rooom is a global start-up with multiple locations in Germany and the US, founded in 2016 by company CEO, Hans Elstner. rooom offers an all-in-one platform for creating, managing and publishing interactive 2D, 3D, AR and VR experiences, and it works across all desktop and mobile devices. In light of Hans’ success within the German CEO Excellence Awards 2022, we got in touch with him to learn more about his career and how rooom came about.
rooom is a digital experience platform designed to meet the marketing and visualisation needs of different industries through a comprehensive product portfolio. It allows companies to create their own part of the metaverse that is just emerging, making it accessible and achievable for B2B customers from any industry.
The metaverse is a very important topic for rooom. Its boundless possibilities leave room for vision. The fact is that the metaverse or Web 3.0 will merge the boundaries of the physical world with those of the digital world. rooom can offer all business customers the opportunity to create their own enterprise metaverse that can be placed in an area together with providers of similar content. E-commerce providers, for example, could place their virtual territories in a virtual department store. Industrial customers can become part of an industry-specific metaverse where, for example, everything to do with optics can be discovered. And a smart learning metaverse could be located within a digital campus.
The digital innovator in rooom founder and CEO, Hans Elstner was brought to life at the age of 13 when he received his first PC. Instead of just playing computer games, he started programming games himself and learned to love the limitless possibilities of the digital world. At the age of 15, he began to support various companies with IT solutions, and a little later, became self-employed in this field.
A few years later, Hans decided to deepen his knowledge and skills in industrial engineering, e-commerce and programming and studied Internet Business Engineering. In 2005, he founded an agency for digital transformation. With a steadily growing team, Hans advised and supported companies on various digitalisation issues. During this time, he was able to gain a lot of valuable experience in the field of digitisation.
Next in Hans’ career was his founding of rooom – he tells us how it came into existence. “The essential business idea of rooom came to me in 2012. Even while developing my first small games, I dreamt that 3D technologies would one day be available to everyone in a simple and low-threshold way. The idea grew to create something completely new – an easy-to-use platform for 3D and mixed reality. I started looking for supporters and put the idea into action. More and more people joined our mission to “democratise 3D”. In 2018, the platform was launched.”
Since then, Hans has been able to gain a lot of experience, saying, “One of my learnings is that it is worth approaching competitors, exchanging ideas and building a network. To be successful, you should see competitors as partners, not business rivals. You should also constantly put your own ideas up for review. I gathered as many other opinions as possible right at the beginning to optimise my concept and ideas.”
A challenge in the beginning was raising capital and finding investors, however participating in start-up competitions and presenting inventive pitches opened new doors.
And in recent years, rooom has grown enormously, thanks to its ability to understand and exceed its customers’ needs, and the mass digitisation triggered by the pandemic. The company seeks to work with the customer to lead them to success, not to just push its product onto them – its mantra being “We don’t let customers fail!”
But growth also brings some challenges, like creating flexible workspaces and coordinating employees on an international level. Hans said, “What helped me was to stay flexible – changing the point of view towards my own ideas and getting involved in changes. Growth means flexibility! With this attitude, we didn’t let the pandemic slow us down and we were able to respond to the new challenges with new ideas and solutions.”
Companies are indeed catching up in terms of virtual showrooms, product visualisation and configurators in e-commerce as a result of the digitisation drive – and rooom is clearly benefiting from this trend. The company is also focusing on the creation of 3D models based on photos, working on digitisation options using 3D scanning. Such solutions are very interesting for the furniture industry, for example.
Ultimately, Hans loves his job because it is so diversified. He said, “It’s technical, nerdy and creative, with a side of marketing – all at the same time. I am amazed that our software is used by so many people, and we are playing such a significant role in the market.”
He continued, “What I have learned during the journey with rooom is that it’s not about creating the fanciest slides and explaining all the details of my plans. Anyone who wants to invest in a start-up or wants to break new ground has to believe in the team behind the idea. With this in mind, we started to present not only the idea of rooom as a company, but also as a brand with its very own personality. An investment in a start-up is always an investment in a person or a team you believe in.”