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  Euro on Sunday NEMAX Series: Intershop CEO Schambach: East Germany's Bill Gates | Message | Bit Updates
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Euro on Sunday NEMAX Series: Intershop CEO Schambach: East Germany's Bill Gates | Message

Saturday, February 24th, 2018 | bitcoin updates

by Peter Balsiger, Euro on Sunday
Stefan Schambach, born 1970 in Erfurt, grew up in the GDR and trained as a laboratory technician for physics in Jena, Thuringia. Already as a teenager he collapsed Brocomputer and sold it with self-written software. When the wall came down, Schambach, who was playing pates at the Jena Unitreff "Schweineclub", was just full of age. He left college and started a small IT company with two friends. He came up with the idea of ​​developing software that could sell goods over the Internet. A bold step for a college dropout. After all, he had lived in a country where founders were the exception.
In 1992, the youngster in Jena launched Intershop Communications GmbH – the name is reminiscent of the GDR valuta department stores – and became one of the pioneers of e-commerce. Intershop developed the first integrated software package that allowed large companies to trade online. Venture capital in the modern sense did not exist at the time. But the savings banks lent at that time loans without large collateral. Schambach: "That made it possible for two or three years to learn entrepreneurship." But he made the start but only because for a while students free of charge mitprogrammierten.
For many GDR citizens, the fall of the Wall meant above all freedom of expression and travel-for Schambach it meant the possibility of free enterprise. At that time, in newly unified Germany, a job in public service was initially considered the desirable goal. "Anyone who managed to be hired in a school or, for example, as a teacher, with a secure salary in Westmark, was considered successful," he said. "East German entrepreneurs were initially not respected, which meant tantamount to not having made it."
With Intershop it went up steeply. Bertelsmann, Otto and Tchibo operated their online shops with the software. And Schambach, the shy Tftler and computer nerd, was celebrated as the "East German response to Bill Gates." Helmut Kohl even praised him as the "Fleshed upswing East".
Early on Schambach had dreamed of conquering the American software market. Now the gold rush of the New Economy drove him westwards into the promised land of the virtual markets. In 1996 he moved to Silicon Valley. He could not speak English, lived in a budget hotel, a Burger King, and worked in a Bro in the approach corridor of the San Francisco airport. The windows clinked when a launching machine flew over the building.

The dotcom fairy tale
Intershop continued to grow. In 1998, the transaction started at the Neuer Markt in Frankfurt. At the end of the first trading day, there was an increase of 160 percent. In the meantime, the company was mathematically worth more than eleven billion euros. "Germanys Hot Star" headlines the US magazine "Businessweek" in 2000 about Schambach. His ambitious goal: "I want us to be where SAP is today in 15 years." This was followed by the listing of Intershop on the technology hub Nasdaq in New York.
Schambach had now reached the zenith of his life's work. "He wrote one of those dot-com stories where people with secure jobs and solid degrees thought they had done some wrong," the Handelsblatt reported.
But then suddenly the mood on the Neuer Markt tipped. Investors now wanted to see profits – but in December 2000, the Intershop management had to announce an annual loss of 37 to 39 million euros. A bad quarterly balance followed on the other, the stock price collapsed. Schambach had to react: to save his life's work, he put ten million euros in private assets in the company. In addition, several hundred employees were dismissed, a rigorous austerity measures were ordered, the US branch office disbanded. But the descent continued.
From the 1,200-strong company around the turn of the millennium had now become a company with nearly 300 employees, but had to do without his founder. For Schambach, one of the biggest prodigies of the Neuer Markt, resigned as CEO at the end of July 2003. To save his company, he made room for a new management. In response, the Intershop share shot up by nearly 30 percent.
Schambach moved to the US and launched a year later near Boston with the help of two venture capitalists who helped him with $ 35 million, the renewed attempt to found a global company. Again it was about ecommerce software, but this time cloud based. Software should no longer be bought in the future, but rented.
The more than 100 customers of his new company Demandware soon included prominent clients such as the sporting goods manufacturer Fila and Puma, the cosmetics giant LOral USA and the fashion brands S. Oliver and Hugo Boss. The "Financial Times Germany" honored him in 2010 as a "comeback kid".
Demandware was a huge success. In 2012, the company went to the river. Schambach retreated: "I'm nobody for a big company," he says. "If I can not do it myself, it's not for me." In 2016, Demandware was acquired by SAP competitor Salesforce. For Schambach it was a successful exit, he puked him scarce $ 220 million in the cash.
Meanwhile, he has recently founded a new company in the USA. At NewStore, he works with an international team on the first mobile platform for retailers and brand owners. He also invests as a business angel in American start-ups. "The willingness to try new things is much greater in the US," he told the "Manager Magazin". And: "That was also one of the success factors for Demandware: in the US, the urge to make a company successful outweighs the fear of making mistakes, which is often the opposite in Germany."
Investor Info

Get out of the red
No eleven billion euros as in boom times, but only 63 million euros is today the value of the Jena software provider. After all: Intershop Communications recently came up with pleasing numbers. Sales in the first nine months of 2017 increased by seven percent to 26.4 million euros. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were slightly positive at € 200,000. In the same period last year, there was still a minus of two million euros. Intershop focuses on programs for the online business of wholesale companies. Only for very risk-averse investors.



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