About subshell

subshell is a flexible, tight-knit software company founded in 1999 with the goal of providing useful solutions to a variety of media organizations.

About subshell

In the year 2007 with the launch of the high end CMS Sophora, subshell evolved from a known software service provider for media companies to an innovative software product developer, specializing in Content Management Systems.
The premiere users of the new software were the German broadcaster NDR with their extensive on-line content and programming and the ARD, a joint consortium of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters, with www.tagesschau.de. Additional multimedia and TV organizations followed. Thanks to its flexibility and multiple uses for publications of all types, as well as an updated user-friendly approach, Sophora became the answer for all forms of modern media companies.
In the forefront of subshell is product development, to further evolve, update and develop Sophora. This of course includes all types of support for the CMS, such as Professional Services, Training and Consulting. The implementation and individualization of the software can either be performed by subshell, the internal IT department of the client or it can instead become the responsibility of one of many of subshell’s approved technology partners.
Teamwork and a transparent development process are the cornerstone of Sophora’s success. subshell’s innovative process encourages sharing information on how to best solve problems and challenges. Via the constant exchange of knowledge and an open working style, subshell is able to offer technology solutions of the highest quality.
subshell’s long-term corporate goal is to continue in this vein, with a focus on innovative development while continuing to support a flexible, dynamic working environment where software development is actually fun.

Why subshell

  • subshell is close to its customers. In the conception and further development of our offers, we orientate ourselves towards your specific requirements and wishes.
  • In doing so, subshell relies on gradual and sensible growth.
  • As an independent company, subshell can concentrate on continuously optimizing its services and products.
  • The editorial teams who use Sophora in their daily work benefit from the extensive expertise of our subshell team, which puts itself and our product Sophora to the highest standards.
  • subshell was one of the first to work successfully with agile methods such as XP and Scrum. On this basis, we ensure the continuous improvement and fast delivery of our software today.
  • Furthermore, we develop and test our software according to the most modern criteria and have high demands on our quality management.
  • subshell's product Sophora is used by major media companies and news portals, including for “tagesschau.de” with millions of users.
  • Our company headquarters in Hamburg's HafenCity is close to our customers in Germany and has excellent connections to major European cities.

Team subshell

At subshell, we have six development teams. Each team establishes individual priorities and is self-organized according to the agile process model, "Scrum". A team makes its own decisions, and takes responsibility for their projects and work flow, thereby ensuring a more cohesive working environment. In addition, each team has its own budget for team-building measures. The development teams are complemented by teams for office management, project management, people & culture and management. Team subshell

Management Team

Jan Boddin - CEO / Founder & Owner

In 1999 Jan co-founded subshell. Jan focused on building a successful company by employing a highly motivated and well-trained team of IT specialists. Jan studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Nils Hergert – Authorized Signatory ("Prokurist"), Member of the Executive Board

With subshell since the year 1999, Nils is responsible for subshell’s success in the media industry. With the development and launch of Sophora, Nils guided the company’s evolution from a start-up to a successful player in the CMS market place. Nils holds a M.A. in Philosophy, Computer Science and Linguistics from University of Hamburg, Germany.

Sören Müller – Authorized Signatory ("Prokurist"), Member of the Executive Board, Head of Project Management

Sören has been working for subshell since 2000 and makes certain that the agile product development process is smooth and easy. In addition to these responsibilities, Sören heads up the project management team. Sören began his career at subshell while studying Computer Science at the University of Hamburg.

Jens Theeß - CTO

Jens role at subshell is to work with the teams to maintain the high standard for innovation and forward thinking. Jens is a computer scientist and successfully headed a development team at subshell for several years.

Tom Quellenberg - Founder & Owner

Since the founding of subshell, Tom was responsible for the continued technical excellence of the company. At the end of 2021, Tom withdrew from the operational business at his own request. As a co-owner, he will of course continue to be integrated in strategically important decisions.

How We Work

Scrum at subshell

Scrum at subshell

Learn how we organize our software development at subshell using the agile methodology “Scrum”.

subshell Labcup Winners

subshell's Lab Day

The Lab Day regularly offers all employees time for their own projects.

