Workflow Optimization Startup Filestage Builds On Feedback Cycles To Grow Fast

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Maël Frize, co-founder of the High-Tech Gründerfonds financed startup Filestage, spoke to us about constant pivoting and the necessity of sharing core values with your team.

How would you describe Filestage in a few words?

Filestage is an online workspace to review and approve videos, images, audio files, and PDF documents with clients and co-workers.

What inspired you to create Filestage? How did it all start?

We worked in the film and media industry. During our projects, the review and feedback process had been entirely inefficient. The more emails you send back and forth, the more you run into chaos. We thought: Feedback loops need to be simpler and more efficient.

With numerous solutions for collaboration on the market, the competition appears to be fierce. What makes Filestage stand out of the crowd? What is the key differentiator?

Filestage covers all relevant digital content like videos, images, audio files, and PDF documents. Our tool is very easy to use as we are very conscious of the usability. You can manage your file approvals on a single platform. Your client gets access with a hyperlink directing him to your files without having to register. Filestage is so intuitive that even less technically experienced clients and team members will understand it immediately. Moreover, Filestage can be used on all devices, whether it is a computer, tablet or smartphone.

In addition to high usability, safety is an essential issue for us. The data is protected by AES 256-bit encryption. This standard is used by banks and high-security systems to secure data storage.

Are you using Filestage internally? How does that affect the viewpoints of the development team?

Our goal is to make work as efficient as possible through workflow optimization. We live this philosophy within our startups. We use our own tool and we are open to others like Intercom, Asana, Google Drive, and more. The combination of our own and external software helps our team to focus on our creativity and to turn great ideas into reality.

What’s the most considerable pivoting maneuver that the team has undertaken throughout the journey so far?

It is part of our philosophy to constantly question ourselves and optimize things. Therefore, we are permanently looking for small and big things to change. As a result, the work is always varied and exciting.

Culture is one of the core elements of startups. How would you describe yours? What can potential hires expect?

It is very important for us to share the same values as a team. That is why we have summarized our values in the Filestage manifest. It contains eight main values, which each team member shares. These are essential aspects of cooperation and progress, but also respectful interaction with each other.

What is the biggest challenge that the company has faced?

We were confronted with a major challenge when we wanted to take on experienced developers. Many startups in Germany have to deal with this problem. So we decided to hire remote workers. Our developers are based in Stuttgart, Spain, Russia, India, and Romania.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of Filestage?

In 2016 we were financed by the HTGF, Germany’s leading seed-stage investor. This has given Filestage an enormous boost. We were able to recruit new employees and grow faster.

Filestage is based in Germany, a recognized European startup hub. If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the overall startup ecosystem – what would it be?

I would wish for more Germans to have the courage to invest in great dreams and visions.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

Don’t develop over long periods of time without getting feedback from the outside and potential customers. You cannot grow without honest feedback.



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