Michael Schmitt, Developer in Hamburg, Germany
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Michael Schmitt

Verified Expert  in Engineering

React Developer

Hamburg, Germany
Toptal Member Since
March 16, 2022

Michael is a full-stack developer, indie maker, and former CTO. With over ten years of experience in startups and innovation projects, he has advanced expertise with complex software systems and the implementation of processes in fast, uncertain environments. He can transform developmental needs into intuitive, practical, and user-friendly digital experiences.


React, React Native, TypeScript, Next.js, Gatsby, Create React App, APIs...
React, Styled-components, GraphQL, React Apollo, Apollo Server...
Gravitales GmbH (self-employed)
JavaScript, React, Create React App, Next.js, Gatsby, APIs, Microservices...




Preferred Environment

JavaScript, TypeScript, React, React Native, Node.js, Next.js, GraphQL, MongoDB, Redux, Mobile

The most amazing...

...product I've developed is Storyliner, a creative platform for copywriters and content teams. It was awarded the German Excellence Award.

Work Experience

Full-stack React Developer

2020 - PRESENT
  • Built a cross-platform portal for internal communications for a 900-employee solid and global solution provider in the industrial mobility sector.
  • Built a real-time collaborative editing environment in React, like Google Docs or Notion.
  • Created a React component library with Storybook, Parcel, and TypeScript as an npm package.
  • Launched a web content clipper as a Chrome extension created with Create React App.
  • Bootstrapped Storyline, the AI-enhanced collaborative creative platform for corporate communications since 2020.
  • Received the German Excellence Award for my indie project Storyline.
Technologies: React, React Native, TypeScript, Next.js, Gatsby, Create React App, APIs, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Vercel, Figma, Chrome Extensions, GraphQL, Tailwind CSS, Styled-components, ESLint, Storybook, Node.js, Git, GitHub, MongoDB, Headless Software, CRDT, Slate, OpenAI, HTML, CSS, PostCSS, JavaScript, NPM, Private NPM Modules, Testing, Architecture, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Jest, React Testing Library, Product Ownership, Product Development, Contentful, Technical Leadership, Software Architecture, AWS Lambda

Founder and Chief Technology Officer

2018 - 2019
  • Designed and built a chatbot to automate marketing tasks for 2,500+ users.
  • Set the product roadmap and translated the vision into technical reality.
  • Led a six-person product team with designers and engineers.
  • Conducted more than 200 interviews with content creatives, content managers, and publishers to improve our product.
  • Awarded as Content Startup of the year 2018 at the Frankfort book fair.
Technologies: React, Styled-components, GraphQL, React Apollo, Apollo Server, Create React App, Node.js, Redis, MongoDB, Cloud Firestore, Dialogflow, Zapier, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Firebase, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Chatbots, Conversational UI, Conversational UX, Conversational Interfaces, TypeScript, CTO, Startups, Startup Funding, Architecture, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Team Management, Product Development, Team Leadership, Technical Leadership, People Management, Software Architecture

Agency Owner and Creative Technologist

2017 - 2018
Gravitales GmbH (self-employed)
  • Designed and developed digital products with design sprints. The 4-day process is a way to compress months of work into a few days.
  • Managed the conception of products or features and the technical implementation simultaneously as a creative technologist.
  • Participated in projects that ranged from marketing platforms, editorial systems, web portals, and campaigns to brand websites.
Technologies: JavaScript, React, Create React App, Next.js, Gatsby, APIs, Microservices, Express.js, Meteor, Design Sprints, UX Design, Prototyping, Concepting, Wireframing, Sketch, Mockups, HTML, CSS, MJML, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, User Experience (UX), React Redux, REST APIs, REST, PostgreSQL, Containers, Product Development, Technical Leadership, Software Architecture, AWS Lambda

Digital Consultant and Web Developer

2014 - 2017
mii ventures GmbH (self-employed)
  • Advised brands on their content strategy, information architecture, and online marketing strategy focused on SEO as the digital consultant.
  • Implemented mobile-optimized and responsive websites for more than 30 small and medium-sized companies.
  • Received the EXIST Business Start-up Grant for an indie project. This grant supports graduates and scientists in preparing innovative technology projects.
  • Developed a prototype MVP for a startup that later became a unicorn.
Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, WordPress, Responsive UI, Wireframing, Concepting, Sketch, Mockups, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Responsive Web Apps, Analytics, Mixpanel, Product Development, Software Architecture

Research Associate and Project Manager

2012 - 2014
SKZ companies
  • Designed, developed, and led innovation projects of different sizes and acquired funding.
  • Developed an innovation project that led to a patented application.
  • Led work that was awarded the REHAU Prize for Technology.
Technologies: Fundraising, Concepting, Microsoft Excel, Project Management

Storyliner – The AI-enhanced Creative Platform

With Storyliner, creatives and content teams conceive communication strategically on one platform. You create concepts in minutes through creative content blocks, inspiration, and constant feedback on your quality.

Working on innovation projects, I realized the tools for creating product and marketing copy just didn't cut it. In 2020, I started Storyliner, a creative platform designed specifically for creatives and content teams. The SaaS platform empowers you to create compelling content with the creative support of artificial intelligence. You can compose concepts faster and collaborate more effectively.

