Interview with Andy Carvell, CEO and co-founder of mobile growth consultancy Phiture

Setting sits down with Andy Carvell, CEO and co-founder of mobile growth powerhouse Phiture, for the newest entry in our office interview series.

Founder Interviews

May 6, 2024

8 min read

Andy Carvell, CEO and Founder of Phiture, sits down with Setting HQ

Founded in 2016 by Andy Carvell and Moritz Daan, two former SoundCloud employees, Phiture is a Berlin-based mobile growth consultancy and agency that helps mobile-first companies launch, scale, and optimize their mobile app growth through transparent and actionable frameworks. Over the last few years, the brand has quickly established itself as a leading mobile app growth consultancy internationally, winning multiple awards and working with globally recognized organizations. 

For this interview, Setting dialed in from Mexico City while Andy joined from his home office in Berlin, navigating an 8-hour time difference. Connecting through their screens, the two discussed Phiture's journey from its cozy beginnings in a Neukolln storefront to becoming a remote-first organization, redefining company culture in the digital age, and the unique advantages of being a specialized mobile growth agency.

Setting: So, Andy, what’s your current office setup?

Andy Carvell (A.C.): So we have essentially the same office that we've had since late 2018, when we moved into this space. It’s a 310-square-meter, fairly open plan office in Kreuzberg, Neukölln—Kreuzkölln, however, you want to call it—near Schönleinstraße in Berlin. We’re coming up on 6 years now!

Setting: That sounds amazing! I get the impression that Phiture has grown a lot since 2016. How has growth affected your office requirements? 

A.C.: That’s right. It’s definitely affected how we’re expanding globally. For example, we went and kind of dipped our toes into the APAC market last year. We were doing a lot in APAC and thinking, "Okay, do we open an APAC office? And if so, where would it be? Ho Chi Minh City? Or would it be Korea, maybe?"  I was out there quite a bit last year, but we didn't get to the point of pushing the button on scaling our APAC efforts. 

For now, we’ve decided that the main focus should be scaling further in the United States, which not only is our biggest market in terms of current revenues but also has a ton of room for future growth, without the complexity of dealing with language issues; we deliver all of our services in English and this can be a barrier to penetrating many new geographical markets.

It’s also worth mentioning that we have a couple of ‘hubs’, as we call them, across the globe. We have a bunch of folks in London and another hub in Barcelona. These folks are not all working from a single location, but we do offer them the option to work in a co-working space, which means they can work together there whenever they wish. We invest in hub get-togethers and fly leadership out there once or twice per quarter, and we allocated a budget for hub events—dinners, parties, etc., so people working out of these hub cities can spend time together.

Setting: So you kind of hit on the major theme here at Setting: flexibility. We’re really interested in the idea of flexible offices, especially. What is Phiture's policy on remote work? Is it mandatory for employees to work from the office, or do they have the flexibility to work remotely?

A.C: So, back when the COVID pandemic hit, we were sort of forced to go fully remote; during that time we had to close the office. We had to get a lot more comfortable with remote work than we would have been otherwise. We had to lean into it.

Thankfully, in terms of our tech stack, which right from the start was Slack, Google Suite, and Zoom. We were working pretty internationally from the start. We had customers in the US (including West Coast US clients such as Headspace in Santa Monica). We were doing much of our work on Zoom and collaborating on Google Docs internally and with our clients from day 1.  Thus, when we had to close the office and transition to being a remote company, it actually went really seamlessly.

I think a lot of digital businesses found that they got an upswing during COVID. We saw low employee churn, acquired new clients, and hired more staff during COVID. Our customers, being mobile app companies, also saw increased engagement as users spent more time on their apps. It was a boom time for our industry.

We've never tried to force people to come back to the office. I think we would have a bit of a mutiny on our hands if we suddenly declared that everyone's got to be in the office every day. The culture has changed for many companies, including Phiture and we're okay with that; for one thing, it means we don't have to constantly look for bigger offices as we grow.

Setting: What options do you give your employees? Is there some kind of handbook that they receive on this topic or any sort of advice?

