mymuesli. Apple is the perfect ingredient.
Most people think of muesli as something tasty but not very exciting. That’s about to change, thanks to a start-up venture by three young entrepreneurs based in Passau, Germany. Using Apple software and hardware, they’ve developed an innovative online product and given muesli’s boring image a radical makeover in the process. In essence, they’ve turned a nutty dream into an e-commerce reality.
“Since April 2007, we’ve been producing the world’s first custom-mixed organic muesli”, says Max Wittrock, co-founder of mymuesli along with Hubertus Bessau and Philipp Kraiss. Muesli nuts across Europe (of which, it turns out, there are many) can now create their very own fantasy breakfast drawing on 75 organic ingredients. “There are 566 quadrillion possible combinations”, asserts Wittrock, a number that has been verified by an independent mathematician.
All customers have to do is log on, add anything from Tibetan goji berries to gummy bears to their chosen cereal base, click to confirm their order, and their bespoke muesli mix is blended and despatched to their door.
Of course, this sort of clever retail idea depends on technology for its success – on the internet, which makes e-commerce and high levels of customisation possible, plus the Apple technology upon which the entire mymuesli operation hinges.
The three co-founders started their venture equipped with little more than their own, personal Apple computers and an indomitable entrepreneurial spirit. “We’d all been involved in various ventures during and after university”, explains Hubertus Bessau. “An automated video store, an online community for house builders and websites for small businesses, to name just a few”.
He adds, “Because we could start the company with our own computers, we were cash-flow positive from the beginning”. This placed the business on a firm footing from the off, as no new equipment was acquired until the funds existed to purchase it.
Choosing Apple technology additionally benefited the start-up by facilitating a relatively simple company structure. “It enabled us to set up our business without having to establish really complex office or company structures”, comments Philipp Kraiss.
mymuesli uses Apple software to fulfil the majority of its business tasks. For example, it uses the out-of-the-box iWork app Pages for correspondence, designing promotional flyers and generating invoices. Likewise, Numbers is used for business calculations and accounting, Keynote for all corporate presentations and Time Machine for automatic data backup.
The team also regularly makes use of iCal for scheduling, iMovie and Mail, as well as iChat. “Because we’re such a small team, iChat has proved absolutely invaluable”, says Kraiss. The Apple messaging tool that incorporates text, audio and video allows the team to be in constant contact, as well as quickly and easily exchange files. “We really depend on this fast and reliable tool”, he says. “And screen sharing lets us work together as if we’re sitting at the same table”.
Mac OS X Leopard has also impressed the mymuesli team. Kraiss says: “We love the new features in Leopard, especially Spaces for organising our work and with its quick preview function – one of the greatest features on the Mac in my opinion!”
Key to the application of all this software is its ease of use. “Like most start-ups, we’re a small team with limited resources; we’re not in a position to bring in extra people to look after the computers”, explains Wittrock. “The fact that we can set up and operate all this technology ourselves is a big plus. Hubertus [Bessau] looks after most of it, but even he is free to devote time to other business tasks”.