Benjamin Rüggeberg
Benjamin Rüggeberg
After moving from South Africa to Berlin in 2007 (supposedly for 2 years while my wife was finishing her specialisation) I founded Cape Times as a retail store to present ethically produced contemporary African interior design to the German market. In 2009 (now settled in Berlin and first child born) Cape Times turned into a predominantly B2B business exhibiting our imported brands from Southern and East Africa at international B2B trade shows.

My one-man show was too small to take on more and more brands. In mid-2017 I thus began playing around with the idea of an online trade show in order to offer brands that I could not add to my wholesale business an opportunity to gain access into the B2B market. The first seed was sown when I discussed the idea with partners Andreas and Dino a few weeks later, and in early 2019 MTMfair was finally launched after a year and a half of intensive brainstorming and programming. The idea was not only to offer the much-needed aforementioned opportunity but also to move the fair from a physical show to a platform for three main reasons:
1. For social reasons: to give SMEs from developing and emerging markets as well as businesses with a limited marketing budget a fair and equal opportunity to showcase their products to an international, professional audience of retailers, wholesalers and interior designers.
2. For economical reasons: to act as an extension or add-on to the existing physical trade shows. Long after the doors to a show have been shut and long before they reopen for the next season, MTMfair offers all participants the opportunity to continue exhibiting and sourcing on 365 days of the year.
3. For environmental reasons: the trade show industry is without a doubt a great producer of waste. Sure, MTMfair is not on the verge of replacing physical trade shows, but we intend to offer not only the aforementioned add-on, but also an alternative to those exhibitors and visitors who are actively reducing their carbon footprint.
Andreas David
Andreas David
As an ambitious photographer I accompanied an art project to South Africa in 2009 and photographed a documentation as well as portraits of the participants. Later it turned out that we were guests of one of the manufacturers of Benjamin. So we got talking and in September 2010 I opened the Luxad, a retail store with sustainably produced picture frames made of recycled wood.

My key experience was visiting the international consumer goods fair in search of ethical complementary products. The truly sustainable manufacturers have literally been lost in the oversupply from the East and are often alone in the exhibition hall with their attitude.

After numerous coffees with Benjamin, it has become clear that together we want to make a lasting difference to the trade fair world and also open up the opportunity for small manufacturers to trade worldwide. Together with Dino our team became complete.

So I contribute my many years of experience as technical manager, software architect and fullstack developer to the project and ensure that our many ideas and visions of a "better trade fair" are implemented. But already today is a great tool for manufacturers, distributors and resellers at the same time.
Dino Santangelo
Dino Santangelo
I have been working as a doctor in the field of psychiatry for many years and am therefore a strong advocate of speaking medicine. Communication is my passion.

When we founded MTMfair, it was not my intention to "do something different", but rather to implement a solution that would help create opportunities and open markets for alternative and better consumer goods.

As parents, my wife and I have been trying for years to exert our influence on the respective suppliers (trade, energy, production, food) through our consumer behaviour and thereby encourage them to offer sustainable solutions. Now a single household has only a limited need and therefore only a small influence on the developments of the companies offering the goods.

When Benjamin approached me with his idea for MTMfair, I saw the opportunity to participate in the development of an enormous lever. My motivation to create a new platform by developing MTMfair was born. I would like to participate in offering suppliers and visitors a space that offers them other advantages than a physical fair. Thus, the platform can be seen as a supplement for many established suppliers, as products can be presented here not only on three to five days, but all year round. For smaller and up-and-coming suppliers, on the other hand, MTMfair offers a first access to markets worldwide and reduces the financial and logistical effort enormously. Visitors are given a very powerful search algorithm and can, for example, discover a wide range of exciting products from the sustainable interior and lifestyle sector from the comfort of their shop. The development of more and more features and ways to present them gives me enormous satisfaction.

I hope that our platform will convey to its users, beyond the functions, also a little of this spirit of participating in a great solution.