Experiencing the first tentative steps and helping a young company to find its feet – during her internship at the startup Acomodeo the former ISM student Sonja Farack gained some fascinating insights into the world of entrepreneurship. In this interview she describes what it is like to work in a startup and explains why an internship in this type of business is worthwhile.
Founded: March 2015
Founders and managing directors Eric-Jan Krausch and David Wohde
Place of business: Frankfurt/Main
No. of staff: Seven
Why did you decide to complete an internship in a startup?
After studying Tourism & Event Management at ISM Hamburg, I switched university to study for my master’s degree. I really wanted to spend my compulsory internship in a startup in order to discover more about what goes on in a newly formed company.
What is Acomodeo?
Acomodeo is the first global full-service instant booking platform for serviced apartments – which can be booked just as simply as a traditional hotel.
The market for professionally operated and serviced apartments has been growing continuously over the past 15 years. Globally, there are already more than 800,000 of these apartments, which are ideal for long-term stays as they have fully-equipped kitchens and separate living rooms, for instance. The sector is still a bit behind the times in terms of digitisation, a challenge which the hotel industry has managed to overcome successfully. A non-transparent, laborious search and booking process meant the product was unattractive to travellers and hardly compatible with the normal quality standards of online booking platforms.
Acomodeo now faces the challenge of raising its profile as a booking platform and convincing potential customers of the general benefits of serviced apartments, thus offering business travellers and holidaymakers a real alternative.
What is it like working for a startup?
We have a stand-up meeting every day at 10 am. Each member of staff has the opportunity to make suggestions and comments. Every fortnight there is a sprint meeting during which the goals for the various departments are set. Lunch is usually spent together, and sometimes we go somewhere to grab an after-work beer in the evenings. Basically, each member of staff can pick and choose their own hours – as long as they get the work done!
What is your role?
At Acomodeo I’m responsible for sales. Seeing as we’re a very young company that is still establishing itself, my main role is to uncover suitable sectors and to contact them by phone. In other words, a traditional cold calling approach. The trick is to be able to sell a product to customers even though it hasn’t been launched yet or is not yet live. These contacts have to be followed up and maintained, something that takes a lot of time.
What do you like in particular?
The young and extremely dynamic team, being accepted as a fully-fledged team member, the chance to realise ideas, and the positive and respectful atmosphere.
What is the biggest challenge for you?
Making cold calls is not as easy as it sounds. Selling a website that is not yet live to customers is a real challenge.
What is the biggest difference to working in a regular business environment?
For me personally, the shorter communication channels and the rapid development of such a young company are the main difference. Moreover, there are many more opportunities for self-development and it gives you the scope to bring new ideas to the table.
Would you recommend a startup to ISM students looking for an internship?
Definitely. An internship allows students to decide for themselves whether they feel at home in the respective environment or not. Personally I could now imagine joining a startup after graduating.
Interview: Christina Noll