The Third Degree: Eva Missling of 99designs

By Simone ODonovan |

This week in the Third Degree, our regular Friday feature where we talk to Berlin’s brightest and best CEOs, we chatted with Eva Missling of 12designer and 99designs about blowing up buildings, California sunshine and Berlin’s business boom.

Silicon Allee: You were the CEO of 12designer before it was acquired by 99designs. If you hadn’t have become an entrepreneur, what would you be doing?

Eva Missling: If you had asked me this when I was fresh out of school, I would have told you I wanted to become a Sprengmeister. I’m not entirely sure what’s the right word in English; it’s a person who is responsible for blowing up high-rise buildings safely. I guess the right term could be demolition expert. Today I’m not sure how to answer that question and I’m glad I don’t have to. I really enjoy being involved in the creative scene through 12designer and 99designs, so if I was to hold any other position that creative element would have to be a major part of the job. 

SA: What do you like about Berlin?

EM: Berlin is great because it’s a global city that operates on a more manageable pace than many others – and I like that. It’s also pretty cheap to live here, so we can focus on enjoying and exploring the city rather than simply making money in order to stay. Berlin has a wonderful and creative international vibe you really can’t find in the rest of Germany. 

SA: East or West Berlin?

EM: That’s a tough call because the city is developing so rapidly. I don’t really like to pick sides! I love the area around our office at Schlesisches Tor. 99designs is located next to the Spree; all sorts of vibrant bars, restaurants and interesting people are close by and it’s cool to be a part of that on a daily basis.

SA: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

EM: To be totally honest, I just like to hang out. Is that boring? Sometimes it’s nice just to take a quiet moment and enjoy the simple things. One of my favourite things to do, especially when the weather is nice, is to explore the many awesome lakes around Berlin with my friends and family.

SA: When you leave Berlin where do you like to go?

EM: Wherever the sun is shining – or, at the very least, somewhere where the sun has made more of an appearance than it has in Berlin during the last six months. For a long time I thought I should move to California because it seems the sun is always shining there… and I like fast food.

SA: If you could employ anybody who would you choose?

EM: There are many amazing company founders and CEOs who are inspiring. So maybe I’d bring in one or two of them. But to keep things realistic – I’d just say that it would be nice to add a guy to the mix in our Berlin office since we’re currently an all-female team. 

SA: How do you think Berlin as a city will develop in the next decade?

EM: I presume Berlin will become a bit more mainstream as the business boom continues and people from all walks of life are settling here. This isn’t necessarily a negative evolution, but I do think it will ultimately dilute what we had come to learn and love about the city following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

SA: What do you think the Internet will look like in ten years?

EM: Ten years from now the Internet won’t even be a topic of conversation – it’ll just be.