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Healthy Expansion: WHU Start-Ups Acquired and Ready to Grow

Three successful WHU start-ups active in health and nutrition undergo acquisition

Healthy Expansion: WHU Start-Ups Acquired and Ready to Grow
Frischepost founders Juliane Willing and Eva Neugebauer

They say spring is a time for change, and for select companies founded by WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management alumni, this is certainly the case. Three start-ups—First A, Foodable, and Frischepost—have recently announced acquisition by three larger companies, all of which intend to take these already successful business models to the next level.

Today’s entrepreneurs are still finding novel ways of using the internet to reach customers, even decades after its consumer debut. For Berlin-based First A, that meant trying to bring a tried-and-true network of pharmacies into the 21st century. Started by siblings Antonie Jo Nissen (BSc, 2019) and Leif Löhde alongside Florian Swoboda (BSc, 2011), First A is an online platform operational in five major German cities, connecting people to local pharmacies and offering them a way to obtain over-the-counter medication immediately—without ever needing to leave the house. This year, the two co-founders have announced acquisition by one of Europe’s most prominent online drug stores. With a network that stretches from the Netherlands all the way to Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland, Shop Apotheke Europe has a customer base that runs into the millions. Despite the acquisition, First A will continue operations and maintain its current management team.

Foodable, started by WHU trio Sarah Pohle (MSc, 2019), Daniel Sennewald (MSc, 2019), and Silas Kneussel (MSc, 2019), also links the public to a pre-existing network, that of popular supermarket chain Rewe. Wherever Rewe is able to locally deliver, Foodable is there to offer a custom “Kochbox,” a meal plan customized to the needs of the customer and their family. Started less than three years ago, Foodable has already found a new home in flaschenpost SE, which will take over the service in the coming months. flaschenpost SE, also founded by WHU alumni and now a member of the Oetker-Group, is one of Germany’s leading beverage delivery services and has been expanding its catalog to include food.

In 2015, Eva Neugebauer (MSc, 2015) and Juliane Willing (BSc, 2011), two spotted a gap in the market and strove to fill it. They noticed that, while there may be interest from the general public in buying local, organic food and supporting small businesses, one may not know how to go about doing so—or even where to start looking. To solve this problem, the two alumnae founded Frischepost, a start-up that collects and delivers fresh, locally sourced foods to the rest of the community using a fleet of electric cars. Seven years later, after finding success in Hamburg, Berlin, and Cologne, the two have agreed to sell their company to the Berlin-based Footprint.Club, a platform that focuses primarily on sustainable food logistics.

Since the inception of their business, the two co-founders worked hard to develop over 200 partnerships with small-scale farmers, cheesemakers, and vintners active in and around Hamburg. Customers can browse through the thousands of items—from artisanal breads and desserts to fresh fish and produce—offered through their official online shop. With ambitions of expanding the business model into other German cities, including Munich and Frankfurt am Main, the two entrepreneurs have always sought to take local industry and put it on the map. Footprint.Club, founded and run by CEO Michel Stumpe, aims to become Germany’s premiere direct-to-customer (D2C) online food platform and plans to take Frischepost to the next level.

Notably, all three of these start-ups have been founded or co-founded by alumnae of WHU—a win for gender diversity in the corporate world. These young entrepreneurs worked hard to get to where they are today and were supported by the initiatives taken at WHU. The Master in Entrepreneurship program is still seeking candidates and has one more spot open in their Female Founder Scholarship.