The project is bootstrapped with a Next.js app and built as a progressive web app. One highlight from a developer's perspective is the real-time multiplayer editing experience built on top of Slate.js, with Redis and Yjs as CRDT implementation giving users a collaborative experience like Google Docs or Notion.

my.Felss – Flexible Portal for Internal Comms

The Felss Group GmbH is a solution provider in the cold forming of tubes and solid materials for the mobility sector. With over 900 employees worldwide and represented in five countries, the machine builder and process developer provides holistic and customized solutions.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the need for internal communication increased rapidly at the machine builder. As a freelance creative technologist, the Felss marketing team and I decided on a multistep approach to development.

First, we designed and deployed a blog to provide employees with essential information about the ongoing crisis within weeks. Later, the blog was expanded into an information portal with mobile apps and authentication. The portal provided internal news and relevant documents to moderate the ongoing transformation process.

I knew right from the beginning that there are more features on the roadmap than just a blogging function, so we decided to use a headless CMS to manage the content. This allowed us to use the CMS as a single content source and develop different user interfaces like a Next.js web portal and blog and React native-based iOS and Android apps.

my.Felss is now the mobile-first intranet that connects everyone.

SIGMUND TALKS – Your Personal Marketing Assistant

SIGMUND TALKS is the personal assistant for marketing. As a chatbot, it advises and accompanies bloggers and small and medium-sized marketing teams to achieve their goals. Thanks to artificial intelligence and a unique co-creation process, users create more diverse content in half the time.

As chief technology officer, I managed the chatbot's product development and technology integration.

Chatbots were one of the hype topics in 2018. There were isolated projects, frameworks, and platforms but little empirical data on which technologies ran stably or were particularly well suited for the chosen use case.

The user interface was developed with React, styled-components, and Apollo Client and deployed via Firebase. The user input was processed using the Natural Language Understanding platform Google Dialogflow.

All server-side tasks were packaged into individual modules or microservices and bundled in a GraphQL API. To further process the briefings and the generated concepts, users could download the content or export it directly to any service of their choice via the Zapier web service.

Echogramm – The Social News App for Businesses

The Echogramm is a social news app for businesses. The app aggregates and curates the most relevant content in your industry.

I built the Echogramm as an indie project with the production framework Next.js. The app was developed as a progressive web app (PWA) for mobile, tablets, and desktop clients. This way, it provides a native app-like experience without high costs for maintaining different apps for different platforms.

The React front-end retrieves data from a GraphQL API based on an Apollo server connected to several microservices and a web scraper.

Foconn – The Marketing Platform for Opticians

The marketing platform for opticians makes campaign and content sourcing as easy as online shopping with a standardized briefing process and manufacturer content offers. I have accompanied Foconn since the startup phase with my former design agency. I designed the technology architecture, prototyping, product development, and launch and testing platform as a creative technologist.

The MVP was created with the full-stack JavaScript framework Meteor.js with a React front end for rapid prototyping. Meteor provided the authentication system, user management, and a Node.js back end with a direct MongoDB integration. As for the styling layer, Sass and Materialize.css were used. For the marketing website, we used the static site generator Gatsby.js. The app and website were both deployed on AWS.
2013 - 2015

Master's Degree in Marketing and Innovation

Steinbeis School of Management and Innovation - Berlin, Germany

2007 - 2012

Postgraduate Degree in Engineering

University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt - Würzburg, Germany


Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Business Strategy

MIT Sloan School of Management


React, Node.js, Social Media APIs, AWS Amplify, React Testing Library, React Redux, REST APIs


React Apollo, Google Analytics, Dialogflow, Create React App, Figma, Git, GitHub, Hotjar, Zapier, Expo.io, Sketch, PostCSS, NPM, CAD, Microsoft Excel, AWS AppSync


React Native, Next.js, Tailwind CSS, Redux, MJML, Materialize, Express.js, Jest, Material UI


JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML, CSS, GraphQL, SCSS


UX Design, Web UX Design, Web UI Design, Microservices Architecture, Agile Software Development, Microservices, Testing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), REST


Mobile, Vercel, Firebase, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), WordPress, Amazon Web Services (AWS), AWS Lambda, Meteor, Mixpanel, Contentful

Industry Expertise

Web Design, Project Management


MongoDB, Redis, Cloud Firestore, PostgreSQL


Responsive UI, Lean Startups, Digital Innovation, Online Marketing, Business Development, Design Sprints, Agile Practices, Digital Strategy, Technology Trends, Apollo Server, User Authentication, User Management, Gatsby, Google Tag Manager, Headless Software, APIs, Product Development, Startups, Concepting, Prototyping, Wireframing, Mockups, Web Development, Architecture, Full-stack, Full-stack Development, Front-end, Technical Leadership, Styled-components, Web Scraping, Prismic, Push Notifications, Progressive Web Applications (PWA), Slate, OpenAI, Data Aggregation, Engineering Informatics, Chatbots, Conversational UI, Conversational Interfaces, CTO, Portals, Conversational UX, ESLint, Storybook, Team Management, Analytics, Team Leadership, Software Architecture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), CRDT, Statistics, Startup Funding, Fundraising, Chrome Extensions, Private NPM Modules, User Experience (UX), Responsive Web Apps, Product Ownership, Containers, People Management, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT)

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