Consume better: an interview with Berlin startup barcoo

You’re about to pick up some soap from that fancy new boutique around the corner. But how do you tell it hasn’t been tested on animals?

You walk into a coffee shop. You order a coffee and just as you take out your wallet to pay, when your phone tells you it’s your third time here. You’ve earned a free coffee.

In situations like these, the iPhone, Android and Windows app barcoo aims to improve our everyday consumption. Annemarie Munimus of barcoo explains the concept behind the Berlin-based startup.

WebMagazin: Tell us a little bit about barcoo, how does it work?

Annemarie Munimus: barcoo is Europe’s biggest product guide and provides consumers with information about food & beverage, cosmetics or media. They get the information directly on their smartphones – by scanning the barcodes of their products.

Looking for better options or clever consumer advice, our users can scan their desired products right in the supermarket. In this way, they benefit from the traffic light labelling systems for food, cosmetics and sustainability, the CO₂ footprint and test reports. Additionally, consumers can compare product prices of local dealers with online prices.

The app thrives on user ratings and cooperation with various partners such as Lebensmittelklarheit, PETA and Marktjagd. So far, the app is a huge success – we can see it every day by looking at our user ratings and cooperation….

On top of that, both the app and the web version of the consumer portal offer helpful guides as well as the latest news about consumer related topics.

WebMagazin: What would you say makes barcoo a special startup? How do you stand out in the Berlin tech scene?

Munimus: First of all it’s our team that makes barcoo special. Right from the start, we were all dedicated to make every day shopping more transparent, easy and exciting.

And of course it is the service itself. With the help of our users and data partners, we successfully managed to build a huge pool of data about fast moving consumer goods – products we consume every day.

14 million app downloads

WebMagazin: What stage of development are you in at the moment? How are you being funded?

Munimus: Right now, with 14 million app downloads we have a perfect base and experience for extending our services. Besides working nonstop to make the barcoo service even better we are also building new services like the barcoo beacon technology and more apps for various target groups.

We are happy to have the support of investors like the IBB (Investitionsbank Berlin) since the beginning.

WebMagazin: What’s the financial concept behind Barcoo and how do you plan on making money?

Munimus: As a big publisher for mobile we offer a huge platform for successful mobile marketing. We offer customers the opportunity to present their brands to interested users without big leakages.

WebMagazin: How did you come up with the idea for barcoo?

Munimus: Back in 2008 we were discussing the pros and cons of organic food labelling in Germany. At that time, we realized that you can find information about labelling of organic food easily on the internet, but there is no way to check on that when you actually need it: While you are out shopping.

That is how we came up with the idea of connecting those information with the barcode on every product so everybody can easily check it on their smartphones.

WebMagazin: And what were you doing before then?

Munimus: The founders were active in totally different disciplines: From planning satellite missions for the ESA via strategy consulting to building robots for the robot soccer world cup.

WebMagazin: And finally, why Berlin?

Munimus: Berlin is simply perfect for startups. The city is booming! In the last years, more and more startups were founded or have settled in Berlin. In this inspiring, fruitful and highly enjoyable surrounding the companies started to connect, interact and cooperate. We are very happy to work in this motivating environment.

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