SerNet is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It's the people in particular who make the Göttingen IT company strong - and very nice.
This text first appeared in the summer 2022 issue of Charakter.
SerNet stands for the many people whose lives have crossed paths in a quarter of a century of company history. There are, of course, the founders Volker Lendecke, Dr. Johannes Loxen and Lutz Preßler. But above all, there are their colleagues such as Manuela Bachmeier, Reinhild Jung and Oliver Seufer, who shaped and continue to shape SerNet for a long time in leading positions.
Manuela Bachmeier - still known to many under her name Niesmann - has been with the company for an impressive 19 years. She joined the still young team in 2000 by coincidence. In the depths of winter, with application documents for another company under her arm, she met Johannes Loxen at the snow-covered mailbox of the Medienhaus. A brief conversation and some time to think things over later, she took over administration at SerNet, expanded training management, accounting and marketing, and networked with the Junior Chamber. The first trade fair with an own SerNet appearance was: "The Linuxtag in Karlsruhe. I was amazed by this Linux world. Open source was still rather a marginal topic at that time." She designed the first event series of her own with sambaXP starting in 2002: a conference for an international software community that took place for the 21st time in June 2022. "There was a lot of momentum in the first SerNet years," Bachmeier looks back: for example, the spin-offs of vokativ GmbH and emlix GmbH or new locations in Berlin, among others. "Together we developed ideas, accompanied by the spirit: You fancy the project? Then push it forward! There were always new challenges." In 2009, she went not only on parental leave but also privately to Finland. From there, she remained loyal to the company - and SerNet to her: "Despite the distance, I was given opportunities in Human Resources." It wasn't until 2019 that she also decided to take on an occupational challenge with an employer at her new home in Nuremberg - "with SerNet deep in my heart."
His enthusiasm for Linux guided Oliver Seufer to SerNet in 2001, after he had completed an apprenticeship as a communications electronics technician at the GWDG. His first tasks as a network administrator reflect not only the company's history, but also the early phase of administrative digitization: he looked after the web server of the city of Göttingen. After a year, he switched to the core business and worked his way into configuring the firewalls distributed by SerNet. He remembers one curiosity in particular from those early days: "We used to actually send updates to the customer via hard drive." Seufer also continued to develop within the company and has been technical manager since 2017.
SerNet grew steadily, and with it all the administrative work. It was during this time that Reinhild Jung made a proactive application, starting part-time in 2002. She took on more and more tasks and thus continuously more responsibility: In 2009, she received power of procuration and since then took over the commercial management. She has consistently developed her core area accounting: "In these 20 years, we have arrived at fully automated, digital accounting. The last two years in particular have been catalysts once again."
Jung finally took over the joint SerNet management with Loxen at the beginning of 2019.
Manuela Bachmeier, Reinhild Jung and Oliver Seufer attribute their long-standing ties to the company in part to its special corporate culture. Jung: "The open interaction among colleagues is remarkable. Everyone looks out for each other - a healthy working atmosphere across departments and locations." Bachmeier continues, "Family friendliness has always been a priority at SerNet." She also emphasizes clever personnel development as one of SerNet's core characteristics. This continues in everyday life in flat hierarchies as well as further training opportunities in all directions, everyone confirms. Seufer emphasizes that it's not just personal responsibility that plays a role here, but also the opportunity to work out focal points yourself: "Colleagues are passionate about their topics." Jung also talks about the good relationship with customers that distinguishes the company: "We play fair, sell solutions that we stand behind, and give the assurance: SerNet cares."
The next 25 years are coming up. Jung and Loxen want to continue to develop SerNet steadily. The ideals of the first 25 years are to be preserved. Jung: "We don't want to lose our roots, even if we have to constantly adapt, of course."
On 8 April 1997, four students from the University of Göttingen met for the founding meeting of SerNet GmbH. Many companies in the region wanted to use the "Neuland Internet" and urgently needed firewalls to protect their own computers against the dangers that threatened even then. With Telekom's DSL offer from the beginning of 1998, the market for the young company was broadly available and within 5 years SerNet was able to convince customers throughout Germany of its own capabilities.
25 years have passed since then. SerNet is a major player in the German market in the field of information security, IT infrastructure and open source software and works for customers worldwide and around the clock – from headquarter in Göttingen or from offices in Berlin and San Francisco.
The portfolio in products and services has developed in many ways. In addition to the main business of IT security for many hundreds of regular customers, SerNet sells and supports secure infrastructure solutions for data storage as well as hybrid solutions in the cloud. With SAMBA+ and verinice, SerNet has established software products for very different customer groups and thus created a stable basis for business. This can also be used in the future to work in an innovative and customer-oriented way.
Unfortunately, the pandemic only allows for a small cake party with colleagues on April 8th 2022. But since in 1997 the entry of a new company in the commercial register at the Göttingen district court still took more than 5 months, SerNet will use the period until September 2022 for many small anniversary events: round tables, a summer party and, above all, the relaunch of its own website in a completely new look - for the next 25 years!
The Youth Parliament Göttingen has been offering all young people in and around Göttingen an opportunity to be influential at the local level since 2020. SerNet GmbH supports both the Youth Parliament and the project "A Forest from Göttingen" as a cooperation partner.
With the project group "A Forest from Göttingen", the Youth Parliament wants to make a contribution to climate and environmental protection. The goal is to enable planting new trees in the city area together with Goepflanzt through fundraising activities - in cooperation with Primaklima donations provide for reforestation in Nicaragua. There, smallholder families counteract drought damage and thus receive an additional stable income. SerNet's contribution has enabled the planting of 167 trees in Nicaragua.
SerNet sells software through fully automated online stores. Unfortunately, we cannot effectively restrict who buys there. Thus, unfortunately, the far-right party AfD has also purchased software via the online store. Instead of painstakingly canceling this purchase, we are directing the amount of money received as a result to a good cause! We donate the amount paid by the AfD to the Seebrücke and round up to an even 1,500 Euros. We think that this is right in the interest of the general public and on closer inspection also in the interest of the AfD.
According to its own definition, Seebrücke is "an international movement that is committed to safe escape routes, unimpeded sea rescue and an end to dying at European borders".
In March, it's that time again and the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage are coming up: On March 12 and 13, 2022, the event for Linux and open source enthusiasts will take place – again purely digitally, which is also reflected in this year's motto "Fully distributed". SerNet is once again participating as a sponsor.
SerNet has been involved in the Chemnitzer Linux-Tage since 2016, both as a sponsor and by providing presentations. Already since 1999, the annual event has pursued its goal of bringing Linux and open source into society. A commitment that we are happy to support.