A start-up with potential
by Alfred Max
“Bringing people with the same interests together is the basic idea of our social app ‘Connou’”, explains Lukas Kromminga, who is currently studying in the 8th semester of the International Management Double Degree (IMX) programme at ESB Business School. The app works against isolation on campus – by recommending people with whom we can do something together or work together.
During the Corona pandemic, it was particularly difficult for first-year students to gain a foothold in the new environment and to get to know fellow students, and today the app still encourages initial contact with like-minded people at the university. And it does so exclusively on the basis of personal interests and current living conditions. Appearance and origin are irrelevant. “We want to have the best possible match”, says Kromminga, “Connou proposes people I should know.”
20 ‘moods’, topics, attitudes and interests, such as sports, having a coffee, making music, playing games, going on excursions, attending events, but also current presence on campus etc. are the basis for the people-suggestions the app provides. Other useful functions, such as suggestions for language partnerships or an effective mentoring programme are also being developed.
The app, which is available for download using iOS and Android, is suitable for all larger organisations. “These are schools and universities, and in future versions they could also include companies that want to encourage networking among their employees”, explains the entrepreneur. The app is free of charge for users, the client is the respective organisation.
In order to promote the app, Lukas Kromminga founded the start-up ‘Connou UG’ together with Mike Möck, a graduate in business information systems from Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, and Tim Möck, a doctoral student at Reutlingen University/Leipzig University. With success: the now 15-member, international team has already acquired the University of Mannheim as a client. After a very short time – the launch was in mid-December – around 5% of the students there use the app regularly.
The skills the founder acquired at ESB Business School complement the Möck brothers’ technical know-how perfectly: “What I learned at ESB about accounting and market research I can now put to good use. And as a board member of the ESB Investment Club, I have learned how to motivate a team”. Connou is currently marketing the company in America – via Hubspot and in many in-person pitches.
Further growth will be financed by the company’s own resources and not with venture capital, although related enquiries have already been made. “Our goal is to generate sufficient turnover in the coming 6 months so that we can finance ourselves. We want to retain decision-making options. Connou is meant to be an app that offers people real added value. And not end up like Facebook or Instagram, which ultimately only ties up user time for advertisers”, says Kromminga. “We are 100% focused on our start-up: new features and more countries are now coming up. And then an open version for everybody”.