How to easily implement video calls with Callstr

Melanie Mahr Callstr

In this episode, we will talk with Melanie from Callstr about how to make video calls much easier. Callstr is a solution that enables you to implement your own video calls on your website or software application.

We will cover many practical experiences and handy tips on how to combine Callstr with low code.
Besides that, we are also talking about the struggles of funding a GmbH in Germany and what Melanie would do if she would be the chancellor of Germany. 

Check out Callstr now and explore it yourself 😉 

The accelerator program, which supports Callstr: https://www.startup-harbour.com/

If you have feedback or ideas on which topics need to be covered at this podcast – you are more than welcome to get in touch with me.

You can find more information on www.lowcode-founders.com, or you can drop me a message at sarah@biberei.de 

Enjoy and keep on building new digital products. 

Sarah 

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lowcodefounders)

Transcript of the episode: How to easily implement video calls with Callstr

Intro Melanie: 

Yeah, that was really crazy, because my family, they were like what you want to uh yeah cancel your job and quit your job and just start your own company. But I was really sure with what we’re doing and I know that people because we talked to a lot of people and we were seeing that it was beneficial for them when we had to interview. So I was not afraid of starting a company to the times, I was more afraid of the challenges that would come with founding the company. But it was not about the times, it was more about the legal aspects or the tax aspects because it’s I’m a first-time founder but it’s really nice to grow in this position and also as the CEO.

Speaker Sarah:

Hello everyone and welcome to a new episode of the low code founders podcast. Today we will cover a lot of practical experiences and handy tips, especially for everyone working in small and medium-sized companies. In this episode, we will talk with Melanie from Callstr about how to make video calls much easier. And of course we will cover a lot of use cases where Callstr is the right solution for you and how you can combine it with low code. So welcome Melanie.

Speaker Melanie: 

Thank you Sarah for this nice introduction. I’m happy to be here and I’m super happy also to talk about my company Callstr.

Speaker Sarah:

Okay then let’s start right with this. So how did and when did you join the adventure of being an entrepreneur and what is Callstr all about?

Speaker Melanie: 

Yeah. To be honest, I think my first experience as a like really, really small entrepreneur I had in my studies because I worked in a start up there as well and it feels like okay, I was a founder back then, although it was not true, but we started with calls during the idea and exactly one year ago and this was a tough time. As you remember with Corona, everything was like not so sure. Nobody was really clear about the future. So we said we really want to do something for ourselves to cope with the situation when it comes to interaction on websites. That’s why we started with the idea of Callstr and we founded the company company legally in February 2021. So basically we’re still a newborn,

Speaker Sarah: 

Wow, congratulations. So youmean the idea was almost one year ago and as you said, Corona was a tough time for almost everyone. So did you have some fears starting a company in the middle of a pandemic?

Speaker Melanie: 

Yeah, That was really crazy. Crazy because my family, they were like what you want to uh cancel your job and quit your job and just start your own company. But I was really sure with what we’re doing and I know that people, because we talked to a lot of people and we, we were seeing that it was beneficial for them when we had to interview. So I was not afraid of starting a company and to the times, I was more afraid of the challenges that would come with founding the company but it was not about the times, it was more about the legal aspects or the tax aspect because it’s, I’m a first time founder but it’s really nice to grow in this position and also as the CEO.

Speaker Sarah: 

Yeah, and then coming back to the idea of Callstr, so you got the idea why you were working in your previous job as a consultant? Right.

Speaker Melanie:

I was working as a consultant for two years so I was a lot of times and stood guard and a lot of traveling. So when it comes to Corona, I was actually, I worked for part now which was a joint venture between BMW and Daimler and and I worked there and as a senior business development manager, so this was my position after the consultancy and yeah, when you work in business development you you kind of yeah, help customers to understand your product and kind of do a small sales project and there I really saw that this whole video solutions like Zoom, Teams, Webex, you name it, they are always causing some problems when people joining. So this is also an aspect that we want to solve with Callstr.

