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Own Austria: Can a media company become a startup?

Within the publishing group News (VGN), he was instrumental in the successful transformation processes from print to digital. Now the former Managing Director and Chief Sales Officer B2C of VGN joined the startup Own Austria in Vienna as managing partner. In an interview he talks about his motives and plans.

Why did you choose this path?

The trigger was a private decision with the desire to be more flexible in terms of time and place. At Own Austria, I met an exciting business and a highly competent team and it gave me the chance to join as a shareholder. In addition to the business opportunities, the socio-political approach of Own Austria also strongly motivates me: By using digital technologies, the topic of asset accumulation and financial security should be brought closer to new and, above all, younger target groups.

What exactly does Own Austria do?

The team at Own Austria has two goals: to enthuse the Austrians for alternative forms of wealth creation – and that as simply as possible and at low cost through a digital all-round service. With the special location fund from Own Austria, anyone can participate in the 250 most relevant companies in Austria with a self-selected assignment. This should also be expressed in the claim: earn money from your everyday life! This happens via an Anspar variant from 30 euros per month. The exciting thing is that the entire process of registration, administration, etc. happens completely digitally in the app. Even the identification at the beginning is possible via mobile phone signature. As a result, the costs are very low, namely less than one percent, which of course increases the chances of returns.

What is your role in Own Austria?

Own Austria has a lot of expertise in fund management, app development and marketing. I would like to contribute my experience in B2C sales as well as in the development of other business models. Personally, it is very exciting for me to get involved in setting up a startup and to get to know the special challenges here. This will be a great change of perspective, which I am looking forward to very much.

Another focus will be on content development in the app. Here are already exciting content. We want to expand this together and there is already a lot in the pipeline like a biz quiz or more video content. All content is mobile-optimized and aimed at a younger, financially-aware target group. Own Austria already has several thousand registered users. They invest monthly and thus have a very high involvement with the app. The expansion of content and coordinated target group marketing will also address people who are not yet invested. So it’s going to be about smart conversion models.

Looking back at the VGN?

It is important for me to thank Horst Pirker and the VGN team for their excellent cooperation in challenging times. As a joint effort, I am particularly proud of the VGN turnaround in 2017. In the field of the reader market, we have rethought the existing business model and have made decisive changes through a number of successful innovations. This starts with the development of new customer groups through Lola or line extensions such as the start-up trend, through new distribution channels such as readly or and extends to attractive bundle offers in the classic subscription as well as e-paper.

In the last few years we have been able to increase the sold circulation and make good use of the shift from print to digital. For the U-30 generation we have developed new accesses with purely digital campaigns and offers. About 2018, we launched a purely digital e-paper test campaign with influencers for the target group of students.

About Markus Fallenböck

Born in Graz in 1973, he studied law in Graz and Yale. After working as an assistant at the University of Graz and at McKinsey, he worked as a member of the executive board of the e-business consulting firm evolaris. Markus Fallenböck has been active in the media sector since 2006, initially as authorized signatory and sales manager of Styria Multi Media. From 2011-2014 managing director of Iventa Personalanzeigen, the largest recruitment agency in Austria. Since 2014, he has been responsible for retail, subscription and wholesale sales of all magazines and e-paper offers as well as all CRM activities of VGN as well as the IT and media production departments.

Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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