Oct 30, 2017 Pihla Suomalainen
Trivago was founded in 2005 by three graduate school friends in Düsseldorf, Germany. The most challenging thing when getting started was finding the right angle to the business.
“In 2008, we finally came up with a clear mission, which was really the turning point. We wanted to become a hotel search,” says Rolf.
Trivago is known for their entrepreneurial working culture and flat organizational structure. There are no job titles inside the company, and the working hours are very flexible. The fluctuation tends to be low.
“It is important to find people that are not externally, but internally motivated. It all starts with creating the right kind of environment, and realizing that you can’t make people work,” explains Rolf.
What back in 2005 started with only three founders is now a team of over 1,300 employees, or as they put it at Trivago, a team of creative and action driven entrepreneurs. Around 80% of employees in Trivago come from outside of Germany.
“I think diversity is super important for business success”, says Rolf. “You need different views on problems and the more views you have on the same problem, the better you can solve it. And cultural differences are probably the most important ones.”
When growing fast like Trivago, maintaining the startup mentality can be quite a challenge.
“We try to come up with something new at least every month, to keep it fast-changing. In addition, the direct way of communication is a key principle when trying to maintain the startup culture during a rapid growth,” Rolf says.
Besides Trivago, Rolf is also President of the Entrepreneur’s Organization in Germany. What does he think about the current state of European tech and how does he see it developing?
“Opposite than in the US, we have a lot of distance between the startup hubs. We have reached the critical mass of people, and I am much more positive about the future. I believe this decentralized structure can be an advantage, but it is important to stay connected – we need one ecosystem as a whole.”
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