Through the program is leading you:
Dr. Kai Hudetz, Chief Executive Officer, IFH Institute for Retail Research

There are reporting our Speakers from real life about the key-topics:

After graduating from the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Marc Appelhoff, born in 1978, initially worked for several years as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group. From 2006, he worked for the private equity firm Cinven.

In 2009 he co-founded the online furniture store Fashion For Home GmbH, which was sold to Home24 AG in 2015. Appelhoff joined the management board in 2016.

Michael H. Bork is the Managing Director and a Member of the Board at Equistone Partners Europe. He has nearly 20 years of experience in senior positions in the private equity industry and has been involved in over 100 transactions in Germany and abroad. Michael H. Bork was born in 1960.

Holger Geißler studied psychology with a focus on advertising psychology at the universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim. From 1997 to 2000, he worked at psychonomics AG, now YouGov Deutschland GmbH, as a research consultant specialising in loyalty research and brand and product testing. As Senior Manager, he assumed the leadership of the Online Research Department in 2000 before being appointed to the Board of Directors of YouGov Deutschland AG from 2008 to 2016. Since the organisation became a private limited company or “GmbH”, Geißler has been responsible for the entire research division at YouGov Deutschland in his role as Head of Research. He has also been a lecturer in market research at the Technical University of Cologne (TH Köln) since 2011.

Dr. Kai Hudetz has been Managing Director of the IFH Institute for Retail Research (Institut für Handelsforschung GmbH) in Cologne since August 2009. Prior to this, he was Director of the institute’s E-Commerce Centre (ECC Köln), having been one of the group behind its founding in 1999. His many years of experience have made Dr. Hudetz one of the most sought-after e-commerce experts in Germany. He has authored a number of studies and many specialist articles on current issues in retail in the digital era. In addition to teaching as a visiting lecturer at various universities, Kai Hudetz is a popular speaker and moderator at leading industry events. Dr. Hudetz also served on the supervisory board of Intershop Communications AG from June 2013 to June 2016 and is currently a member of several advisory boards.

Since beginning her career at Gruner + Jahr in 2005, the 31-year-old digital manager has pursued her passion for new digital business models and products. Following periods working in digital marketing and e-publishing, she established an in-house start-up operating in the field of content commerce. As Managing Director, she has been responsible for the expansion of SCHÖNER-WOHNEN.de, Germany’s number one content site in the home living sector, since 2016 and has also taken charge of the development of the home living community COUCHstyle.de.

Max Laarmann (24) founded mattress company Emma Matratzen GmbH in 2015.

With his start-up, he wants to bring transparency and fairness to the mattress industry and show that a good mattress does not need to cost a fortune. Together with his team, he has developed a mattress made from high-quality materials that is suitable for everybody and produced in Germany. While undertaking his degree in management in Hesse, Germany, Max Laarman was repeatedly drawn to Asian cities to gain a clearer view of international economics and culture. This led him to a university in Shanghai, a high-tech company in Shenzhen and a start-up incubator in Bangkok. In addition, he gained experience in strategy consulting through various internships. Finally, he worked at Rocket Internet in Manila, where he drove forward the regional development of Foodpanda. During his student years, he was involved with the Harvard World Model United Nations as a delegation member.

Alexander Mendler has been Managing Director of Mendler Vertriebs-GmbH since 2007 and runs the company’s online shop “heute-wohnen.de”, which sells furniture and interiors products. Mendler Vertriebs-GmbH recently achieved a turnover of €17 million per annum with 280,000 dispatched orders and earnings of €1.3 million. It markets products on its own homepage, Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and other portals, as well as through a number of selected trading partners in Germany and abroad.

Tonino Mulas is the owner and CEO of mutoni möbel and the online store mutoni.ch, a KARE franchise store based in Switzerland. Before it launched in 2006, Tonino Mulas worked in the catering sector. Today, the native Italian lives with his wife and son near Berne.

Albert Ortig founded roomle in 2014 with the aim of innovating the rapidly changing furniture industry with an exceptional digital service. He is an expert in digital companies with a focus on international, strategic and process-oriented projects. As the founder of Netural (1998), he leads one of the largest digital agencies in Austria.

Kerstin Pape, born in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1973, has been Head of Online Marketing at OTTO since July 2013. The business graduate began her professional career as a consultant at the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hamburg. In 2000, Pape joined OTTO and was responsible for media advertising and brand communications until 2005 when she moved to Comdirect Bank to be Head of Branding and Advertising. Pape returned to OTTO in 2011 and took on a leadership role in performance marketing.In 2013 she became responsible for the overall management of online marketing at OTTO. Kerstin Pape is married with two children.

Florian Pauthner is the Managing Director of SevenVentures GmbH.

Before joining ProSiebenSat.1 SE in January 2014 he was an M&A consultant for one of northern Europe’s largest financial institutions and also worked in management consultancy.

