Customer Stories

beUnity harnesses the untapped potential of communities

Meet Patrik Elsa, Founder & CEO of beUnity, which recently closed a convertible loan with LEXR. In this article, Patrik talks about beUnity’s mission, why beUnity was spun off and what has already been achieved in its first year.

Patrik, what challenge do you solve with beUnity?

The fundamental added value of the beUnity platform is to unleash the often untapped potential within communities. The origin of this idea lies in the community platform “Crossiety”, which offers communities and cities a “digital village square” platform to promote exchange and interaction for the local population. Based on this technology, we founded the spin-off “beUnity”, which adapts these functions globally to communities of all kinds. Whether it’s a club, settlement, association or church congregation – the platform is highly scalable and applicable to any community of interest, need or affiliation.

This software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, which can be scaled to different communities, guarantees us faster growth (initially DACH-wide) and ensures through the so-called “product led” strategy that a powerful product can be offered at low prices. It also offers the possibility of white-label solutions for larger communities, such as international alumni networks, which can customise the app according to their specific needs. Initial discussions for this platform-as-a-service model have already begun and should be ready to go in 2021.

How does beUnity work in practice?

The platform enables easier, interactive communication and organisation among the members of a community. It offers a platform on which synergies can be used and commitment can be generated in real time. In doing so, beUnity combines various communication functions in one app. Appointments can be coordinated, help can be sought and found, and information can be brought to the important stakeholders. In addition, various groups help to bring together people with the same challenges or interests and facilitate new contacts.

Concrete examples of this are, for example, housing estate residents who are looking for a temporary parking space for external guests and find it with a neighbour via the app. There are members of a church congregation who have written prayers together via the new digital network and later even printed them out and sent them to others. Or associations that make their protection concepts available to members in real time and can respond directly to the various questions in the comments section. As you can see, the examples of success are as diverse as the communities themselves, but they have one thing in common: through low-threshold communication channels, synergies can be identified, used and commitment generated.

How did the spin-off decision come about?

beUnity AG was founded in June 2020 as a spin-off of Crossiety AG. Crossiety has been connecting residents from municipalities and cities for over five years with the “Digital Village Square” residents’ app. Almost 100 administrations already rely on the innovative communication solution.

In the wake of the successful establishment of this hyperlocal platform, the need for a communication app of their own has also increased among communities, settlements and associations. Based on these experiences, a separate team developed a communication solution for communities at the beginning of 2020. This resulted in the beUnity app, which, based on the knowledge and technology of Crossiety, already has a high level of development. Since the focus on the various community niches can also be addressed globally, we decided to found an own spin-off for this purpose.

Why did beUnity’s decide for a convertible loan?

Through the spin-off, we took over a functioning and valuable platform with existing customers, for whose maintenance we already had to incur some costs. However, as the turnover was still rather small, as in all other start-ups, we did not yet want to actively talk to investors about possible valuations. The convertible loan, on the other hand, was an inexpensive and uncomplicated way to overcome our challenges as a start-up.

“Like the convertible loan itself, the cooperation with LEXR was very straightforward. Above all, the digital mindset during our time working together which ensured that we could quickly and easily get in touch with the LEXR team, suits us. In addition, you can sense that LEXR has a huge amount of know-how regarding start-ups. And as luck would have it, my contact person was also a Grisonian … Well, what more is there to add?”

What tips would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to set up a convertible loan?

The whole process of the convertible loan is basically relatively easy to understand and implement. Especially thanks to the guide provided by LEXR, our investors were also able to quickly understand what it was all about, and they were quickly familiar with the terminology. From our point of view, it is important that it’s perfectly clear to everyone from the beginning what it is about and what a convertible loan means for them.

In light of the current situation, how are you at beUnity making the best of the pandemic?

The most important thing for us has always been to maintain the team spirit. This means that we also enjoy a digital aperitif and toast to our collaboration virtually. Especially in a start-up, where the employees are the heart of the company and have to embody the values, a hungry and motivated team is the cornerstone of success. In our company values, this point can be found at the top with the term “WONE” – a winning team that gives everything to celebrate success together.

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