Meet Marco, Sandro & Dominic, co-founders at Swiss grocery list startup Bring! Labs

Niall O’Gorman
Feb 25, 2016 · 7 min read

Meet Bring! the Swiss digital grocery startup. They’ve built a digital grocery list, which aims to replace pen and paper by bringing the user real value while giving brands exposure and at the same time adding fun to your shopping trips.

What is the name of your startup, what year was it founded?, do you have any co-founders? how did you get the idea?
The name of the startup is Bring! Labs. I founded the company together with my co-founders Sandro Strebel and Dominic Mehr in 2015. We are the publisher of the Bring! Shopping List app — the worlds most social and intelligent grocery shopping list for iPhone and Android. Our vision is to help everyone on the planet to save time and money while grocery shopping.

What are all the ways in which you can use bring?
Bring! is the perfect fit if you live in a shared household. It’s useful for families, shared flats, couples or small offices. Bring! is always at hand and part of your regular grocery shopping. You can use Bring! to plan your shopping trip at home on your tablet and go shopping with your Apple Watch. Hands-free shopping has already started. :)

What markets are you live in?
Bring! is currently available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. We have localized catalogues for markets Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, Italy and France.

Who’s your typical customer and how do they use your service?
Bring! is built for everyone. Among our users are students who share a flat or married couples in their seventies. Grocery shopping is something everyone is somehow involved with. We give our users a tool to efficiently manage their grocery shopping. From the business point of view our customers are FMCG brands, retailers and online grocery shops. We connect them with our users based on the buying intend they express in the app.

Where’s Bring! labs located and how many people work there?
We are based in Zurich, Switzerland and are currently just three employees. But we are hiring and looking for Android/iOS/Java/Web developers, a data scientist and a business developer.

How was Bring! originally funded, how are you funded now and how does Bring! make money?
We are in the comfortable position that just 10 months after founding the company we are already break-even. In order to grow faster and to extend our value proposition we are currently raising money.

Do you generate any market trends/ insights, if so can you give some examples?
We clearly see seasonality in a lot of our categories. As summer last year was really hot in Switzerland we saw an unusually high demand for water melon. Also various fruits and vegetables like strawberries or asparagus show strong seasonality. Guess when is the hottest time in year for Champagne? Right, it’s New Year’s Eve. In the future we will use those insights to make predictions and a like for our users to simplify grocery planning even further and save time and money.

How did you come up with the design of the App?
We did a lot of paper prototyping and tested various designs. It was key to us to not only copy the standard paper list and transform it into an app. We wanted to use all benefits and advantages of a mobile platform. As the context of use is very important to an app, we ended up with a tile design. With the big icons it’s very easy to tick off items during a shopping trip with the smartphone in one and a basket in the other hand.

Do you engage and get feedback from your users, how, and have you implemented any of their suggestions?
We receive a lot of user feedback by email and via social media. User feedback is very important to us and helps us further improve our app. Currently we don’t have the resources to answer all the emails and requests personally but we read them all and fill our product roadmap based on all the ideas. Based on the suggestions we introduced multiple lists a while ago and published an Apple Watch and Android Wear version of Bring! (just to name a few).

What’s the biggest challenge for Bring! today?
User growth and retention are very important for us. Everything depends on our loyal users. That’s why the biggest challenge for us is to decide how to further develop our product to gain more users and become better in keeping them active. Also we have to understand how the food/grocery digitalisation is going to evolve.

How did you get your start, what brought you to a life in a startup?
I studied computer science and worked many years as software engineer and later as product and project manager. This of course helps me to understand the mechanics of a mobile application startup. But what really brought me to do Bring! was my desire to do something on my own. Sandro and I founded our first company when we were around 20.

Dominic: I spent the last years in different leadership roles in the field of Business Development and Marketing/Sales in global enterprises. I worked and lived in 4 different countries and thus could gain extensive knowledge in international business as well as on how to deal with different cultures as team leader and with key partners. This experience helps me now understanding and evaluating on our international business potential and setting up new relationships with future key partners. I focus on the commercial topics at Bring!.

Sandro: Before I started at Bring! I spent several years as Software Engineer and Usability Consultant in a leading software consultant company on different projects. I was always passionate about the combination of software engineering and design. Therefore I have made a master study in human computer interaction design. At Bring! I’m responsible for the engineering and the design.

What would you say is your best and worst character traits?
I have a lot of new ideas. I think this is good because new ideas are the source of innovation. But on the other hand, new ideas can distract you from a plan. It’s important to keep the right balance.

Are you striking a work / life balance? If so, what’s your secret?
I see it as a whole. I try to focus on what I’m doing and have a healthy balance. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not.

When things are going crazy, how do you unwind?
I go for a long run or I meet my friends for a beer and a card game.

What’s the last book or movie you’ve read/seen?
I’ve just finished The Circle by Dave Eggers. It’s something like 1984 with Facebook or Google.

What’s your favourite gadget and why?
Our excellent coffee machine. we simply couldn’t work without it.

If you weren’t working on bring what would you be doing?
I love my job and never really thought about it. But it would definitely contain a technical and creative part again.

Dominic: I am convinced that being an entrepreneur is the best fit for. I love sports so being a pro athlete could have been an interesting choice too, till you reach the age of 35 and can no longer walk ;-)

So what’s next for your Bring! Labs?
We’re looking forward to close the current financing round, to extend our team with more great people and to get working on our next big release.

What question would you like me to ask the next founder?
If you could change the start up environment you are working in, what would be the major change you would like to see?

#FounderStories simply a series of conversations with founders that I meet on my travels, have worked with in the past or simply find what they do interesting. These posts do not represent the views of any employer or any business that I am affiliated with.

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Other interviews in the series:

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