A Different Kind of Startup

What do you think about when you read or hear the word Startup? Groundbreaking ideas? Millions in VC funding? Shiny Offices? Unicorns?
I realised recently that there is a different kind. The predictable, healthy, money-earning kind.

When I thought about building a for-profit side project, my idea creation always resolved around solving problems with software. Platforms. Data. Scalability. With less or weak competitors. It needed the push of my now co-founders for me to realise that there are companies with other purposes and ways I should think about. Companies that simply fill a demand.

Last year, we founded a company and launched our product CARE’Y ON in March 2018 which does exactly this: filling a demand. We sell travel-sized essentials out of fancy vending machines directly at airport gates. Toothpaste, contact-lens solution, pantyliner, sun cream, whatever — it’s there. Not so groundbreaking, huh? Turns out, it’s even better.

We have competitors with bigger pockets and equal-quality products. So why even bother? Because there is a need. We started in Stuttgart with a pilot phase to verify/correct our business case, numbers and sales estimations and only after some weeks I’ve realised that this is not the business a VC is interested in. There is no rocket-style raise in profit or any chance that I will quit my job to work on this. But this is the perfect opportunity to build a passive income. A highly (I’m talking 100%) automatable business that creates a passive revenue stream and give me more financial independence.

Passive Income means you stop trading time for money, but invest time or money in something upfront that continuously generates money later.

From refilling the machines, to reordering products, delivering them to the airports in a secure supply chain, answering customer service calls, gathering data from the connected machines and doing maintenance — everything is automated or outsourced. We invested some time upfront, now the engine is running with us doing absolute minimal work. If we invest more time and money, it is to scale while keeping the daily business automated.

If you think about building a side project and/or founding a company — don’t limit yourself to the ideas that you consider of the groundbreaking, shaking up the status-quo-type of ideas. Sometimes a different, simple idea might be the perfect solution for you.

The most important part though: start now!


If you like these articles you should check out my mailing list where I send them out weeks before they appear here plus some exclusive ones 🙌.