The Hamburg startup Jimdo, which develops website offerings for the self-employed, has an eventful history behind it.

Doing their own thing again: Jimdo founders Fridtjof Detzner, Matthias Henze and Christian Springub (from left)

There are wild years behind the self-employed platform Jimdo: After two waves of layoffs in 2022, CEO Matthias Henze and his two co-founders Fridtjof Detzner and Christian Springub came up with a plan – a smaller team and a new product should bring the turnaround. Jimdo shrank from 340 employees to around 240 people at business peaks during the pandemic and focused more on the product range.

With success, as Henze says in an interview with Gründerszene. “Jimdo is profitable today.” Henze is also satisfied with the current size of the company and there will be no further expansion in the foreseeable future. What Jimdo offers for the self-employed includes, in addition to the website builder, warning-proof legal texts in collaboration with Trusted Shops, a customer management system, automated business entries, social media connection, close Google Ads integration, a booking system and an online store .

It is not the first time that the Jimdo founders have bought back investor shares

Now the trio of founders is taking a remarkable step and is buying their company back from investors. When asked, Henze did not want to provide any information about the purchase price, only this much: Each of the three founders now holds around a third of the shares. After a financing round of 25 million euros in 2015, the company finances itself from its own business; Global Founders Capital had previously joined as the first investor in 2007. A long time for startup funds, which at some point have to cash in on their investments in order to pay the capital back to their own backers.

This is not the first time that the founders have bought back an investor's shares. The Internet provider 1&1 acquired a stake in the Hamburg company in the first few years of the company. However, from the founders' point of view, the collaboration was difficult. “We quickly noticed that 1&1 as a company works completely differently than we do.” The Jimdo team was treated like an agency. “And that’s exactly what we never wanted to be. The whole thing almost tore the startup apart. “That’s when we knew: We have to get out of here,” is how CEO Henze once explained it on a stage.

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How Jimdo freed itself from the clutches of an investor

Consequence: In 2009, Jimdo bought back the 1&1 shares. The day on which the buyback was completed was celebrated internally as “Independence Day,” said Henze. However, this cannot be compared with the current situation. The investment cycle of Spectrum Equity and the Samwer fund came to an end after nine and 17 years respectively. “The support of investors helped Jimdo a lot in crucial phases,” says Henze.


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