The scale-up Zippsafe feels right at home at its new location in Düsseldorf: "The location factors for NRW were simply unbeatable," says Jonathan Grahm, Chief Commercial Officer of the company. The specialist for high-tech lockers from Switzerland has been based in the Rhine metropolis since summer 2021. In order to convince the local market of its product solutions, it was clear to those responsible: We also have to be present in Germany. Düsseldorf was chosen as the location for their headquarters. Grahm: "In NRW, similar conditions awaited us as in Switzerland: It is a highly industrially developed state and a large conurbation where space-saving wardrobe and locker solutions meet many applications. You have to want to afford high-tech and innovation. And that's what we see in NRW."
Zippsafe is different from conventional lockers, such as those used in hospitals or industry: Instead of rigid metal, the company relies on flexible, polymer-fabric-based locking pockets – which brings space savings of up to 70 percent, the company proudly proclaims. In addition, the garment storage systems conceal high tech "Made in Switzerland": Ventilation and drying systems ensure that the transmission and multiplication of pathogens is reduced and the air quality in the room is increased. The integrated IT architecture enables process and cost optimization via digital access management, live monitoring and data analysis. Key management is thus completely eliminated. This seems to be convincing people: As of today, the company already has 49 customers in Germany – and the number is rising. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, these include St. Vincenz Hospital in Paderborn, Franziskus Hospital in Bielefeld, and the St. Antonius and St. Josef Hospital Association in Wuppertal.
NRW.Global Business helped with the settlement. Zippsafe came across the consulting services via the online offers of the foreign trade promotion agency. Monika Beck, responsible for the DACH region at NRW.Global Business: "We provided Zippsafe with individual information material about the locations – and convinced them. We were then delighted to learn of the new site being established." Zippsafe is also enthusiastic about the work of NRW.Global Business. Grahm: "We very much appreciate the ecosystem of NRW.Global Business and their efforts in terms of business development. We are very excited to see what contacts will result from this."
Five employees have been responsible for the German market since the summer. The site is already to be expanded in the near future: "We plan to have 10 people by the end of 2022," reveals Grahm. Then it should no longer be just about Germany. Because the company has long since recognized another advantage of NRW: The proximity to countries such as Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Here, too, the company intends to expand its activities over the next few years. Grahm: "Our office in Düsseldorf will enable us to open up other markets perfectly."
Mr. Grahm also took time for a short interview, in which he explains to us why Zippsafe chose NRW as its location, what surprised him most here, and why he never toyed with the idea of moving to "hip" Berlin.
NRW.Global Business: Mr. Grahm, what advice would you give to companies thinking about opening a location in NRW?
Jonathan Grahm: The answer may vary depending on the industry. In our case, with the desire to build a distribution network, NRW is ideal. We can say that we have never regretted the decision – on the contrary. Especially for those with international ambitions, Düsseldorf is perfect as a manageable, yet cosmopolitan city with an international flair. The distances are short, the people very accessible.
NRW.Global Business: What surprised you most about NRW as a location? What did you not expect?
NRW impresses with its incredible population density. The proximity of the cities is probably unique. In just two hours by car, you can reach millions of people. It feels like one (big) city follows the next. In addition to the quantity, the quality is also right in our view. There are many large and, for us, relevant customers from the healthcare sector and industry. The friendliness and openness of the people were perhaps not surprising, but they are highly appreciated.
NRW.Global Business: Why did you choose NRW and not a location in, say, Berlin?
On the one hand, the large economic area was decisive for us. On the other hand, Düsseldorf and NRW in general are very well located geostrategically. There are many inhabitants, a high population density and relatively high purchasing power as well as immediate border proximity to attractive markets. Transport links also played a decisive role. The direct flights from Zurich, the ICE, etc. convinced us. Why not Berlin? For us, emotional motives – "Berlin is hip and cool" – were not decisive. NRW simply makes economic and rational sense for us.
Bild: © Zippsafe