Speaker Sarah: 

Yeah, I can, I can only agree because I mean every time I have a meeting whether it’s with Teams with Zoon with  Google hang out with um have you with big blue button with so many different tools. There always scheduling some kind of get ready like 30 minutes or something because it’s used normally the people have a lot of problems when using these tools especially when they want to present something and start and stuff like yeah.

Speaker Melanie:

Maybe a small sentence to that. So and on the weekend I talked to my sister because we’re also doing webinars with Callstr where we present our solutions and so my dad he wanted to join because we had a webinar which was about automotive and he was also an automotive and then he asked my sister but how can I join? I never used soon before so this was for me really mind-blowing because okay how many times did I use soon but the generation like my dad they are not used to it so for damage they need some time to prepare.

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So this is some advantage with Callstr you’re saying what makes are other aspects which makes Callstr so unique from your point of view.

Speaker Melanie:

Yeah. So I mean with Callstr were are an embedded video call solution. So we are placed right at that website so you cannot unsee Callstr and this makes it like from the user experience really simple to join a call so you just click on life call and then you basically ring um in our software in our dashboard as we call it and you can talk to a consultant from the company you want to reach. So for example when you go to our website you can also push the button with life call and probably you will talk to me or someone from our team. But yeah, this is like it makes it that makes it so unique and special that we try to really have a really good user experience when it comes to interaction.

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah and maybe to add to this – yes, it’s really working. I shorted out myself so when after first every called each other, you was just sending me the link and I was to be honest a little bit confused. So what should I do here? But it was really working. And another point which I think makes your solution unique is that where we often we talk about Zoom,  google hangout teams, we always have to stay there privacy issue in our mind because you know, most of the time that every time hosted on american Server and for some people of some use cases this is a problem. And I mean your company is from Germany you’re not saving as far as I understood everything which is just spoken and everything which is shared on a video. So I think this makes it where we interesting and when you think about use cases where you really want to avoid anything being saved. So we will talk about use cases in a moment but I think this is something very interesting, especially when it comes to have a have a friend. He is currently a building up a platform where you can talk about your psychological problems with a therapist and this is something where you really want to make sure it’s not being saved or shared somehow. And I think there are your your solution is really interesting as well.

Speaker Melanie:

Yeah, thank you. Yeah, we’re a peer-to-peer um solution, so we’re not hosting any video and it’s also encrypted which makes it of course very safe.
And I think this is also a big aspect that we, we when we also talk to other startups when it comes to collaboration or partnerships that we say we also want to build or want to be a european solution as well. So um it’s really important to, to yeah, I kind of think of technology also from europe.

Speaker Sarah:

Absolutely. So what are their use cases you had in mind when building Callstr or what are the use cases you actually see where your solution is in place.

Speaker Melanie:

So the first use case of course was my own when I worked at part now, so I was seeing it when I, when I was talking to the potential customers that this would make it so much easier to get in touch because when I look in the faces when when we, when we invite them to to call us, it’s always like wow this is so fast and I really like this first moment of people being impressed by our solution or our software. And the second use case we had in mind when we were starting last year was of course retail because everyone was talking about retail because they were really suffering from Corona. So e-commerce, they had really boost and everyone was selling online. But the smaller people, they were a smaller retailer, they were looking for solution solutions and we said yeah with Callstr, they can just put it on their website as a plug and play and they don’t need to set up an online store and they live from this personal interaction. So when you call, when you, when you talk to them, they really am happy to have this young personal interaction. Okay, please look me in the eye, I can tell you this is what I’m selling you is a great product and I think this is this was a use case that we had in mind when we started but also of course e commerce because e commerce on the other hand, it’s really automated and you talked to chat boards and there is no human interaction anymore except when it comes to bad experience when it comes to to support cases or returns or something and we said that this can be really beneficial aspect to do again social selling and bringing back to human face on websites. That’s, that’s why we have a vision when, when we talk about calls and to say make tomorrow more personal. So it’s about a personal tomorrow,

Speaker Sarah:

Maybe one thing to it because and I talked about this with my husband during lunch and last week we registered at Zendesk, it’s for support tickets and stuff like that. And today they called us just to ask, hey, is everything fine? Is everything okay? And we were so surprised that actually someone was calling us and just asking, hey how are you doing? Do you have some problems or some questions with regard to the tool? And I mean even though it’s not a video call, they just called us over the phone, this social aspect and not just sending out emails but really taking the effort and calling someone makes really an effort and I’m not sure whether I would use send us. So uh just to say this, but you know, it it just keeps in my mind that they’re really taking one step more to reach the customer and get in touch with the customer not just sending emails.

