for other founders on how to deal with investors, and talks about what’s next for Pamyra.de in the coming months.
How would you explain the concept behind Pamyra.de to your grandparents?
Felix Wiegand: We enable companies that ship pallets to compare the prices of freight forwarders online via our platform and then book the best ones.
Has the original idea of Pamyra.de changed since its foundation?
Felix Wiegand: Yes, because at the very beginning we wanted to broker empty runs, but then we had to learn that freight forwarders themselves sometimes don’t know where the vehicles are at the moment and how much capacity they still have free.
How exactly has Pamyra.de developed since it was founded?
Felix Wiegand: Everything is getting better and better. Turnover is increasing, new ideas that complement the existing marketplace are emerging and the Pamyra brand is becoming better and better known.
Where does the company stand today? Are you satisfied with the entrepreneurial development of the last few months?
Felix Wiegand: We are now one of the top start-ups in the field of logistics platforms. The products developed in the last few months are taking shape and freight forwarders are looking forward to them and are also willing to spend a euro or two on them. However, as always and everywhere, there are things that could go better.
Were there moments or situations where you thought “That’s it! The idea is doomed to fail”?
Felix Wiegand: No, and fortunately that has never happened. Maybe that’s also due to my founder gene and the fact that “nothing is impossible”.
How did it feel to receive a large injection of funds after all the “preparatory work”?
Felix Wiegand: You would assume that stress falls off you, but that wasn’t the case. After the round is before the round and the runway is limited. So even immediately after the investment round, you have to work hard to achieve your goals.
Do you have a good tip for other founders after completing the first financing phase? What do you have to bear in mind here?
Felix Wiegand: The financial plan should show in detail how long the runway is and you should think carefully about what the next investor story will look like. Because that is what you have to work towards quickly. The sooner you can prove traction, the better the valuation will be.
Has the spirit of the company changed since the investors joined?
Felix Wiegand: Basically, everything has remained the same for our team. The straight forward mentality has always come from me and not from the investors.
What areas are you currently focusing on in the company’s development?
Felix Wiegand: Now that the marketplace is working, we are developing the first SaaS models to become more and more system-relevant in the future and to secure our lead.
How are you positioned internationally and what are your further plans for internationalisation?
Felix Wiegand: Offering Pamyra in other languages is obvious, but not planned until the next round. Accordingly, we are not paying much attention to this topic at the moment. The DACH market currently offers huge opportunities, which we are developing with the highest priority, then gradually expanding.
From the international back to the local: What is special about the Leipzig start-up scene for you personally?
Felix Wiegand: Unlike in Berlin, you can still get visibility here without collecting 10 million euros. The network is good and people support each other. Another positive aspect is the low staff turnover.
How do you experience the social and political appreciation as a founder in Germany?
Felix Wiegand: When I reflect on social esteem, I have the feeling that it has declined somewhat in recent years. When I started Pamyra six years ago, it was different. But that is my personal perception, which is certainly also regionally influenced. In the meantime, we are based in the west of Leipzig. Here, you definitely get more positive feedback for an idea to save the world than for a commercial business model, and that’s a good thing. Politicians are certainly aware of the relevance of young, innovative companies. We have benefited from a wide variety of funding programmes over the last five years. Without these, Pamyra would not exist.
What could still be changed or improved?
Felix Wiegand: Politicians have announced a lot and only implemented parts of it. That frustrates founders, of course. Instruments like EXIST and INVEST grants are crucial for many young companies and urgently need to be maintained and expanded.
What is your vision — where do you want to be in three years?
Felix Wiegand: We almost only think in weeks. A month is already a lot of time for us. In three years we will be the market leader in our niche. Our cash flow is positive and we are system-relevant for many freight forwarders in DACH. And the most important thing is that companies or private individuals no longer waste unnecessary time asking freight forwarders for quotes.
Last but not least: How do you manage to recruit good employees and talent at Pamyra.de?
Felix Wiegand: We use external help for this. We invest a lot in the search for talent. Unfortunately, it is often the case that we cannot pay the salaries of a corporation, which is why we have to score points with other things when we first get to know each other. For example, three times a week we have home-cooked lunches in the team, often vegetarian and prepared by our Feel Good Manager Mukki with ingredients from the surrounding gardens. We try to use staff according to their strengths and desires so that they can get through the day in a good mood. Our location in an old wallpaper factory, in the midst of free spirits and artists, surrounded by parks and a river, also contributes to the fact that people would rather come along on the journey with us than work for someone in a dull office. Besides that, we also offer the usual start-up bells and whistles: a room with a half pipe for skating and doing yoga, fruit, coffee, flexible working hours, nice colleagues, table tennis, a dartboard and much more.