Christoph Fahle
July 25, 2011

Startup Of The Week – #3: unhosted

Using the Internet today implies giving up control over a lot of personal data, because the same people that provide a website you want to use also store all the related data. Facebook for example not only offers a social network but also saves your name, age and profession, even fotos and videos on its servers. The providers leave you no choice and I think this needs to change!

betahaus: Who are you and what are you doing here?

Michiel: I´m Michiel de Jong and I´m trying to decentralise the web. I want to make it an unhosted space.

What exactly does this mean: "an unhosted space"?

Using the Internet today implies giving up control over a lot of personal data, because the same people that provide a website you want to use also store all the related data. Facebook for example not only offers a social network but also saves your name, age and profession, even fotos and videos on its servers. The providers leave you no choice and I think this needs to change!

End-users should be able to decide where their data are stored just like they can decide which email host they want to use. So basically, "unhosted" is a project that tries to separate the locality of web-application from the locality of data storage.

Sounds like a non-profit-project?!

In deed, it is. I started "unhosted" as a hobby-project on a programming-holiday at the beautiful beach of Bali. As I got a lot of positive feedback, I quit my job as a scalibility engineer in Spain, started focusing full-time on "unhosted" and now it is a non-profit-project funded by donations.

You could work everywhere. Why did you come to Berlin?

Because Berlin is cheap. Plus, I heard a lot of stories and everybody told me to come here (smiles).

… and why to betahaus?

Coworking is flexible and rather cheap. As "unhosted" depends on donations, those are two very important criteria. After some time at co-up, another coworking space in Kreuzberg, I switched to betahaus. I really like the structure of the place, its design and atmosphere.

What are you still missing here in the betahaus?

To me personally, the desks are a little too wabbly. They should be more stable.

How can people participate in the process of changing the web into an unhosted space?

For most of the people the best, easiest and only way to help the project move forward are donations. We are grateful for any amount (and will mention you on our thank-you-page if you write your email adress in the payment subject)! If you give more than 25 Euros you can get a nice "unhosted" T-shirt. Apart from donations you can help programming - which we are doing at the moment - or marketing - which we will probably do next year (smiles).

From within Germany, donations go to:

Account Number (Kontonummer) 069428100

Bank Number (BLZ) 10070848

International donations go to:

IBAN: DE08100708480069428100

BIC: DEUTDEDB110

You can visit unhosted online, on facebook and on twitter

Cost is a big one here. In regards to total transportation costs, the last mile comprises up to 53% of those - making it the least efficient part of the supply chain. Expectations of free shipping and next day deliveries add up to this.

Due to increasing digitalization and convenience services in every area of people's lives, the smooth and flawless process of getting the delivery to one's doorstep is exceedingly becoming what customers care most about. On top of that, for companies that package being delivered is an extension of their brand. The consumer is basically coming face-to-face with the brand, which makes it the biggest opportunity to heighten customer satisfaction.


If you live in a city and have even slightly observed your urban surroundings you’ve probably witnessed it first hand - urban congestion and crowded cities make it pretty tough to satisfy the growing demand and rising expectations of super quick deliveries. Add unpredictability in transit (like weather conditions), an incorrect address or remote locations, just to name a few, and you can see where this is going.

The worst part is, all those delivery trucks and vans that also produce a fair bit of emissions, are often only half full when they roll out for deliveries. This is mostly due to low drop sizes and stops along the route that are far and few between.

It’s not all hopeless though - Where there is a problem, there are solutions.


Same old, same old - isn’t always all that bad. Sometimes, all that’s needed are some new perspectives! The city of Utrecht, for‌ ‌example, implemented a zero-emissions electric barge nicknamed the “Beer Boat”. 

Since 2010 it’s carrying beer and food to the city’s downtown restaurants by using waterways. Other electric barges in Amsterdam not only deliver but even collect organic waste, which is then turned into biofuel in processing plants! Isn’t that cool?

It becomes clear that cities, logistics, as‌ ‌well‌ ‌as‌ ‌urban‌ ‌planners, are equally part of solving the inefficiency of the last-mile. Tackling this mountain of issues calls for teamwork!


A centralized platform, hub or network for similar companies, could do the trick to fill up the delivery vans & trucks that are barely loaded. Parcels could be distributed more efficiently between different companies and their delivery vehicles.

Like a big pool of parcels from different companies with every single parcel going into that one van with the same route!


Delivery Driver Experience and Smart Delivery Vehicles are also areas with huge potential for improvement and innovation.


Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company. 

Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.


Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard.  The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.


Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one? 

Then head over to our Future Logistics Challenge! Applications are still open until September 23rd.

Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.

Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.

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