Speaker Melanie:

So I think you can really scale also bad customer experience because when it comes to optimization. Yeah, you, you can also scared is that um, interaction and I think that’s something that people should really consider or owners of websites should consider online marketing people because sometimes it’s even cheaper and there are more conversions when you put someone there to really handle the problem.

Speaker Sarah: 

Absolutely. So asI said in the introduction this is a very practical oriented episode. That’s why I tested everything myself. So I made myself an account. I put in all the configuration, I put embedded code into a bubble website and honestly I mean I I said this to you already but for the audience I was so impressed how everything works so smoothly. So this is normally with other solutions I tried out but not with video call but in general this is not the case but it was so easy and there when in the moment what I was doing it I because I I mean I love low code and I love doing new business models and doing digital products with low code. And then my head started thinking. Because I think besides all the use cases you already said there is a big big big potential if you look at the B2B side of it and I will I will give you an example. I I had my I actually thought about myself when I was still employed. Um so my previous job I was employed by a sanitary company and they had a problem there. They had stuff outside not their own stuff but just people who were installing the different devices and if there was an issue with the device they had to take a picture with the phone then send it to attend to a pc or sent it via an email describing the issue, putting the photo then some some internal customer customer support gets to email sees the photo has to define okay which extra device is it? What is the problem? And so forth and so forth and so forth. And this is a huge manual process And how wonderful could life be if the professional stuff if they are on the ground with the customer could just click one button and then calling someone directly and show them directly the device and also the problem and this is simply not existing. And if you think about it, how often is this the case? If you talk with customer support about something where to to actually show the person something and it’s not about screen sharing but with physical devices you cannot share your screen, you have to show it somehow with your phone to really show them the physical device. And and I think especially in the field of um sanitary professional services, plumping all those stuff, all those subject where digitalization, it’s maybe not that far as compared to other industries. I think if you they’re combining local with your solution. I think the whole world up the whole horizon can be expanded and and also I mean you do not do suffer development generalization just for for its own you can really help the professional service on the ground much more so there can be more efficient than take less time. And also the customer support service don’t have to go for emails and tickets and pictures and stuff like this.

Speaker Melanie:

And I think they’re really also missing sometimes the interaction with real people also voice. I think voice is really nice and and everything is going into direction of voice when you think of Alexa and theory and and all these devices. But I think when you can see things, when you can see an expression if someone is stressed or someone is happy, this makes it gives you another aspect to your work as well and it’s like really rewarding or I feel it since I’m working with Callstr. So I have really rewarding moments when we when I do video calls with Callstr and as you said with the use case for us and this is really a challenge at the moment. We have so many use cases and and and when we talk to people, they think of great use cases in this also makes me really strongly believe in the idea of course the in division of what we’re doing. But also it makes us um it gives us challenging times because as a start up you need to focus somehow to be fast and to grow and to do a good marketing and I think this is one of the biggest challenge that we’re facing at the moment to really focus on a segment and then to scale there to get more experience and really know what they’re doing, that we can really help them with their business and video talks.

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah, Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I mean that’s what I learned is also on the hard way that if you start with a very broad um part for europe, you will, after a while you will, you realize that you have to go into your niche and be the best, best service into in new york nish Maybe to add Um if you see each other, I think also if the other person doesn’t speak your language that will, it’s much easier for you to to understand, but the person wants to say if you see it’s expression, the mouth and all the stuff like this. Yeah,

Speaker Melanie:

totally, totally. As we do at the moment, I’m very sorry for the people listening to the podcast that they cannot see us, but I hope that they can also hear it, that this is like a really personal podcast that you’re doing and I really like it,

Speaker Sarah:

Thank you so much. Okay, we talked about scaling and growing. Um how how do you want to make sure that if you’re growing and I’m very convinced that you’re doing it, that your organization is still alright, that you keep the company organized and that you keep the culture and division you have in your mind. So how can you ensure that even though you’re growing the basic foundation stays the same.

