Straight ahead on a detour

Anyone who thinks that every path in life can be foreseen at an early age is right. But anyone who claims that one must first fight for this path and overcome obstacles is even more right. How it all began?

Career aspiration helicopter pilot

Even as a child André believed in greater things. Wanted to become a helicopter pilot and be able to move freely in all directions. He imagined things that would happen in the future. Today André Schirmer leads companies instead of helicopters – one himself as CEO and many others into the digital future.

Too far ahead of time

Already during the Abitur, a first success was achieved, winning the founders’ workshop of the Sparkasse Dortmund. Topic: “Order food online.” Nowadays this is already daily business but the idea was born in 2003 and André was too far ahead of his time.

From the lecture hall to the executive chair

The first study programme hasn’t been a match for André. Consequently, his second attempt studying “Communications & Marketing” at the International School of Management (ISM) in Dortmund and a semester abroad in Paris. That fascinated and motivated. His first internet website and thus his first own company is a portal for innovative advertising media. Coincidence?

Photo studios rethought

After his studies, he scaled a photography chain store from 3 to over 30 branches and built up an entire company as Business Development & Marketing Manager. His second, though not his own. There he met important pioneers, some of whom he hired himself. Others fall by the wayside. However, what remained was an important insight.

Too many ideas for just one company

Afterwards: Foundation of the first GmbH, more or less by chance as an advertising agency. Not coincidentally: Nikolas Nienaber, with whom he had already made a company big before, becomes a business partner. The name: Schwarz+Matt. This is reminiscent of coal and success in the advertising industry. First customer: mobile toilet houses. The question: From what can gold be made of?

30 is the new 50

At 30, André wanted to found his first company which he managed to do seven days before. And with Schwarz+Matt, he achieved in just a few years what others only manage at 50: At least a doubling of turnover every year. From 0 to over 100 customers in two years. From the living room to over 450 sqm digital office. Today over 220 customers: Start-ups, mid-sized companies, family businesses, entrepreneurs. Mostly visionaries like him. Developing creative strategies, addressing new customers, implementing ideas – these are André Schirmer’s strengths up until today.

A lot has changed but one thing has remained the same: The desire to fly a helicopter. Free as a bird. Always looking ahead.


Between home and vision

Dortmund is not a city of dreams. But in Dortmund dreams come true. André’s were born here. Between coal, in the past, and services, today. Between grey days and sunshine. Between cheering and whining. Between Nordstadt and Gartenstadt. Somewhere in between, André’s dreams have grown. He cherishes them.

Go to the website of the municipality of Dortmund

Dortmunder Phoenixsee