Christoph Fahle
December 11, 2011

Startup Of the Week #20 Autonetzer

Claudius, Orietta, Joey and Alex are the worker bees behind LAUDO. They develop head-to-toe design and marketing strategies for upmarket companies, and they happen to work from betahaus | Neukölln. We sat them down for an interview and here's why they see themselves like an airport, what their spirit animals are and how their days at betahaus look like.

Daniel Bartel (2nd from left) is one of the co-creators, along with Sebastian Ballweg and Marcus Goesser, of Autonetzer, an online platform that allows private owners to rent their car to others, following the idea of collaborative consumption. The cars are fully covered by Autonetzer’s insurance, owners can fix the price and decide if they rent by the hour, by the day or by the week and prices for the user are more convenient than an average car rental. The system is community-based and allows both owners and users to rate the experience.

How did you come up with this idea?

Well, we met at Startup Weekend Stuttgart. Sebastian and Markus have experience in business and they already had the idea. I have a sales and service management perspective, so we thought it would be a good fit. The idea is not to put more cars in place but give a better use to the ones that already exist. We believe that collaborative consumption is the future, even in Germany where people love their cars!

So far, what have being the greatest obstacles that you have encountered along the way?

The hardest thing has been to find an insurance to make it safe and attractive. That took a long time! The way we have set it up, our insurance complements the owner’s insurance and covers the drivers and all potential damage to the vehicle so the owner’s insurance doesn’t suffer for it.

What made you get in contact with betahaus?

We started our business at the coworking space in Stuttgart. We love the idea of coworking and we believe coworking spaces are very adequate for our concept. We want to build a community, not just a platform. It’s nice to know the other users, the people you lend your car to and in coworking spaces people know each other, so it’s easier for them to lend their cars to others. Since betahaus is the pacemaking coworking space in Germany, it was obvious for us that we had to approach the managers to introduce our innovative mobility concept. Now we have a specific URL where betahaus users can rent out and borrow cars nearby at http://betahaus-berlin.autonetzer.de.

Is there anything you would improve?

I love the idea of betahaus: I believe it’s the future because it represents collaborative working, the fact that you can go to other cities and feel at home, meet different people everywhere. You don’t need to work in one office anymore and betahaus is your office worldwide. The only thing is that even though I understand it includes a lot of services besides coworking, the prices are ambitious for young entrepreneurs. Maybe it would be nice to have special discounted prices...

You’re a young startup, but do you have any advice for people creating their own startup?

I would suggest that they try to early prototype to show the product or service and let people experience it, give their feedback. A prototype opens a lot of doors, even if it’s not perfect. Failures and mistakes actually improve the learning process and give you a better chance of success.

So, what are your plans for the future?

For Autonetzer, grow the platform and make it more popular. I'm exited to use methods like Design Thinking in order to impove our plattform even further, so people can loan their cars even more convinient and earn money while doing something good for the nature. Bethaus-Users should definatley check out http://betahaus-berlin.autonetzer.de.

Eva Roig led the interview. She is part of the betahaus | Barcelona Team.

Still no membership at betahaus? Click here and join us!

Claudius: Design is the core of what we do and what we’re all passionate about, but hardly our only focus. Design, at LAUDO, stands more for designing a whole strategy, often very close connected with marketing. We’re developing websites and apps for our clients, but also help them reach their target audience through SEO, Google ranking developing newsletter systems, print brochures etc.

Claudius: A lot of other companies are seeing themselves as a service provider and don’t really question what their client wants and why. We pay very close attention if the work we provide for a client is in line with our personal values and vision. It’s not just delivering a product to the client, getting the paycheck and leaving, but also building relationships with clients and collaborating. Because they are often our doors to new opportunities

We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’

‘’We see LAUDO as an airport, where the clients are our gates to new guests, new perspectives and new potential clients. It happens all the time that whoever we’re working for, from there we get a new project, which wasn’t planned before. So we open up a new gate. That’s how we were able to grow and why good connection with our clients is so crucial for us.’’
Photos by Lea GK

Orietta: I think one thing that makes us stand out on the market and our number one strength is the team. We’re a small team and we all look in the same direction and have the same approach and vision. That makes the communication go smoothly.

Joey: Another thing is that we have a very hands-on approach. We are the guys, who say: ‘’Okay, let’s do it’’. That’s our culture.

Orietta: When we started looking for a place I was already involved in the betahaus community. Working from previous betahaus locations and attending the community events, I already knew a lot of people in the 'haus ...

Joey: Yes, I remember on the first day we came to betahaus Orietta was like ‘’Oh, hey! Hi! Hey, how are you doing? Hi!'' giving high-fives to everybody and we were like: What is going on, why does she know everybody?!

Orietta: Well, the vibe in betahaus is just super easy going. You directly feel that you can meet people easily. If you go to the kitchen for example and just ask ''Hey how are you, what are you working on?''. We made many new contacts too.

Claudius: What makes it nice here is that people are enjoying being here and working on their projects.

Photos by Lea GK

Claudius: The truth is, we could probably afford an office for the same price, but that would put us between these four walls, which put you into a box, much harder to exit and to connect with new people. We went for a Team Desk because here we have so much more space and everything seems much more connected. You can easily meet people.

Orietta: And it’s just so spacious here. We have this super nice garden.

Claudius: I like being focused on my work but I also like if someone disturbs me from time to time. It helps when the door opens. In an office we would work in a whole different way. Here Gillord (Coworking Manager) is coming in everyday, giving me a hug, telling me about his workout .. that’s the main reason - the personal connection.

The day in betahaus starts with a hug and ends with a hug. The time in between is pretty much spent on doing what you love.
Photos by Lea GK


After you’ve taken care of your paperwork and you’ve signed up both in Bürger- and Finanzamt, you are all set up to start working. One of the best ways to get integrated into the city fast, meet like-minded people, and even find clients is by working from a coworking space. There are tons of benefits for freelancers and luckily Berlin has a lot to offer in this way. A coworking space is a physically collaborative shared workspace, which brings all kinds of creatives and entrepreneurs together. It’s a perfect place for startups, freelancers, digital nomads and even corporates searching for innovation. And it’s the biggest advantage towards the typical office space is that it pushes a collaborative exchange between its members and facilitates the creative process and networking.

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