Speaker Melanie:

Yeah. I think at the moment with the remote working, it’s really tough to be honest because like this culture that you normally have when you work together and when you, yeah, when you have a good time together and you see, okay, this is something that we built together. This is what is lacking at the moment. So I think what we try to do is really to have a good Yeah, communication. A lot of conversations where we really discuss some stuff and going deep sometimes and when it comes to personal things like okay, if someone is sick or maybe if someone is on holiday or we, we put our camera on and then we tell each other from our achievements. So basically in our slack channel, we want to celebrate our achievements at the moment. So we’re always on friday, everyone needs to put up what they really, I want to celebrate with the team because this was also feedback from them that they are missing this. Yeah. The start up feeling that you normally have, I think it’s really hard and in remote times. But what, what for me is the two and really basics is celebrating success and a good communication. What I really to establish in the culture of the company and yeah, I’m still learning and and we’re all in training and I think the best part is learning together and growing together.

Speaker Sarah:

Absolutely, absolutely. When you said celebration one maybe one little story I did in my previous job and I was the team lead for a software development team. And um, there were sometimes made some launch parties. Whenever we had a new version of our system out, it was actually developed. We made some kind of party where we order pizza or we went out to a restaurant and had some drinks and I think this is this is, this is really important. And this is what often is missing because as you said, I mean you have to to power and to achieve a goal and then have to have to party it and celebrate it and not just go, okay now I have to achieve this next goal just to give you and also the team sometimes to celebrate and some kind of, yes, we made it, we made it together.

Speaker Melanie:

Yeah, I think really when you work with software, you okay, you build something but you can maybe not touch it. And I think this is something that you also missed. You can sometimes see it, but sometimes you can also not see it and then the motivation. Um, yeah, this is not high. Sometimes it gets lower and lower and then you really need to focus and and tell each other what you really achieve and what you did and I think this is super important when it comes to intangible products or software and and also to work with data. I mean we are also really small but this is what I learned in the first startup job I had we had a really cool dashboard and it was displayed in our office and it was an app and when we were sending push notifications we saw the people accessing the app and when we had a really good push notification, people were standing in front of the dashboards taking pictures and this was also for me like really rewarding, I was doing market, it was yeah I did marketing for the startup so for me this was really cool and I also wanted to build a company that is really data driven and that we can also celebrate from the data we see the success.

Speaker Sarah:

I can feel you so much. I am a huge fan of google analytics so I track almost every day you know how many participants ahead whether if I post a new block and entry the first days and always saying okay are people reading the blog entry how long are you staying on this page and stuff? So I can, I can absolutely agree. I kind of have to force myself to not watch it every day.

Speaker Melanie:

You can just be proud of publishing something, you know, when this is your aim and your to do, you can just say, okay, this was great and then let’s think about the analytics or data next time.

Speaker Sarah:

Absolutely, absolutely. Um so in the beginning you said about some struggles when starting a company during the pandemic, especially that tax issues and stuff like this, and I also know that starting a company in Germany is not always easy, especially if you founding a GmbH okay, so if you could, if you would now be um the Chancellor of Germany, if you could change some items which problems or challenges, would you tackle to make it easier to start your own company or being an entrepreneur in Germany.

