Emanuel Zueger, co-founder and Managing Director Finances & Development of Vioso.com, explains Vioso’s „smartprojecting“ software: „We use usual beamers to project on unusual – neither even nor white - surfaces like walls, curtains or tapestry. The projected image is then computated in real-time so that it will look like on a white canvas. It’s an optical trick we use.“ Emanuel points out: „The more mobile your projector is - like inside your mobile phone or your notebook - the more often you don’t have a white canvas to project on. Mini-projectors will especially profit from Vioso’s technology.“ Founded in June 2007, Vioso is one of the companies financed by Hasso Plattner Ventures. It has already won several awards - amongst others the "Innovationspreis 2008" and the „Deutscher Gründerpreis 2007". The company's projection algorhythm came directly from the research of the Bauhaus university of Weimar and has been patented by them. Emanuel remembers: „It was quite a challenge to get all the license conditions in order to use the intellectual property as the only company worldwide.“ He adds: „Even if the technology works, it’s still a long way to get it into a product that can be released to the public. It’s a mixture of financial and economic tasks as well as technology-oriented tasks that makes Vioso a quite challenging company with a very unique technology.“ Before giving an amazing little presentation of Vioso, Emanuel shares some entrepreneurial insights: „Everybody has to be willing to learn on the fly and quickly“, „Approach customers as soon as possible“ and „Often your first idea is not the right one“ More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures can be found @ www.tiburon-tv.com. Please also watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of Hasso Plattner Ventures.
VoIPFuture is the name of „a phantastic high-tech company for infrastructure products“, raves Jan Bastian, CEO of VoIPFuture since October 2008. The company is dealing with the quality of transmitted voice in a VoIP network and named itself after the common abbreviation of voice over internet protocol, combined with „future“. "Problems regarding the transmission of voice service are hard to detect for carriers" says Jan "VoIPFuture’s technology helps them detect these kind of problems and take the appropriate measures to correct them. Our products are relevant for anybody in the telecom sector and are addressing the needs of telecom operators, large-scale enterprizes and system integrators. Network equipment manufacturers can make their products a lot better when they incorporate our technology.“ The company is licensing its technology to those manufacturers and selling its products directly to the carriers. Jan points out: „VoiPFuture is in a huge and highly competitive market with powerful companies both in the US, in Europe and in Asia. Therefore it is crucial to find the right niche and the right focus. We have excellent competitors like Empirix, which has been considered a shooting star a couple of years ago. It’s our vision to be the shooting star with the next technology.“ VoIPFuture has been in the market for two years and has so far been focussing on the development and completion of its technology: „That’s a quite fast path for dealing with infrastructure products and high tech“ finds Jan and adds „we generated our first sales and now have the proof of our (quite disruptive) technology.“ Jan, who has a background in computer science and has been with Teles before joining VoIPFuture, finds it important to „have experiences and to understand sales and marketing processes as well as financial economics and the rules of the money market.“ He says „if you miss these kind of experiences, you won’t succeed with your technical idea. And most importantly: Watch out for competition. That’s the best you can do.“ More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures can be found here and will be shown in the days to come @ www.tiburon-tv.com. Please also watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of HPV.
For every question (within the law) there is an answer, at least for users of hiogi.com: They get a free, high-quality answer via SMS (dial 44044 out of Germany) within 20 minutes. Björn Behrendt, co-founder and CEO of hiogi, explains: „With 42.000 questions and 11.000 members, we’ve done the proof of concept for Germany. In 2009, we want to tackle two more markets: The English-speaking (where hiogi faces fierce competition with ChaCha in the US and texperts in the UK) and Japan.“ Björn adds: „There’s a lot of movement in the Crowd Based search industry. Basically we are a fast-moving tech company with a good technology set.“ By offering high-quality answers in a short amount of time from human being to human being, hiogi is operating in a niche: „The biggest challenge in Germany is to market an SMS short code. People seem to be very reluctant toward premium SMS-services, there’s always a negative impression in the customer“, says Björn „this hurdle is very hard to overcome.“ Björn adds: „We don’t like SMS so much. We love all the other channels and want mobile internet. That would make us more successful, since there is much more space.“ Right now, hiogi is looking for media companies and bigger partners with a good reputation in order to create a higher degree of trust. The company still needs to close its third financing round and hopes to reach break-even at the end of the year. Björn also gives some advice for starting a company - here’s the juice: „When you approach investors, always have a good beta version ready. Although marketing is very important - don’t waste money with campains where you pay too much for the customer. And last but not least, focus on sales, sales, sales – especially in these times...“ In order to learn more about Hasso Plattner Ventures, please watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of HPV. More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures can be found @ www.tiburon-tv.com and will be shown in the days to come.
