Already during his studies in information systems, Andreas Tepel was particularly interested in economic topics and what was happening in the start-up world. He was also hyped by stunning digital products. At Mate he now lives the perfect combination of all these fields: strategic entrepreneurship as co-founder and IT development as CTO. "As technical head of the founding team, it is essential to well understand the connections between technical matters, business aspects and the customers' needs. It is equally important to explain technical details in a way that someone in a non-technical position can understand and interpret their impact," Andreas explains.

“The user is at the center of every decision we make in our team.“

At Mate, the influence of high-tech combined with expertise for content design is precisely what sets the company apart from other visual creation tools. Andreas and the rest of the team have developed Mate so the user doesn’t need any kind of design skill. The purpose of Mate is to enable each user to create visual content at an agency level without any design effort - and that blazingly fast! Andreas explains: “At Mate we only use state of the art technologies to ensure that our users can produce agency-style content without the need for any technical know-how. From our point of view no user should be annoyed by technical difficulties. We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone who wants to create stunning visuals, no matter which use case they are for, in a blink of an eye.

One important factor at Mate is that the whole team is thinking product focused. We all think about what problems our users need to solve and how Mate can help them as best as possible. This creates the best ideas on how to improve our product and which features to build next.”

Here, an understanding of his work becomes clear that is characteristic of Andreas and refutes the common prejudice against techies of being ingenious but sometimes unworldly nerds: "The bottom line is that my job is to make technology available to non-techies. It's more important for me to understand where we use technology and how, than to just code wildly," Andreas says.

Computer science should no longer be seen as a "nerdy" subject

Even at school, he would have liked computer science not to be seen as a "nerdy" subject and instead to be taught to really enjoy IT or software development. Andreas continues: "In my eyes, we should start as early as elementary school and demystify the whole subject of software development, because I believe that many more people actually have the skills to solve individual programming tasks. It doesn't always have to be the new artificial intelligence that is programmed. In my opinion, however, everyone should have a rough understanding of the basics so that our society does not split in the long term and a few people move further and further away from the broad masses due to their level of knowledge. In my eyes, it's not about hard programming skills, but rather about basic digital skills and the tools you need to teach yourself new skills about all kinds of topics via the Internet."

Andreas' enthusiasm for IT is clearly linked to practical relevance. He is fascinated when you manage to use today's digital possibilities optimally for the desired benefit. His goal: to build systems that help you do work with an efficiency that would not be possible without these systems. In doing so, Mate’s CTO does not share the widespread concern that digitization could cost jobs. "At Mate, we always try to understand the processes we automate so well that we can see exactly where human labor is irreplaceable and where computer work is needed. Yes, digitization accelerates innovation cycles - but then every individual, every company has a responsibility to keep up to date. From my point of view, the opportunities that this creates are much greater than the possible risks. Thus, I can only recommend to everyone to take advantage of the existing technical possibilities."

Keeping up to date and dealing with new things is something Andreas also sees as the basis of his work. He relies on constant curiosity and on having the right tool to solve every challenge. "It's like a craftsman. If he has never seen a wrench in his life, then the bolt to be loosened quickly becomes a problem," says the 24-year-old. When faced with seemingly unsolvable programming challenges, it helps him to first ask Google extensively and to exchange ideas with colleagues. Or he reaches for pen and paper in the old school way - despite all his digital affinity, Andreas is a friend of the good old notepad for drawing things on. He adds, "And if all else fails: go to the gym or even sleep on it one night."

Andreas used to want to be a professional golfer - today he is a proud entrepreneur

Constructive problem-solving, persevering mentally and proceeding strategically: these are important qualities for Andreas, both as an entrepreneur and as CTO, which he has practiced since he was a teenager. Back then, he could imagine becoming a professional golfer. For him, golf is an extremely tactical, varied and mentally demanding sport. Andreas uses an example to explain the parallel with important job skills: "Let's say I'm standing on the first tee and my ball flies into the bushes, what do I do? I can either try to resolve the situation as smoothly as possible and save strokes, or I sink into despair. It's the same with a start-up. Sure, I can quit and say, 'That didn't go the way it was supposed to.' But I can just as easily go and find the best solution for the circumstances."