High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in online crafting school ‚makerist’
December 16, 2013
Germany’s new internet platform makerist offers for the first time video classes for all things handmade – knitting, sewing, crochet and more. With the Seed investment from High Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), makerist can become the destination site for e-learning in the non-academic sector.
makerist Co-founders Axel Heinz and Amber Riedl have seen the trend towards Do-It-Yourself (DIY)– and its market potential. The founders saw a real need from the DIY community for high quality tutorials and materials. From this need, they developed the makerist model of professional video crafting classes combined with a materials box. makerists videos currently focus on sewing, knitting and crochet, but will introduce further categories such as patchwork and cake decorating over the next 6 months. The investment from HTGF is slotted to increase the production of video classes and customer acquisition.
The video classes from makerist set an extremely high standard, from their educational content, to their professional teachers to the quality and aesthetric of the films themselves. Where previously it was only possible to learn from professionals at sewing or knitting courses in their ateliers or fashion design schools, makerists online videos provide access for everyone interested in crafting from the comfort of their homes. The online learning experiece is enhanced though the frequent use of close up shots, an over- the -shoulder perspective and detailed grafic effects. Furthermore, students can access the class teacher or other class participants over the platform with class-related questions.
The selection of classes provide something for everyone – there are introductory courses for crochet and sewing as well as more complex courses such as pattern alterations and reproduction.
Romy Schnelle, Senior Investement Manager at HTGF is convinced that the DIY trend is also one towards sustainability, and certainly not a niche market: „The latest study from the Allensbach Institute and Initiative Handarbeit shows that over 29 million Germans are interested in handicrafts and that the market for craft materials alone is a billion dollar industry – and growing. The makerist model targets both.“
The Berliner start up is not only financially well supported though the investment of a corporate VC in a similar branch, TA Ventures, HTGF and Studi-VZ founder Michael Brehm; it is additionally professionally well supported through the experience and competence of the founding team. makerists’ CEO Axel Heinz’s background by Ebay and DaWanda with professional expertise in marketplace, product development and internationalisation is complemented by co-founder Amber Riedl’s start up & marketing experience at 1001hochzeiten.
Even before founding the company, the makerist team set up their facebook fanpages to begin interaction with the target group and understand their needs and motivations. The fanpages expanded extremely fast – makerist won over 70,000 fans in just six months, and worked with them to tailor the makerist product. For Axel Heinz and Amber Riedl, makerist is an affair of the heart : „With makerist we can combine our passion for handmade, film, internet and small manufactures. That we can continually improve our concept with our users makes makerist even more valuable to us.“
With the investment from High Tech Gruenderfonds, the berlin based start up can increase video production and increase its customer base.
About makerist GmbH
The online crafting school ‚makerist’ was founded in June 2013 by Axel Heinz and Amber Riedl. Knitters and sewers with all levels of experience can enjoy high quality HD instructional videos by professional teachers in the areas knitting, sewing and crochet. To improve the crafting experience for students, makerist additionally offers a box with all the materials from the project taught in the video. Students are further invited to share pictures of their handmade projects in the makerist Werkschau or to discuss related topics in the makerist Forum.
Makerist’s Facebook Fan pages Strick Café, Näh Café, DIY Café ‚ and ‚makerist’ provide daily inspriration to community of over 70,000 fans. Their feedback – comments, links, and messages – help makerist shape the direction of the website and the content of upcoming classes.
About High-Tech Gruenderfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 573.5 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million HTGF I, EUR 301.5 million HTGF II).
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Senior Investment Manager
Phone: +49 (228) 823 001-00
Fax: +49 228 823 000-50