Foundation of the month: enabl
Founder of the month
What does your company stand for?
Our company enabl Technologies stands for software development, especially for the (partial) automation of vehicles. We develop a remote control system for forklifts to control them networked and independent of location. The solution of customer problems (wage costs and shortage of skilled workers) is always in the foreground for us.
Where and how did you come up with the bright idea to found the company?
We systematically searched for our way as a start-up based on our work as a team of working students. In doing so, we became aware of urgent problems in intralogistics through discussions with customers. From our experience in the field of automation, we came up with the idea of automating forklifts step by step, starting with a remote control system.
How did the founding team come together?
We worked as a team on SHARE at KIT at Schaeffler. Based on the research projects in the working student team, we wanted to find a market for the developed technology. We realized that it is difficult to find a suitable market through a technology push, which is why we subsequently concentrated primarily on customer problems. This resulted in completely new ideas. It was also important for us to continue working together as a team, and so we founded our own start-up.
Where do you see the hurdles in the founding process? Where did you get support?
A very important aspect is your own willingness to give everything for the company. Without this inner drive and the cohesion in the team, founding a company is very difficult. In addition, financing is of course a big hurdle. If you search systematically with patience, the idea will come by itself. You just have to be open enough to pursue not your own ideas, but the customer’s problem.
What was one of your biggest challenges during the start-up phase?
As a start-up, we were/are not funded with public money or by investors, so funding has been our biggest challenge. Through a consulting/services business, we have still managed to fund our company so far and plan to find investors in the coming months.
Has Corona had an impact on your startup/industry so far and if so, what?
Through Corona, we were forced as working students to stop our hands-on development work and focus on customer problems and the market. This constraint was very helpful for us, as it taught us a lot about other areas that are very important for startups. In our industry, intralogistics, the Corona pandemic has left rather a positive impact. However, the fluctuations in the economy, as well as the uncertainty is rather harmful for our innovative ideas.
What qualities do you think a founder should have?
As a founder, you should be prepared to constantly develop yourself and your own ideas. Only a few are successful with their original idea. Learning new things and discarding your own views and ideas while keeping calm is part of everyday life. What we learned early on: “Don’t fall in love with your idea but with the customer’s problem. “In addition, a high level of resilience and enthusiasm are a basic requirement.
Do you have any practical tips for other young entrepreneurs?
Choose your team very well. Of course, the existing skills are important, but it is much more important that you always stick together as a team. Test your idea as early as possible by talking directly to potential customers and experts from the industry.
What would you perhaps do differently from today’s perspective?
We would certainly look more intensively for public funding, because the range is very broad. We were not sufficiently well informed at the beginning.
What are your plans for the future? What are your next major milestones?
We are planning two major milestones this year. First, further development of our product for use on our customers’ factory floors. Second, we have the goal of being able to attract partners and investors with the help of our constantly evolving business plan.
Thank you for answering the questions!
Want to listen to the podcast? Then listen in to the current episode at the foundation of the month with enabl.