5 minutes with... Benjamin Günther, CEO and co-founder of STYLIGHT
Bavaria's economy is full of life – and the people who live and work here make the biggest contribution to this. In our "Five minutes with..." section, each month we introduce an interesting person from business and research. This month, we talked to Benjamin Günther, CEO and co-founder of STYLIGHT. The Munich-based fashion start-up has grown to 100 staff in next to no time.
Where did the initial idea for founding STYLIGHT in 2008 come from?
We were a group of four friends from different backgrounds. Even during our time at university, we shared the goal of making it easier to discover and shop for fashion online. The fashion market was just about to break into e-commerce in 2008, and more and more brands and retailers were linking their website to an online shop. But it was still extremely difficult to find exactly the product you were looking for. Destination sites, which were already established for electronics and books, did not yet exist in the fashion segment, and searching online shops also remained a big technical challenge. We tackled this complexity and the result was STYLIGHT, the best way to shop for fashion. (www.stylight.com)
What support did STYLIGHT receive during the start-up phase?
We were lucky that our business plan received support early on in the form of the "Exist" start-up grant, professional coaching and our first office space from the "Center for Digital Technology and Management". We were also able to quickly win over investors such as Holtzbrinck Ventures, and later Tengelmann Ventures and SevenVentures, with our concept, so that they could also contribute to STYLIGHT.de's fast growth around the world.
STYLIGHT is a fashion community and a search engine at the same time, and ultimately an innovative IT company too. What do you think makes Munich and the metropolitan region stand out as an IT location?
It is for good reason that Munich is considered one of the best cities in the world to live in. I believe that aspects like this also contribute to attracting talent from around the world to Bavaria – something that we see at STYLIGHT.de time and again. We currently have 100 staff, of whom over fifty per cent are international. Thanks to TUM and LMU, we have access to a very high quality pool of talent locally, too.
Since 2013, STYLIGHT has also had a television presence. How has this stimulated your business?
Just a week ago, we launched our second TV advert, with the slogan "Nichts zum Anziehen" (nothing to wear). TV advertising has been an important marketing tool for us for a long time now, and its Germany-wide penetration makes it an absolute must.
What are the hot spots in Munich and the local area for you?
Maxvorstadt is one of my favourite districts in Munich. I like to go to Barry at Königin 43 or to Vorhölzer Kaffee on the TUM campus. Having grown up in the Isar valley, at weekends I often find myself heading into the mountains to get away from city life and relax in Bavaria's beautiful countryside.