Pia Victoria Poppenreiter, born in Austria, living in Berlin, came up with the idea, when she saw prostitutes on Oranienburger Straße waiting in the cold for clients. As the current political situation is very much influenced by the discourse to improve the working conditions of sex workers, it was a logical consequence for her, to make her vision reality. Poppenreiter researched the field extensively, exploring the living and working conditions of the current prostitution scene in order to help her understand the challenges in the market.
Poppenreiter is a former Master student of Business Ethics at Steinbeis University of which she received a full scholarship for the study program. Also, she received a Bachelor degree in Export-oriented Mangagement from the IMC University of Applied Science Krems. She gained experience in different industries including Investment banking at Dresdner Kleinwort, Negotiations at Continental AG and Business Development at Westwing Home and Living GmbH before founding PEPPR and taking on the role of Cief Executive Officer.
On 21st January 2014 she founded the company peppr IT GmbH together with Florian Hackenberger and Shahak Shapira. Her co-founder, serial entrepreneur Florian Hackenberger is an Austrian computer scientist. Her second co-founder, Israeli, is the award-winning creative director Shahak Shapira.
Cooperation with sex workers and agencies
The sex workers may publish their profiles on PEPPR. All profiles are reviewed according to internal quality standards. After reviewing the profiles, a personal phone interview is set up. For Poppenreiter it is important to have a personal interview with each potential escort in order to ensure the authenticity of the profiles and assure that the candidates work independent, are not forced or illegal prostitutes. After joining the platform, they are called "pepprs". Trans and intersex people are also being considered, but have not been registered yet. Currently registered on the app are “independents”, as well as escort agencies. The so-called "independents", are sex workers, who are “agency free” prostitutes who manage their bookings by themselves. If sex workers work together with escort agencies, the booking of a “peppr” goes out to the agency and will be forwarded from there to the sex worker.
The invoice of the actual service itself does not run through the app. Merely a small booking fee is charged to the clients credit card, in order to ensure the seriousness of the booking.
Brothels or bars are not listed yet. Even streetwalkers have not been registered at this stage. During the work it became clear that high-priced escorts want to differentiate themselves from sex workers who are visible on streets/roads.
the vision of this app is a real opportunity to break the domination of crime and risk structures and has the power to change one of most dangerous professions in the world sustainably
Strict hierarchy still prevails in prostitution: At the top rank, there are the escorts. Those are sex workers in the usually higher-priced segment that visit clients at home, at hotels and/or offer travel companion, followed by sex workers who work in brothels and bars and at the bottom of the pyramid are the street prostitutes.
Although PEPPR could accommodate the entire spectrum, focus has been placed on a targeted rollout.
Operation and booking
The app is a location based web app that lists available sex workers within a close area.
The booking process from the perspective of a client is as follows:
In three steps a client may book erotic entertainment by going to the mobile-web site (www.peppr.it) and entering preferences in the filter. After reviewing the list, one may want to find out more about the so-called "peppr" and therefore reviews the profile. If the criteria matches the expectations, a booking request may be sent. At this point, the client has to enter the credit card details in order so ensure seriousness (safety feature). The sex worker may accept, decline or offer a phone conversation. If the sex worker accepts the booking, a fee will be charged to the credit card of the client .
A web app was chosen as it is very safe to assume that Apple or Google would not accept such an app in the stores. Other reasons were a short development time and the possibility to use the app without installation on the phone in order to ensure anonymity.
PEPPR heavily uses operating concepts of the user experience of a native app. For instance, it is possible to save the page as an icon on the homescreen.
PEPPR is "mobile first" designed, that is – if compromises must be made, then always in favor of the mobile offering.
All access to the app is encrypted with SSL. PEPPR does not store the data entered for payments on their own systems, but forwards them immediately to their payment provider and therefore no longer has access to the information.
The launch of the app gained a heavy media coverage. Numerous newspapers, television reports and other media in more than 140 nations reported about his innovation.
Most of the newspapers referred to the press release, which was published in "Gründerszene"  on 14th April, 2014.
Of particular note of the (online-)newspapers were: Time Magazine , La Repubblica , Huffington Post , NY Post  , Golem , Netzpiloten , SZ now! .
The app garnered positive reviews from end users and critics, as well as from the press and the sex worker.
Uniformly tenor was that the vision of this app is a real opportunity to break the domination of crime and risk structures and has the power to change one of most dangerous professions in the world sustainably and could revolutionary improve the living and working conditions of sex workers.
PEPPR’s headquarter is in Berlin. Branches in other countries are planned.
== Links ==
https://peppr.it/#!/ - Homepage