First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nikbin Rohany: I am glad that my family and friends are safe and sound. However, I am aware that this is not the case for everyone around the globe – and I’m sending my thoughts to those who are not that lucky.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded or joined Shore
Nikbin Rohany: I studied informatics and started working for Accenture as my first job, which brought me to projects in India and the US. After some time as a freelance business consultant, I founded my own company absence.io to develop a tool that helps small
and medium-sized companies with their time off management. Shore , a software startup that develops software for SMBs, had already been founded back in 2012 by Philip Magoulas and Alexander Henn.
In 2017, Shore acquired absence.io . I joined the company as CMO and had to transform Shore from an outbound-driven sales company to an inbound and product-driven company. In June 2018, the co-founders left the company and I took over as CEO. Thanks to the transformation, Shore is now able to grow not only in a healthy way but also on a stable basis.
How does Shore innovate?
Nikbin Rohany: Shore offers an innovative software-as-a-service solution for online booking and customer management, as well as a digital POS system that is specially designed for small and medium-sized service businesses – from hairdressers and beauty salons to
companies in the health, retail or coaching industry. This all-in-one software digitizes and optimizes processes, saves time and money, and increases customer satisfaction.
Shore's existing range of products and services so far includes an online calendar with appointment booking and reminder functions, including bookings directly via Google and Instagram, a customer management software, shift scheduling, marketing tools such as newsletter and online advertising features as well as a digital POS system. In addition, customers are provided with their own mobile iPad checkout system. Shore currently has around 80 employees at its headquarters in Munich and its offices in Berlin, Los Angeles and Zurich. Our software solution is already available in 68 countries.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business and how are you coping with it?
Nikbin Rohany: We have clients from various industries like the hair, beauty and fitness industry as well as small retailers. As they were heavily affected by the pandemic and – to some extent – even had to close their businesses for months, this has also affected our
business partly. However, although our new customer business declined for some weeks, we now see a higher demand for digital solutions than before Corona, because the pandemic shows the advantages of digital solutions in a very impressive way. During the shutdown, we reacted quickly and offered our clients a free app called Shore Light to support them during the crisis.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Nikbin Rohany: Luckily, we didn’t have to make any difficult choices since the year started well with our first profitable months and a healthy customer base with annual contracts. The most important lesson we learned is that you always have to be prepared for tough
times in terms of having sufficient liquidity and a healthy business.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, and how do you project yourself and Shore in the future?
Nikbin Rohany: I exercise regularly, especially by going for a run either before or after work. Other than that, it helps to have a strong team that can work very independently. But having friends and family close is also a good way to unwind.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nikbin Rohany: Right now, we don’t see any hard competitors in the European market who offer the same variety of tools in one system. However, on an (inter)national level, there are some companies we do compete with, like the US-based solution Square or several
booking platforms like treatwell or Mindbody.
Our vision is for Shore to become the leading operating system for small and medium-sized businesses, providing them with a one-stop shop solution for everything they need: an online calendar with appointment booking and reminder functions, including bookings directly via Google and Instagram, a customer management software, shift scheduling, marketing tools such as newsletter and online advertising features as well as a digital POS system. We keep reacting to our client’s needs, and this is how we will stay in the game.
Your final thoughts
Nikbin Rohany: I am optimistic about the future because we see that Shore is on a growth track and the digitization process is being accelerated by the crisis. I am confident that the global economy will recover soon. On the other hand, I hope that the current situation
– which was and partly still is though for everyone – will bring people around the world a bit closer together.