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Christoph Fahle
September 16, 2013

Startup of the week: deMIFI

Jeremy, Moji and Ali just moved to betahaus. The international or “multikulti” team, as Germans would put it is working on their startup “deMIFI”. They have travelled a long way just to help us out of a misery. We present to you: The saviors of German WIFI. Let’s thank them in advance.

Hi Jeremy, what’s your product deMIFI all about?

We provide portable WIFI hotspots that you can just carry around in your pocket. Everyone who comes to Germany to visit knows the WIFI problem over here. It is always such a mess trying to find the right SIM card or even cafés with WIFI connection. Due to unrealistic pricing, using data roaming is no option; you end up paying more on that than on the whole stay. Seeing that there is this need we decided to look for a solution. That’s what our portable internet devices are: they’re actually smaller than your mobile phone and they always provide you with an internet connection.


How can people get them?

Right now we provide them on the web but that isn’t the ideal way for people to get them. The whole beauty of it for travellers would be getting them in vending machines at the airport / train station or elsewhere and you only need to put in your EC card and decide about the capacity you need for how many days. That is exactly what we are bringing to life at the moment. At the end of your stay you can just give the devices back. It’s as simple as that.

Does something like this already exist?

Yes, there are a few providers that offer a product like this but not in the practical way that we are aiming at. For example, some offer a device like this for more than 250 Euros and you have to pay a monthly fee to keep it going and a daily fee when you want to use it. That’ is not what you call practical, right? Ours are rented for 2,99€ per 100MB and 3,99€ for 200MB and for 500MB it’s 6,99€ (a day). In addition, nobody is renting them out at those places as we want to.

Why did you start it in Germany as you are all not from here, right?

Yes, that’s right. I am from the US and the two co-founders are both from Iran. Germany is one of the hardest markets for any new telecom startup to enter so we thought that this is a good place to start because if we can make it in Germany we can make it anywhere. Also, every traveller coming to Germany has the same internet issues and there is no practical and cheap solution to it. (So far)

Where are you in the process right now?

 We just opened our online store for customers a week and a half ago. We weren’t able to do any advertising yet due to our move to betahaus but we already have quite a few orders. People were probably googling the problem and therefore found our website; this shows us that we are in the right timing with this. So our next steps will be getting the vending machines rolling to make it easier for everyone to have access to these awesome devices.

Want to work with us? Follow this link to become a part of the community! 

Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them. 

Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.

Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for  betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear. 

Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.

Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different. 

Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally. 

Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.

Photo by Lea GK

Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.

Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte

Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.

Want to get in touch with Obst Digital? Come around betahaus | Neukölln and meet them here or send them an email to contact@obst.digital !


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