Meet Bonagora Co-Founder Tobias Meisel

Originally published September 7, 2016

Pictured above: Tobias Meisel, co-founder of Bonagora.

You’ve met our business and sales team at trade shows throughout the world, but what about those working behind the scenes? Whether it’s our tech team coding the latest platform features or human resources recruiting the future of the company — it takes a village. That’s why our new interview series is dedicated to spotlighting some of the people who make Bonagora… well, Bonagora.

To launch this new series, we decided to go big. Introducing our co-founder and the man behind the technology, Tobias Meisel.

Hailing from Frankfurt (Oder, not the one with the airport), Tobias handles the backend of the platform with his team and works from our Berlin office. We went for a stroll in the park the other day to discuss his love for software and his thoughts on the future of Bonagora.

What sparked your interest in tech?
It started with my cousins. They had a Commodore 64 at home and that was freaking awesome, computer games with pixels, huge pixels — it was so interesting. Then my parents got my sister and I a computer for Christmas and it took us like 6 hours to get it going to start the first game. That was in maybe 1992 or 1993, with these 5.25 inch floppy disks. And now I’m here.

What was your first code or product ship for Bonagora like?
It was exciting! We spent quite some time developing the first version. We started everything in early 2014 and then it took a while to hire the guys to develop the client side while I was busy working on the backend. We had our first commercial launch of the Bonagora Point of Sale in January 2015 for the Atlanta trade show, which was a big thing. We had to test everything upfront and test every detail to make sure everything works for our vendors in Atlanta. There were no small shows that we could test on, there was just this huge Atlanta show. So it was exciting and in the end everything worked out well.

How does that compare to your most recent launch?
Well, for me it’s more of an ongoing process. It’s not like there is this new version that is completely rewritten or anything. We make the product better each and every day. We have some milestones that we often try to get done before a show starts but in the end, for us on the backend side, it’s an ongoing process.

Are you just on the backend or do you dabble in other areas?
I’ve also tapped into other areas. I have some expertise in web development and actually the first web application we developed was done by me until we hired our web developers. When our team grew and we had people specialized in web development and so on, they took those departments over. Now our development team is big enough that we can all focus on what we can do best.

What did you study at university?
I started with computer information technology, which is basically a mix of computer science and engineering. Then after a year I realized that I am happier working with computers and on the software side, so I then switched to computer science and only computer science.

By the time you had turned 30, you had founded two companies and an additional large-scale project back at your university. To what do you attribute your success?
I love my job — and for me, it’s not only a job. When I’m at home during the weekend and I get bored, I start developing code. Most of the time it’s not work for me. I’m putting a lot of effort into the stuff and I think I’ve gained good experience through the years. Justin Scull, one of the other Bonagora co-founders, and I had a startup before and we made mistakes, which is just normal. We learned our lessons and with Bonagora we had the chance to not make the same mistakes again. We implemented things a little differently than before, which seems to be working pretty well.

If you weren’t into computers, what would you be doing?
One of my hobbies is photography, so that would be interesting. I could imagine opening up my own studio and becoming a photographer.

What’s your spirit animal?
Tom Petty, because I’m still learning to fly.

Berlin or NYC?
Berlin

Where do you see Bonagora in five years?
We have the chance to become a strong force in terms of home and living wholesale. Actually, we are the market leader right now. I think we can continue to grow our system, make it easier for people to use, add more features and become a substantial part of the whole ecosystem.

For more articles and interviews like this, keep updated with the Bonagora Blog and learn about our team.