Munich Shopping, taking the dog for a walk or going to the office for a short time: If you can’t go outside in these turbulent times, you need help from the neighborhood quickly. That’s exactly what Zwopr is for. With the start-up, three Munichers have started to set up a social network on the Internet that also deserves this name.
“We believe that something like this is needed,” says Christian Ebert. The 51-year-old is one of the founders. You started creating a digital platform two years ago for people who want to support each other. Zwopr started in Munich last year and went to Berlin this year. “People immediately accepted our concept,” says partner Bernhard Koller, 38. Several thousand people would have registered within a few weeks. Third in the group is Tassilo Ippenberger.
But Zwopr really got going with the corona pandemic. “Since the end of last week, the number of daily registrations has increased tenfold,” explains Koller. “People are now realizing the value of help among neighbors.” The platform is getting a huge boost these days from the Red Cross. The largest district association in Berlin, the DRK Müggelspree, has recently started using the app to organize neighborhood aid.
People who do not use the Internet can contact employees via a hotline. These then use the software from Zwopr. In addition, the founders work with the local newspapers from the “Oberbayerischen Volksblatt”. The leaves want to ensure that the people in their region support each other.
Purchase against repair
Zwopr does not see itself as a neighborhood portal, it is not about leisure tips, says Ebert. Rather, it is a kind of digital exchange ring. Hence the name, which is derived from the English word “swop”, so swap. The principle is simple: every user has a time account. Anyone who helps an neighbor for an hour, for example by installing a shelf or running errands, is credited with time. He can trade them in for help himself.
If you like, you can of course help without anything in return, explains Ebert. The founders came up with 200 categories from which people can choose the offers. The profile of the participants shows how often someone has helped. Members can rate each other. Users enter their location and the radius in which they seek and offer help.
Entrepreneurs are not yet earning money with Zwopr. You have invested several hundred thousand euros, business angels are on board. However, they hope for income from partnerships, for example with dealers or aid organizations. The goal is to spread Zwopr across the country. To do this, they are looking for investors.
At the moment, those looking for help are primarily asking for shopping help, says founder Koller. In addition, people need help with food preparation and childcare. And people are also looking for helping hands for their pets. Because in times of Corona, a visit to the vet is too risky for some.
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