Meet our Premium Member: Oliver Zemp – Founder & CEO of ZEMP Business Solutions AG
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing one of our Premium Members: Oliver Zemp – CEO & Founder of ZEMP Business Solutions AG. It’s always great to see our Startup Members succeeding, and to learn about their how and why. Read on to find out more about Zemp Business Solutions AG and be inspired by their story!
- Introducing the Startup: ZEMP
ZEMP is a SaaS startup from Luzern (CH), founded in 2018 and brought to life in 2020. We deliver simple business solutions for ambitious retailers by converging Point-of-Sales with Payment, seamlessly mobile. Growing out of my wife’s search for the perfect retail solution and support, I developed ZEMP. More and more people started to react to what I was doing, filling a real gap in this complex market space. So I decided to quit my corporate job and bring the ZEMP solution into the world. Today we are a team of 23 employees spread over six countries, speaking one language – ZEMP. Our industry know-how is now improving and simplifying the lives of Swiss and German retailers with the best customer experience at hand.
- What are your plans for 2022/2023? What is your long-term vision?
Our plan for 2022 is to successfully position our GENIE, SKYE, OCTO, and PAY products in both Switzerland and Germany reaching 600+ customers. Simultaneously, we will expand our distribution partners and optimize the ZEMP processes to best support our customers and partner network.
2023 is the year of scaling. Together with our partners, we will internationalize further – focusing on our GENIE product. As our lifeline states – Be where your customer is, we believe GENIE to become the industry standard.
Hence we are working with diverse soft payment solutions to bring GENIE to every Android smartphone soon – enabling every merchant to create, sell and accept payments with his/her phone. This will offer huge cost savings on the merchant side and lower the barrier to managing their business properly with help from a POS.
We work to be the #1 POS and Payment provider in EMEA! We are currently working hard on perfecting our agnostic product platform, enabling third-party application add-ons more swiftly, and offering our customers the full benefits of managing their business from the palm of their hands. We envision it to be the platform for the full retail industry on which manufacturers, agents, merchants, and end customers digitally connect – seamlessly mobile.
- What has been the biggest success that you have achieved in your startup?
The biggest success we have achieved as ZEMP is building the best-in-class team. A team of industry experts, of team players, of being able to accelerate strengths and push boundaries! We have been able to build a strong, highly complex solution in a short amount of time – that received international recognition rapidly. As a new entrant in the retail market, a small startup from Switzerland, we deliver a unique solution that has struck a chord 100%. Our team is the basis for everything we are and have achieved to date. New doors are opening for us every week. Larger players want to bundle our product with their solution. Payment and acquiring companies want to integrate their payment network with our solution. It’s a bit overwhelming at some points in time.
A very emotional moment was our presence at the EuroCIS trade show in May 2022 in Düsseldorf. At this 3-day trade show, we realized what we had achieved. Our booth was visited by many industry experts. Our KeyNote presentation attracted a lot of interest – a full house. At this event, my team and I felt that we had found our place in the industry and received great respect for what we had already achieved. That was very appreciative.
- If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently? What are your biggest learnings?
In my full career, I never learned as much as in the last two years. First, I have to admit that I overestimated the complexity of developing software that can revolutionize an old and static industry. Our goal was to make a highly complex subject as simple as possible for the customer while providing the best user experience. The complexity was due to the established processes we needed to change. The separated disciplines we wanted to unite like the regulatory requirements in our industry with innovation so that the customer got the benefits of the mobile world as a product.
What would I do differently today? The MVP issue. I would make a plan on how to achieve the final vision and break it down into small sprints. After each small sprint, look for customers for whom the module is sufficient and already provides value that the customer is willing to pay money for. This way, you can acquire customers more quickly and not be 100% dependent on investors.
I would put more emphasis on go-to-market from day one. It’s important to have a sales and marketing strategy from the beginning to get the product to market as quickly as possible. This gives you valuable customer feedback that allows you to optimize the product and attract more customers quickly. At ZEMP, we spent too much time on development in the first phase before we presented ourselves to the market.
To develop scalable software, you don’t just need developers. It takes quality assurance, business analysts, support, software architects, and product managers. That’s a big team, and it needs to be supported financially. Today, I know the metrics much better, what it costs, and would plan that differently. Operational processes and workflows. To build a global, scalable SaaS solution, it is important to develop the right workflow automation. Cost optimization and scaling can only be achieved through workflow automation. For this, you need the right tools. We have introduced and successfully implemented these, but I would invest in these lifesavers earlier today.
- What motivates you to continue your business every day?
A visionary startup founder who needs and seeks a challenge every day. “No,” doesn’t exist. “Can’t”, certainly not. This is what makes it so exciting every day and is very satisfying. The path to the target is very dynamic and difficult to plan. Every day you are faced with new challenges that you have to solve. You have a big responsibility for a team, partners, and investors. As a founder, your main task is finding solutions to problems, motivating your team, and presenting your startup to the outside world by selling your vision and securing funding.
Today I work much more than before and am confronted with unpleasant situations that don’t exist in larger companies. However, I would never change my job to a management position in a big international mogul. Your spectrum, the diverse topics you have to manage, you only find in a startup. There is a saying: “ONES a Startup, always a Startup”. I love challenges and visions that sustainably improve the lives of others. This is what we do as a startup. We take on a challenge to make something better or make something impossible possible through innovation. My motivation is the dream at hand, our teams’ energy, the challenge at hand, and most importantly, the customers who tell you, thank you, thanks to ZEMP they were able to improve their lives. Positive customer feedback is the best source of energy.
- One piece of advice for someone who is just starting out with their startup?
Ensure that your private environment allows you to put 200% into this adventure. Make sure that your living expenses are at a minimum. Don’t set yourself up for a sprint, but a marathon. Find a team that complements each other. It is much easier to build something that makes a difference as a team than alone. The most important skills that should be covered by the team are SW Development, Sales & Marketing, Legal and Finance, and Care and Customer Success.
From day one, seek contact with the great platforms that exist in Switzerland, such as the Swiss Startup Association. Network, and share with the whole world what you are up to. You need a supportive environment, you need people in your network who can and will help you. And most importantly, you need financial support. If you work it well, you can get this in Switzerland’s well-organized and connected startup community.
- What does it mean to you to be a member of the Swiss Startup Association?
With my premium membership, I participate in an organization that advocates for us founders and all startups in Switzerland in politics. This is important for Switzerland as a location to strengthen innovation. At the same time, I have access to my peers to maintain a very important exchange. It also gives me a great platform to position our startup and get attention.
I recommend joining the Swiss Startup Association. Whether you have a startup intending to deliver a Unicorn or a small service startup, being a member is worthwhile for everyone. Everyone needs the opportunity to exchange ideas, share experiences and learn from mistakes. Everyone needs to be able to present themselves, and everyone needs a network to grow.
I have once been to a Startup Night in Winterthur and Founders Dinner. It was a great experience every time. It’s a community where you can exchange ideas and always come home with new ideas or solutions to a problem.
A big thank you to Oliver Zemp and the Zemp team for sharing your story with us! If you want to know more about Zemp, visit www.zemp.io
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