The evolutionary history of a company is always different. At estos, a shared accommodation gave rise to today's technology leader. Stefan Hobratschk, former roommate and estos founder, talks about the company history of estos with Susanna Heine, Multimedia Editor at estos.
Susanna: "When did you notice that there was a whole lot of potential in your idea?"
Stefan: "Relatively early on. At the time, the PC market was starting to grow. ISDN was introduced, the use of the internet increased in business and the commercial phase was starting. For us it was clear at the start that telecommunications and computers moving closer together would provide many new opportunities. The merging of two worlds into one fascinated us. It was clear that common interfaces would be necessary to unite PC and telephony and to realize the new opportunities in the application. We realized this at first with TAPI."
Susanna: "Can you still remember your first customer?"
Stefan: "What I can still remember well was the first order from a wholesaler that is now Allnet. That was on July 28, 1997 and, of course, it was a great confirmation that we were on the right track. At the time, customers still came to us in our shared accommodation and asked about their product box. This is of course completely different today, but for our customers and partners the door of the estos central office is always open."
Susanna: "In retrospect, would you have done anything different?"
Stefan: "No. I think where we are today is the logical consequence of everything that we have built up slowly over the years. At first, we were really just a residential community that recognized what would be possible in the future with the merging of PC and TC. We followed these potential opportunities based on our personal fascination and always continued to push forward. Every day, we have been dealing with our products, tweaked them and improved them. Without this technical fascination, estos would not be where it is today. And starting the whole thing in a shared apartment and grappling with the idea around the clock has certainly played its part. Actually, we already experienced the modern start-up culture in the 90s".
Susanna: "Back to the customers. Today we deal a lot with partners and the internet. But how did you acquire the first customers at the beginning?"
Stefan: "At trade shows. We already had a small stand at CeBIT in the first year. CeBIT was then, as now, the biggest trade show for information technology, and regularly had up to 700,000 visitors in the late 90s. For us it was the perfect opportunity to present our innovative products to a suitable audience and at the same time gain new ideas and discuss the technical implementation of our products with others. For us as a product manufacturer, it was very important to exchange views with those who developed solutions for customers using our products. CeBIT was then presented over eight days and for us this meant full commitment every day. Because only here could we make so many contacts and build valuable relationships. For the new opportunities that arose from CeBIT little or no sleep for a week was a small sacrifice that we made gladly."