Your company logo is a rocket, but they are an alternative to Rocket Internet startups. Without millions of investors, the hosting provider Uberspace grows year after year. Even otherwise, the company is different: customer support is a matter of the boss, the users pay as much as they want, the team is scattered throughout Germany. A portrait of the anti-rocket.
His clients are not used to a company trusting them. In long emails they explain why they can not pay this month. Some send their half life story. “They have a strong sense of justification,” says Jonas Pasche, founder of hosting provider Uberspace. The 36-year-old does not want to know all that. “I trust my clients to pay what they think fit and can afford,” he says. With Uberspace Pasche has implemented a rather unusual pricing model: Pay as much as you want.
For at least one symbolic euro per month everyone can use the services of Uberspace and host his homepage on the servers of the company. A digital coffee machine can be rewarded if a customer likes the customer care. But: It is not a must. Uberspace has been around for four years now. And the concept has worked. Moreover, it is successful. 25,000 accounts are registered with Uberspace and earn more in the month than the average cost.
The Business Administration show the middle finger
Pasche and his team break new ground with the pricing model. They ignore a principle that budding business economists have been told for generations: the fixed price must at least equal the costs – or be higher. It is just one of the economic mantras that Pasche shows his middle finger entrepreneurially.
Growth? Does not have to be. Leadership? They work scattered throughout Germany. Control? “I can not control people from the team anyway, I have to trust them.” Marketing? “We do not need a good product.”
A rocket is the company logo of Uberspace, otherwise the company is a blatant counterpart to the startups of Rocket Internet. Without investors pumping millions of euros into the company, the hosting provider is growing year after year, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. And without debt. While Rocket Internet boss Oliver Samwer notes, according to reports, which of his employees goes home too early, Uberspace founder Pasche is more worried that his employees are overworking. On the way to the anti-rocket company, Pasche learned from the mistakes of former bosses and put them on sustainability.
With the notice in the drawer
Everything started with a notice. Jonas Pasche, born in 1978, was working at an agency that managed to host servers for different companies. He liked doing his job. But one day the boss told him: “We have to grow up and compete with others in the market.” That is how Pasche tells it today. The company set up a sub-brand that was cheaper but also offered less service. The young administrator could not do anything with the cheap product anymore. At some point he wrote his notice and put it in the drawer. And one day, more than 13 years ago, when the boss barked at him, he brought his dismissal out. Boom.
Rather calmly the boss reacted, tells Pasche. His supervisor said, “That’s what I suspected.” Pasche grins a little mischievously when he tells this story. After his dismissal he tried the new beginning, wanted to give laymen training on IT topics. Things did not go so well, and at the same time old customers came to him asking if he could not provide servers for them again. The work became more, the team grew to four people. Then came the idea of addressing end customers with Uberspace.
To create a hosting service, Pasche and his colleagues came to it almost incidentally. Friends of the team had repeatedly asked them if they could help them set up a website. For example for a travel blog. “We found the existing offers through the bank bad,” says Pasche. So they decided to simply create their own offer. The plan: In two basic things she wanted to be different from providers like 1 & 1 or Strato. The customer support should not consist of text modules, but be the most important part of the work – and another price model had to.