Speaker Melanie:

this is a really good question. Um I think what could be really good is to give like a really good overview of what is possible when founding a company, I have the feeling that everything is kind of um hidden behind so many different paragraphs or so many different um yeah, forms of companies you can build and then it’s really tough, it should be, it should be easier of course to to find the right solution for you and you should access the possibilities or the information more easily. And also what I was missing was the opportunity for funding because I was not founding the company because I didn’t have a job, so from unemployed situation I was employed and I can’t do my job, I quit my job for founding a company. So I basically started everything with my own money and this is okay, but then it was really tough to figure out what is the right aspect for funding and okay in Berlin we had super nice institution, we can go and we could um see, but for example when it comes to different opportunities like exist, so they had three months for just telling us if we get the funding or not after we were handing in many, many documents and this was for us a time that you can, when you want to do something to really solve an urgent problem, you don’t have the three months to wait for the funding. So you need to start really quick and I think there should be more opportunities for real innovation or for real people for for people who want to change something to change something for better. So I think this would be a really good, good thing that we can change. Yeah,

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah. And I and I think we do have enough money. The funds are there, it’s just that the bureaucracy and the process is just too slow and this is maybe seeing it also from another side, just last week, I had a conversation with someone who is starting acceleration program in bed wittenberg and they, they don’t have enough entrepreneurs and founding companies because they actually have so much going on, but they don’t have enough entrepreneurs who wants to be in their program, not because the program is not not good just because we don’t have enough startups. We don’t have enough entrepreneurs. And I totally agree I founded the company completely by my own money. Um and yeah, because it’s, it was so hard to get money actually because I’m not, I’m not, I don’t have a startup, pen pen nature and its but I see it with my clients. I mean there are so many um yeah, you can apply here and you can apply there and you can apply here.

Speaker Melanie:

Why? But it takes months to get the result and very often you’re not allowed to start even with your idea until you’ve got a result and you cannot just have an idea, wait a couple of months, go to bed sleep and then wake up again if, if there, if the answer is back yeah, you need to test it and you really want to see something you want to go out. You want to tell people about your idea when you really feel that you do, you’re doing something great. I mean I I want to say that and we’re really lucky at the moment because we got a scholarship and now for four of our team members and we are happy to work with the bush started papa so this is a really, really great opportunity for us, but it also took some time to this opportunity came up and basically I did not found it by myself so we were asked to apply. So this was like a really, really good situation for us and and really thankful for that. But also as I told you before, I don’t know if I told you before, but I was studying entrepreneurship and university in potsdam but we never we were never talking about and really funding a founding experience. So what is it really, what is this by hard, it was just about innovation and what does it mean? But I think, I think I would need some more hands on experience. So what do you need to have in mind? What you need to consider when I’m founding a company. So this could be changed.

Speaker Sarah:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. So, um we talked about the past a lot and I see a lot of energy in your eyes. So what uh in regards to of course, what are, what are the projects you have on your list? So what is the where as well as cultural next year,

Speaker Melanie:

good question. So, um, I think cause the next year should be a really go to solution for a smaller companies when it comes to video calls embedded. So this would be the best case scenario. And Callstr will of course um have a lot of great new features that are really beneficial for our clients for example, like analytics and recommendation how they can work with video calls And also we, we are working on a solution that is not only for B2B but also for yeah smaller solo entrepreneurs, like just people maybe like in your professional way that you have your own and website on cost where you can give you a link to people to join you for video calls for example. So this would be our aim and if we are happy and motivated to work for colds to in one year, I’m also really satisfied and this is my big aim to build a company and to build an environment where people are happy to work and where there are truly believed in our vision.

Speaker Sarah:

Mhm Okay, so my suggestion would be to mark ourselves a date. So one year from now we have another podcast and it will be the topic of cost year, one year further. What we all achieved because I think it’s very, very cool story and also with the vision you have in your mind from a cultural perspective. Yeah, I’m very curious to see where your company and you of course will you will be in one year. And yeah, thank you so much more than it was a pleasure to have you here today. And so for everyone who wants to try it out, try it out and we put everything in the show notes And for every solo entrepreneur or smaller company who doesn’t have an application and wants to do something. Just reach out. We help you.

Speaker Sarah:

Thank you very much, Sarah for having me. And I am really looking forward to having the next episode within one year. And I will be really honest with you guys and talk about all the failures that will happen within this year.

Speaker Melanie:

All right, we are looking forward. Thank you so much.

Speaker Sarah:

Bye.