Robert M. Maier and Johannes Schaback founded Visual Meta in a backroom in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg in January 2009. Shoppers have been able to access the virtual shopping centre LadenZeile at www.ladenzeile.de since April 2009.
The idea behind LadenZeile came about in conversations with brothers Oliver, Marc and Alexander Samwer.
Rocket Internet was the main investor of Visual Meta, until the takeover by Axel Springer in December 2011. The aim was to become a meta-search engine for fashion and other products for which appearance is key. A search engine with a shopping feature at the same time, without the need for its own shipping or storage.
The team quickly grew to around 40 employees. In the meantime, Visual Meta employs more than 250 employees in various business areas, such as IT, Business Development, Marketing, Sales or Quality Management.
The business model behind LadenZeile was rolled out to other European countries from July to December 2011, including France, Italy and Spain. In addition to LadenZeile in Germany, Visual Meta is also present in 13 other countries under the brands ShopAlike and UmSòLugar (Brazil).
Robert M. Maier and Johannes Schaback have continued acting as long-term managing partners even after the takeover.