Oliver Oster, Co-Founder Optiopay


Tell us a bit about how you reacted to the corona situation with your business?
We released a home office policy already 2 weeks before the lock-down became real. The transformation hasn’t been difficult for us as a digital company. But, we realized that our friends, family, and other beloved ones with business relations to local merchants suffered heavily from these challenging times. I remember a situation that a friend showed me his bank account with 400.00€ left on his bank account and saying: “I have to pay the rent for my restaurant in 3 days”. This has been the moment of truth for me and also the moment how we came up with the idea of HilfeLokal.de. HilfeLokal.de is a platform for local merchants to offer online vouchers. Customers can buy the vouchers now and redeem them whenever the shop re-opens. Thus, local merchants receive instantly the revenue from sold vouchers to pay their bills. This substantially contributes to bridging the COVID-19-related liquidity shortage and compliments governmental relief programs.
What was driving the decision to act this way?
During a weekend session, we were asking our team if they are buying into this project. The feedback has been overwhelming. The whole team started working during the weekends, until the night, to release HilfeLokal.de. We realized that we are doing the right thing after we perceived such kind of feedback from the team and, also motivating feedback from your closed network.
How did the decision-making process differ from "business as usual"?
Usually, you don’t make such kind of business decisions during the weekend  :-)

What do you personally learn from this experience?
The experience is still going on, but it is matching my experience after 2008. A crisis can positively drive change.

What is your message to business leaders who are experiencing difficulties at the moment?
Invest don’t wait.

Who went out of their way in the current corona situation that we should interview next, and why?
Stephan Heller, FinCompare

Do you want to share a story about an inspiring business leader who takes action and pursues new ventures despite the corona-times?

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