According to Jörn Hartwig, co-founder, fellow partner and CEO of D-LABS.com, the whole thing is a big failure: „Every day you make lots of mistakes – it starts with how to structure the company and goes on with how to acquire customers. The failures are getting smaller, but they are still failures...“, Jörn finds and adds „it’s a good thing, because it’s the only way you learn and it’s important not to be afraid of making mistakes. It’s important to like your business and above all – to have fun!“ Founded in 2006, D-LABS – meaning Design Laboratories - has its main offices in Potsdam, Germany. The company provides design services for the IT-industry: „D-LABS wants to involve the end user from the very beginning“, says Jörn, „we have to understand their needs, validate concepts with them and then take care of the software part. The idea is to bring design from the outside to the inside of the software and not the other way round.“ This kind of design thinking is tought in the Hasso Plattner Institute School of Design Thinking, located in D-LABS’ neighborhood. As one of the students of Hasso Plattner Institute, Jörn was chosen when Hasso Plattner looked for students who were able to found a company: „It was like a casting for a boygroup“, remembers Jörn, „we were pretty good in singing.“ Before founding D-LABS, „the final boygroup“ had the chance to learn from the SAP Design Services Team, look at the processes of IDEO and go to the famous d.school at Stanford Institute of Design. From the very beginning, D-LABS had to provide all companies within Hasso Plattner Ventures with design services, so they started to work with Inchron, FACTON, SAP and others. Today, D-LABS has 30 employees and „uncountable external“ clients from midsize to big companies. After all, not such a big failure? ;) Please also watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of HPV, in order to learn more about Hasso Plattner Ventures. More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures will be shown in the days to come @ www.tiburon-tv.com
Philipp Bouteiller is COO at sMeet.com and one of its co-founders. Like Second Life and Habbo Hotel, sMeet is a „social virtual world, where you can meet with your friends, meet new people, entertain yourself, watch videos and follow lifestreams.“ It’s a very simple and intuitive solution – „you just open your browser and there you go“, says Philipp, who loves Second Life himself, but finds it „very complex and more for geeks“. He adds „sMeet is Flash-based, not so comic-like and has a slightly older audience than our competitors.“ (Competitor Google Lively has been shut down at the end of 2008. There are several blogs covering the demise like Virtual World Watch, educational development center or Picking Up Sticks.) sMeet’s basic equipment is for free so its main driver for money is vanity: „The moment you want to dress up nicely or furnish your room a little bit more elaborate“ says Philipp, „you have to pay“. The company has built the virtual world for „Deutschland sucht den Superstar“ - the „American Idol“ Format - based on an „exciting“ cooperation with RTL Television. „In 2009, we want to become even more attractive and sign new TV stations“, adds Philipp. Right now, sMeet has around ½ million users and is growing very fast, reaching break-even at the end of the year. Philip points out that the „recession affects sMeet in a positive way. As a parent you have to entertain your kids. Either you spend $20 for cinema tickets or $5 for new clothing for your kids in the virtual world where they can entertain themselves for hours. Also, sMeet is about interaction and learning in a controlled environment.“ sMeet is one of the companies financed by Hasso Plattner Ventures, „an extremely supportive and loyal“ investor. Philipp finds that „particularly in crisis times, it’s good to have a strong and independent partner.“ But according to Philipp „recession also means that a lot of talent is coming on to the market, so it’s good for us. We are always looking for talent, especially in creative design. The best value right now would be to have a very strong art director.“ With regard to starting a company, Philipp advises: “Go out there and do it quick!“ As Viktoria puts it „go and run and have fun“ ;) In order to learn more about Hasso Plattner Ventures, please watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of HPV, which has been shot at the SIME event in Stockholm in November, 2008. More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures will be shown in the days to come @ www.tiburon-tv.com
Inchron GmbH is providing solutions for the development of real-time critical embedded software and networks, that is it provides software developers with tools that enable them to predict the real-time behavior early in the development process. It thereby helps them to save time and money. Uwe Brodtman, Managing Director Sales & Marketing at Inchron since 2007, explains that embedded systems occur in all aspects of life, i.e. in cars or mobile phones: „With 50-60 control units in a car, it is full of embedded systems. We make sure things happen in time, i.e. if you slam the break of your car.“ Inchron has been founded in 2003 in cooperation with the University of Erlangen, Germany. Two years later, they had their first pilot customers. In 2006, Hasso Plattner Ventures became aware of Inchron’s technology, made its investment and asked the company to move to Potsdam. Uwe points out: „The founders of Inchron had entrepreneurial spirit. They wanted to turn their research results to the market.“ So is it really true that there are lots of brilliant German researchers and developers but little entrepreneurial spirit (remember the history of the fax machine which has been invented in Germany but turned to the market in Japan)? „I think you have to have a certain talent for that“ says Uwe, „but like with sports you can definitely train it and you can get motivated. I think that is something universities should work on: To bring the stories of successful entrepreneurs to their students and motivate them to become entrepreneurs. I’m sure there may be people who can be motivated if they only get in touch with the right people and the right stories.“ He adds: „It is crucial to get people on board with a) the spirit and b) the experience. I would suggest that universities bring together these different people from different faculties to motivate founding of companies.“ Today, Inchron’s core customers are in the automotive sector. Facing the recession, Uwe points out that right now „Inchron is experiencing the effect of growing awareness of the benefits of its solutions.“ He thinks that „that force is stronger than the force of the recession and budget cuts“ So far Inchron has still been growing and Uwe is „pretty optimistic about growing in 2009 as well.“ Still, he wishes for awareness of what Inchron is doing in other industries. His piece of advice for starting a company is: „If you do have a technology, give a lot of thought to the question ‚How does the customer really benefit? How does he solve the problem today?’. That is something you have to crack! People are reluctant of using new technologies because it means risk. Make sure you have a complete working solution.“ In order to learn more about Hasso Plattner Ventures, please watch Viktoria’s interview with Eran Davidson, President and CEO of HPV, which has been shot at the SIME event in Stockholm in November, 2008. More videos related to Hasso Plattner Ventures will be shown in the days to come @ www.tiburon-tv.com