Viennese Hidden Champion Meister: „We Jumped Into a Pool With Huge Competitors“

If you have not seen the new office of the Austrian software company Meister by now, take a look (in the video above). It is located at the well known shopping street Mariahilfer Straße, it can fit up to 70 employees in modern, spacious rooms, features a big terrace and it even got it’s own pool table and whisky bar.

Millions per year

The new office of Meister (or Meisterlabs) tells a lot about how the company is doing. It’s doing pretty well. Michael Hollauf, who founded Meister together with his long-time business partner Till Vollmer, told Trending Topics, that their software products currently count more than 10 million users. The ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) amounted between $5 and 10 million, and it could get even more. Meister is devolping a third app that will accompany the two existing productivity apps MindMeister (mind mapping) and MeisterTask (task management).

Growth without big investments

Although the Viennese software company never moved to another city (apart from a sales office in Seattle), its founders always adressed the global market. „We started out globally right away. The internet allows you to go global from wherever you are, even from an office in Vienna. Growth started much quicker than it started here“, says Hollauf. Apart from a small group of business angels in the beginning of around half a million Euro, Meister never brought big investors on board. „We grew organically over the years with the revenue we made. We never took big investments, made crazy hiring decisions or bought other companies“, says Hollauf.

Differentiate from huge competitors

MindMeister is the leading mind-mapping app in the market right now with more than 10 million users. The second app MeisterTask floats in a tricky market and has to compete with the likes of Trello or Asana. „We jumped into a pool with huge competitors. There we really have to differentiate by focussing on our target users, by providing exactly those features that they want. Trello wants to be everything for everyone. They don’t focus on task management, they say they are for organizing stuff“, says Hollauf. With MeisterTask, he offers users his mind-mapping tool an extension for the creative process that follows after the brainstorming – when you actually start executing the project.

„We have everything here that we want“

A software company at this stage is observed closely by investors or potential buyers for sure. But Hollauf doesn’t think a lot about a big investment round or even an exit. „There is now concrete discussion about this as of now“, he says. „We have ideas for additional products, we want to grow and we want to fill our office with amazing people. „We have everything here what we want. We have fantastic technical ressources, we have a beautiful office environment, we are in the most liveable city in the world.“


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