Many startups talk about disruption, but you can’t be truly disruptive without stepping on some toes

eyeo develop products that put users in charge of a fair, profitable web

Please introduce yourself and your Startup eyeo to our readers!
My name is Till Faida and together with Wladimir Palant and Tim Schumacher I founded eyeo in 2011. We develop various software solutions that put users in control over their browsing experience, such as Adblock Plus, Adblock Browser and Flattr. Our products help sustain and grow a fair and open web, because they allow users to consume web content on their own terms while simultaneously providing user-friendly monetization.

How did you get the idea to eyeo?
I was intrigued by how quickly the Adblock Plus extension became the most downloaded add-on for Firefox, so I decided to make it the subject of my thesis. Wladimir and me met each other through Tim Schumacher, founder of Sedo who had taken an interest in developing Adblock Plus. We saw Adblock Plus’ positive impact for users, but also its potential to harm publishers, so we discussed what responsible ad blocking might look like. With ample user feedback we settled on what later became the Acceptable Ads initiative. Tim stayed on board as investor and advisor and Wladimir and I founded eyeo in 2011 to manage Adblock Plus and future products.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
An ad blocker that did not block all ads by default was new to users and publishers, but we received positive feedback from both sides, which encouraged us to develop Adblock Plus for other browsers. After our smooth start we have been growing as a company and have since then been able to develop our mobile solutions, including Adblock Browser, and Flattr.

Despite the success, we’ve faced six different lawsuits in Germany, all of which we won. On the other hand, we’ve noticed recent developments spring up, like Google announcing an ad filter into Chrome or various content-funding tools being founded, which quietly show the merits of our products and the ideas underpinning them..

Who is your target audience?
Our products are for all users, publishers and content creators. That is reflected in our user base: Adblock Plus runs on more than 100 million devices worldwide. This clearly shows that we have a mainstream audience.
Our core target group are the people that care about the future of the open and free internet. They are usually the first to adopt our new products.

What is the USP of your startup?
We develop products that put users in charge of a fair, profitable web. We give them options instead of forcing them to accept one outdated business-model.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I don’t have a typical workday, but when I’m in the office in Cologne my days usually start with answering emails, followed by meetings and calls. Our team is spread out all over the world, from Yekaterinburg to Brazil, so video-calls are a big part of my workday.

Where do you see yourself and your startup eyeo in five years?
Constructive ad blocking will continue to be extremely relevant and will soon spread to people’s smartphones and tablets, and it will be complemented by Flattr, which enables users to make zero-click micropayments. Content creators and publishers have realized that they do not want to depend solely on ads anymore and users have realized that they do not need to give up their privacy for free content.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Many startups talk about disruption, but you can’t be truly disruptive without stepping on some toes. Being controversial sometimes requires a thick skin, but if you aren’t controversial your startup probably isn’t really relevant either. The online advertising industry, for example, is broken in many ways and it needs to be re-invented – of course we get a lot of criticism from the people who desperately want to maintain the failing status quo. We embrace that controversy, it shows we are making a meaningful difference.

More information you will find here

Thank you Till Faida for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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