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By Companisto

Doxter-Exit: „We celebrate with the companists !


From the initial idea to a successful exit in just four years: In an interview with Companisto, Dr. Ron Lehnert, founder of the Berlin-based platform for booking appointments with doctors, tells the story of how it all began and why the crowdinvestors made his idea possible in the first place.


Behind you lies a period of stressful, but happy weeks. Doxter was sold. How do you feel?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: We certainly feel very good! Due to the sale to Doctena we have an even better perspective to further develop the company.Up until now, we have been very present on the German market – now we are aiming at Europe. Of course, as a founder you also have mixed feelings: Such a company, in which you invested infinite amounts of energy, is always like a “baby” to you. Now it is all grown up and ventures into the big, wide world. But we are also happy for the companists, who supported us in a very early stage and in doing so made Doxter possible in the first place.


So an exit is not just a great achievement for the investors – after all it resulted in a six-figure sum for the companists – but also a real challenge…

Dr. Ron Lehnert: At first, this is really a challenge. The due diligence process always takes the most time and effort. If this is completed successfully, there are many little road works that remain, but they are all manageable. As the new managing director of Doctena Germany, I face the task of optimally positioning our brand and contribute to the merging process of both companies. I am looking forward to this challenge.


In 2012 you were the first startup to be financed on Companisto. Why did you decide to go with equity-based crowdfunding?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: First,we started to finance ourselves with the help of EXIST – a program, which I can highly recommend for early stages. When the time had come to look for follow-up financing, we quickly entered into negotiations with several business angels. This process usually takes a while. Of course, we were also looking for alternative opportunities for founders. In the end, we chose Companisto, because we were convinced by Companisto’s investment model for our investors in case of an exit. What persuaded us as well was the speed with which the financing round was made possible. It was just a perfect match.


Back then, crowdinvesting was an entirely new form of financing. How did you experience it?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: I already knew the concept from Kickstarter. In general, I am a person who has no fear of contact. We looked at the details and then realized: This is just the right thing for us. At the same time, it was quite new for us as well. We had to collect a lot of data and manage the financing round, too. In comparison to the negotiations with the business angels it was, as already mentioned, the speed that convinced us. 


How did you proceed after the funding?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: Initially, we focused on the four biggest cities in Germany and started with dentists. This is also why we had to strengthen the sales department with new employees. At the end of 2012, we had a second financing round with Martin Sinner from Idealo. He was convinced to invest in us, because we already proved with the crowd that our business model was well received by people.


Which role did the companists play during the development of Doxter?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: They say that crowdinvesting yields additional effects due to the vast publicity. We actually determined that as well. We received media coverage and gained new customers. In the months after the financing round our investors supplied us with good ideas that we also implemented. One idea was, for example, that the companists could act as ambassadors for us when they visit their doctor. We printed business cards that the companists could leave there after their visits. On the business card there was a code to directly register as a doctor. And we want to encourage the companists to continue recommending us when they visit their doctor.


Was there a moment when everything was hanging in the balance? If so, how did you manage to turn things around?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: In 2014 we determined that we would have to adjust our business model, if we want to continue successfully in the market. We rebuild the platform to the point of “software as a service”. This resulted in tremendous growth. In the end, the challenge for an entrepreneur is always the same: The product has to deliver added value for the target group. And in that regard, we did a pretty good job.


And then you received the offer of Doctena. How did you react?

Dr. Ron Lehnert:  Doxter is something that is very dear to our hearts. We wanted to become the leading platform in this sector in Germany. That’s why, it was clear to us, that an exit had to make sense in a strategical way. It was also important for us, that the location in Berlin will be preserved. We have a great team that is perfectly balanced. Of course, we knew Doctena. We then took a close look at the product and asked ourselves whether we are on the same wavelength. After the first face-to-face meetings, we realized that this is the case. And then we initiated the process that lasted for several months until we could finally announce the exit.


What is the next step for you?

Dr. Ron Lehnert: Now we will start to work on the rebranding. This not only about simple things like exchanging the logo of Doxter or adjusting the homepage, but we will also have to communicate to our stakeholders what the takeover implies. In essence, we have the chance together with Doctena to become the biggest pan-European platform for booking appointments with doctors.


Thank you very much for the interview!


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