Conducted by Raško Perić, Marketing Manager at efcom gmbh.
R. Peric: How can I imagine the development of efcom? Who knew who and how did you get together?
A. Romann: Actually, it wasn’t very spectacular. Bodo, Detlev and I worked at the same company in Langen. But over time it became apparent that the company would not remain very successful and everyone was looking for something else. Bodo already had been developing a solution for factoring but his idea wasn’t fully elaborated yet. We as a trio then decided: Let’s work out something ourselves. At that moment, we still lacked someone who could professionally develop what we had in mind.
R. Peric: Martin Hug…
A. Romann: Exactly. I was asking around in my circle of friends and acquaintances whether somebody knew anyone who might be interested in the project. Just as one would do. At first, we talked to Martin Hug’s brother. He then referred us to Martin and one thing lead to another.
R. Peric: What was the actual initial spark for efcom?
A. Romann: First of all, the realisation that we would not get anywhere in the company we had been working for as employees. And then there was this idea to launch factoring software on the market; something which had not yet existed in Germany at the time. Both of these circumstances brought us the movitation we needed and so we just did it!
R. Peric: Were there any risks involved?
A. Romann: Of course, just as with any start-up. But we were lucky enough to have had a financial buffer due to our previous jobs. This way, we were quite secured. Nevertheless, this has never been a “fast sell” and each one of us has given it a lot of their energy. Eventually, our company kicked off as we had acquired our very first customer.
R. Peric: Would you ever have imagined efcom to be such a defining company for the whole German market in such a short period of time?
A. Romann: No, never. Our strategy implied focussing on rather small companies at first in order to build up our brand. Only then did we want to approach the bigger ones. But things turned out differently and relatively quickly, we had rather large companies as customers. It was almost like a wave that more or less hit us.
R. Peric: The wave carried you for a long time, until about 2008.
A. Romann: Yes, that’s when the financial crisis came which did not only hurt us but changed the entire market completely. After that, everyone became reluctant and many contracts were cancelled – which was very understandable. It definitely was a difficult time for us.
R. Peric: … which efcom overcame well?
A. Romann: The financial crisis hit us hard. Almost two years passed before we were back on track and heading towards where we wanted to go. We took it step by step. Right now we are doing all right which we can be very proud of, I think. All of our employees have been playing a part in continuing to make efcom the leading provider of factoring software not only in Germany but throughout Europe.
R. Peric: Mr. Romann, thank you so much for this conversation.