Rooted in the Hanseatic city – A portrait of the Fintech start-up Taxdoo
In this series of portraits we showcase stories and business models of Hamburg-based companies and institutions in the financial sector. In this episode, we take a look at the founding history of the typical Hanseatic start-up Taxdoo.
The subject of sales tax is not very “sexy”. Not even with a slogan like “VAT is love” - an otherwise clever pun on VAT, and the 90s hit “What is love”. For Taxdoo, the sound of music it is still there: Two years after starting operations, the start-up founded by Roger Gothmann, Christian Königsheim and Matthias Almendinger is already regarded as a successful case in B2B business.
The fintech offers a software thatoperators of online shops can use to supply lightweight goods to other European countries. In order to be able to sell cross-border, the different sales tax rates and regulations of the countries must be observed. It is often very cumbersome and expensive, particularly for smaller shops, to keep track and pay the sales tax correctly. The Taxdoo software saves the dealer from having to calculate how high the sales tax is for the specific country and automatically calculates the correct figure. Where required, the sales tax return is distributed to all countries, making it possible to have a Europe-wide network of tax consultants. Many of the software users - retailers and companies - are based in Hamburg, reports Moritz Lukas, who has been part of the team from day one and is now Head of Sales.
A success factor that also applies to many other Hamburg-based financial companies is that Taxdoo is rooted in the real economy - and in the Hanseatic city. The start-up has already won several prizes here: In 2016 they won first place at the UniPitch at the university and second place at the “Gründergeist” competition at the Wirtschaftsjunioren Hamburg, and then it culminated in them receiving the Audience Award 2017 at the Startups @ Reeperbahn Pitch.
Yet, Taxdoo is not one of the companies to shout about its success. Basically, they are what you would probably call a typical Hanseatic start-up in the scene - rather too reserved, but successful as a result.
According to its own data, Taxdoo has already achieved six-figure sales in its second fiscal year. And this came before the first round of financing by the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), which invested a mid-six-figure sum at the end of 2017. The company now has ten employees.
Is there a formula for its success? “Linking two areas that were previously separate: taxes and technology,” says Moritz Lukas. The Hanseatic city is very much appreciated at Taxdoo. It is “well positioned” in terms of fintech, says Lukas. “Since the city is home to a large number of fintechs, it is easy to exchange ideas within the fintech community.” And for the company, the city offers “an ideal environment”. “The fact that we are so close to large, well-known tax consulting companies, almost all of which are represented in Hamburg and have a great interest in the digitisation of tax issues, is of particular importance to us.”