Christoph Schönfelder, Co-Founder KOALA


Tell us a bit about how you reacted to the corona situation with your business?
The KOALA (Kaufen Ohne Aufwand und Langes Anstehen) solution was introduced to retail months before we were confronted with new regulations due to COVID-19. Overall we have set KOALA up with a sharp focus on helping any kind of retail in disrupting the checkout zone and more importantly, having a customer focus when it comes to the shopping experience. Our reaction was to give confidence to retail and customers that safety is the no. 1 topic and how KOALA can be used to reduce time spent in a store, reduce touchpoints for products, keep distance to other customers and staff to the maximum and still focus on convenience.

What was driving the decision to act this way?
Our decision was mainly driven by close contact cycles with retailers using KOALA and by focusing on our customer-first approach.

To what extent did the decision-making process differ from "business as usual"?
Nowadays, the time required for decision-making is reduced to a minimum. For software solutions, all updates must be tested before being introduced to the customer, but here we set new rules to allow for short development cycles and faster updates.

What do you personally learn from this experience?
At this stage, we can only respond to regulations that are regularly updated. Personally, as an entrepreneur, reacting does not feel right, as we are always striving to create something new. Nevertheless, I see the full potential for digital solutions that support the shopping experience or create a new way of shopping in this environment. If the security of retailers and customers is central, a completely contactless shopping experience could be the answer.

What is your message to business leaders who are experiencing difficulties at the moment?
Act quickly and act with a clear focus on your customers. I have witnessed how entrepreneurs from my environment set up new services within 24 hours and got traction from minute one.

Who should we interview next?
Dirk Jooste, founder of FOS drinks

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