After starting his career in a management consultancy, Michael Petersen switched sides to become a businessman himself, internationalising the Leipzig-based start-up Spreadshirt from 2004 to 2008 and developing it into Europe’s leading e-commerce platform for on-demand printing of clothing and accessories.

In 2008, Michael Petersen founded the online shop smow.de together with his partners. Using a business model that was initially purely based on e-commerce, smow has since been developed to comprise 10 furniture stores across Germany and is now one of the most consistent multichannel models in the high-value furniture sector.

At the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Dr. Thilo Pfrang wrote his doctoral thesis about the influence of behavioural incentives on returns behaviour. He works in collaboration with various universities on research projects to investigate returns behaviour and advises well-known online retailers on the systematic application of behavioural economics.

Björn Seynsche is Director of Merchandising at Wayfair Europe and was previously the company’s Marketing Director. Before joining Wayfair in 2015, he held senior positions at The Boston Consulting Group and Partners Group AG in the private equity sector.

Arne Stock is a co-founder and Member of the Management Board at moebel.de, Germany’s largest furniture and furnishings web portal. As COO he is responsible for marketing and product development as well as the operational business of moebel.de Einrichten & Wohnen AG. At the start of his career, the business administration graduate initially worked in furniture retail.

Thomas Voigt is the CEO of the shoe retailer F+V Schuhe GmbH and the online platform gaborshop24.de. Before founding the company with his sister Angela Foller in 1991, he was self-employed in the catering trade. Over a period of six years, the business developed from conventional full-range supplier to specialist retail partner to the Rosenheim-based German shoe manufacturer Gabor in both bricks-and-mortar stores and the digital trading environment. Born in 1962, Thomas Voigt grew up in Erfurt. He is married and has two daughters.

Roel Pollen is entrepreneur and founder of 3DIMERCE, the market specialist in the field of complex visual product configurators for the furniture, fashion and design industry. He studied Management, Economics and Law, but was already in the internet business during his studies. Started with 3D in the early days and founded 3DIMERCE in 2001, after which he became a pioneer in 3D technology for e-commerce, interactive products and augmented & virtual reality.

I have launched and managed numerous online businesses across Europe for the last 18 years, including 8 years as a senior manager within Apple’s European Online Store team. I helped to launch both Monster.com and Match.com in Europe which have gone on to great success. In June 2016 I met Leesa founder and CEO David Wolfe and was immediately blown away by his vision for a new type of consumer company which not only delivered outstanding sleep products but also committed itself as a company goal to support the homeless and most vulnerable people in society.

Speaker statements

Brief statement explaining why the speaker is appearing at the imm cologne Congress 2018 or what makes his/her talk so interesting:

Oskar Schilcher (Chief Investment Officer, Equistone Partners Europe Ltd.)


“Because Oskar Schilcher wants to promote a differentiated approach with the involvement of PE investors and because we’ve been invested in the furniture industry for over 5 years with Vivonio and have developed the group very successfully.”

Geißler, Holger (Head of Research, YouGov Deutschland GmbH)


“The world is changing rapidly. And YouGov analyses globally what people think of these developments and innovations. YouGov has researched future retail trends in many studies and explains how companies should respond to them.”

Laarmann, Max (CEO, Emma Matratzen GmbH)


“E-commerce has turned more or less every sector upside down. My company is part of this digital dynamic in the mattress industry. imm cologne is a great platform to reflect on what works and where there’s still room for improvement for the benefit of both customers and suppliers.”

Seynsche, Björn (Director of Merchandising, Wayfair Europe)


“For Wayfair, Germany with its capital Berlin is the central management and innovation hub that we would like to constantly expand. For us, localisation in Europe and Germany means good supplier relationships first and foremost, which is why we’re so strongly represented at imm cologne.”

Pape, Kerstin (Head of Online Marketing, Otto GmbH und Co. KG)


“No one sells more furniture online than OTTO – and we’re proud of that! But we won’t rest on our laurels. That’s why imm cologne is important to us: we want to talk to our partners, share our experiences and constantly improve our services and collections for our customers. I’m personally looking forward to being able to present our online marketing success stories.”

Mendler, Alexander (Managing Director, Mendler Vertriebs-GmbH/heute-wohnen.de)


“We’ve always benefited from exchanging experiences. Building a network can be very useful. Overall, I hope to establish new business relationships in order to continue to expand.”

Petersen, Michael (Founder and CEO, smow.de)


“Following years of above-average growth rates in e-commerce, the major driver for growth at smow is now bricks-and-mortar retail. A development that bucks the trend?”

Dr. Kai Hudetz (Managing Director, IFH)

“In a changing industry, ‘more of the same’ doesn’t work anymore. Where is the journey headed? I’m already looking forward to the inspiration at the imm cologne Congress 2018.”