A.C.: The rules are very simple. It's not something that we need a whole handbook for. If you want to come to the office, you're very welcome to. We have a wonderful office, a truly beautiful space, and you can come and work there every day if you want. Or, you can come and work there only some days if you want. And if you never want to come in, that's also fine.

Setting: Let's take a few steps back now. What was your first office space like?

A.C.: My co-founder, Moritz Daan, and I met at SoundCloud. We were both working on mobile growth marketing there.  We loved SoundCloud as a company, the office–and we loved working together, of course. After a few years, we decided to leave SoundCloud and set up something together, because we wanted to work together more and do more of what we were really good at. 

In October 2016, we incorporated as a company and started looking for an office more or less immediately. We were looking at all sorts; we looked at co-working spaces, and we tried a few out, as well as looking at other rental spaces. We ended up finding a little gem of a place, and initially, it was just the back room of somebody else's commercial space, also in Neukölln, on Richardstraße.

It was a ground-floor space. There was a walk-in entrance from the street.  There were the main tenants already in the lovely front space, and I think they were struggling with their rent and costs, so they were looking to sub-let.

We started renting a small back room. It was a great setup because we could be on calls all day without any noise issues. The room was tiny, with just a couple of desks for Moritz and I. About four or five months after we settled in, the main tenants approached us and said, "Look, guys, we're really sorry, but we're planning to get out of the lease. We need you to vacate the space." In response, we said, “We’ll take the lease!”

I was always hoping that we might have a chance to take it over. We loved the space, we loved the neighborhood, the location. It's a cute little spot in Neukölln near Richardplatz. And we really liked the space. It was a dream come true and perfect timing. As our team grew, we commissioned a custom table that went almost the length of the room that we all sat around in the main front room. It was lovely, a nice communal feeling. I remember we also cooked a Christmas dinner at the office and ate around that table as a team. 

By the time a year rolled around, we were already overfilling that office space, including the back room. The back room we could use for meetings, which was handy. But when we had maybe a team of 10-12 people in the front room, we needed to look for a bigger space. And we were growing well, revenues were up; our biggest limiter was capacity. So we started searching for a much bigger space.

Setting: We're also interested in seeing how founders feel and relate emotionally to their office spaces during this interview series. Just when you were talking about your previous space, I got the impression that you look back on it in a very nostalgic way. I'm wondering, would you say you had an emotional connection to it?

A.C.: Oh, yeah, absolutely. It was a cozy space, it was nice. I'm going to speak very fondly about my co-founder here as well, Moritz: even before we had an office manager or anybody to help us curate and take care of the space, Moritz has always had a good eye for interior design. The previous tenants had designed a few bits and pieces in the space; they'd built a cute bar/counter in the front room and a few bits like that.

I remember early on, he brought in a ‘plant consultant’ who picked out some nice plants and succulents: some cacti and air plants. These little touches and flourishes made this place feel nice and high quality; it was a great environment.

I'm not the kind of person who will take a lot of effort and care actually to cultivate and curate my own space. So I always appreciate it when somebody else curates the space that I end up spending a lot of time in.

Setting: How has your idea of the office space evolved over time?

A.C.: Since we made this big switch to fully remote, I think it's gone from being the place where we all come every day—where we all see each other, the cornerstone of our working life—to being more of this kind of headquarters or base of operations. I'm there most days, but I'm also not there necessarily every day. It's nice to have the flexibility.

It's more like a really great facility that we can all make use of when we want to. We know that we can come in and meet coworkers there, and we can arrange to have a particular team or meetings there. We do our exec meeting in the office every Friday, where the C-suite meets in person because we're all luckily Berlin-based. 

We have this awesome capability which we can then leverage in a much more flexible way than before.

Setting: So, Andy, what does the office mean to you? 

A.C.: It’s the ground zero for the brave new digital world of mobile marketing.


This is the sixth interview in our “What Does the Office Space Mean To You” series. Stay tuned for more exciting stories about the office space over the next couple of months!

We’d love to hear your office story. Drop us a line at if you’re interested in sharing your office experience.

For more information on Andy’s business, Phiture click here. And don’t forget to follow Andy on LinkedIn!

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