Some Clients


9/19/24 to 9/20/24

A History

  1. 2020
    The ORF opts for Sophora.
  2. 2020
    subshell switched to home office early in the Corona crisis and grew anti-cyclically.
  3. 2020
    Sportschau, tagesschau and NDR start the joint project "Unified Sophora".
  4. 2019
    subshell celebrates its 20th anniversary.
  5. 2017
    ZDF is relaunching heute.de and the heute-app with Sophora.
  6. 2016
    ZDF chooses Sophora! Complete launch follows in October as ZDF merged ZDF.de and ZDFmediathek into one portal, and modernizes and optimizes their sites for all relevant devices and third-party platforms.
  7. 2016
    Sophora 2.3 comes with a completely renewed editor.
  8. 2015
    coliquio chooses Sophora CMS. coliquio is Germany’s leading physician-only social network.
  9. 2015
    SWR chooses Sophora CMS over CoreMedia CMS. SWR’s in-house developer team starts implementation.
  10. 2015
    subshell is adding skilled employees as business continually grows. Two of subshell’s development teams move into neighboring offices.
  11. 2014
    subshell celebrates its 15th anniversary.
  12. 2014
    subshell introduces DeskClient scripting, a versatile customization tool for Sophora.
  13. 2014
    kika.de launches with Sophora CMS. kika.de is the website of the children‘s channel of ARD and ZDF.
  14. 2013
    subshell optimized Sophora with the ongoing releases 1.37, 1.38, 1.50. With each release, the launch of Sophora 2.0 draws nearer.
  15. 2010
    subshell’s partner network grows to over 18 members and ranges from well-known global players to smaller local IT specialists.
  16. 2009
    subshell celebrates its 10th year in operation and continued growth during a period of worldwide financial uncertainty.
  17. 2009
    The MDR decides for Sophora. Further television broadcasters follow.
  18. 2008
    subshell relocates to a former cement storage facility in Hamburg’s booming HafenCity. The company is fully concentrated on product development and related services.
  19. 2007
    subshell launches Sophora. tagesschau.de and the NDR are the first clients.
  20. 2007
    subshell consults TicketOnline with the re-launch of their online ticket portal and offers continued support in the area of technology development for the customer.
  21. 2006
    subshell is chosen for the technology implementation for Volkswagen’s “Sound Foundation”. Musicians and bands can use “Sound Foundation” as an online vehicle to keep in contact with their fan base. Fans can locate special forums, download music and receive exclusive invitations to concerts and special events. Fans can participate in the selection of new talent for the foundation’s support program, which is aimed at offering new musicians the right information and support to succeed in the music industry.
  22. 2006
    Due to the success of the agile software development methodology, subshell switches its entire development process to the Scrum method.
  23. 2005
    subshell is chosen as the software developer for the Bundeszentrale fuer Politische Bildung’s video asset management needs. The solution is based on the open-source-software “DSpace” and is developed in such a way that cross-media and multi-media media formats can be easily researched and located.
  24. 2004
    subshell expands and relocated to a loft located in a former hygrometer factory in Hamburg’s trendy Sternschanze neighborhood.
  25. 2003
    subshell develops the online jazz and classical musical portal for Universal Music Group German, JazzEcho.de and KlassikAkzente.de.
  26. 2002
    The music download portal popfile.de is launched by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and a former Universal Music Executive, Tim Renner. The portal uses subCMS and features an integrated product catalog and ordering system.
  27. 2002
    subshell develops the newsletter management system makano. Makano sends 250,000 personalized newsletters weekly to registered fans. With this powerful new tool, Universal Music easily remains in contact with 2,45 million email addresses and 1287 different mailing lists.
  28. 2001
    subshell launches subCMS, a java based content management system. The new CMS is put to use at all of subshell’s clients, including Universal Music Germany, Ticket Online and VW.
  29. 2001
    subshell develops a versatile business-to-business software for Universal Music, universal b2b. Universal Music then launches universal b2b and is able to offer its distributors the most current information regarding new releases, marketing strategies and special events.
  30. 2000
    tagesschau.de and the NDR choose subshell for their online programming needs. subshell builds fullstory for the NDR, a new content management system based on Vignette. The foundation of a long-term cooperation with NDR is laid as subshell continues to build and expand its expertise in the media industry. fullstory was in use until 2007.
  31. 2000
    subshell wins the bid from Universal Music Group German to build a centralized product catalog. The product catalog is so structured that all content can be accessed via all Universal websites and other publication. Another long-term working relationship begins.
  32. 1999
    subshell creates the content management website for BMW’s Formula One website and Mini website, in conjunction with the agency Kabel New Media.
  33. 1999
    Tom Quellenberg and Jan Boddin found the software firm subshell in Hamburg, Germany




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Title image: subshell/CC BY