Founder of the month: FORMIC
Founder of the month
This month, we introduce you to the KIT spin-off FORMIC Transportsysteme. In industry, it is the task of lift trucks or forklifts to transport and move large plants or heavy machinery. FORMIC is developing this technology further and has invented a modular transport system that can lift and safely move loads weighing several tons in a coordinated manner, regardless of size and weight - operated by just one person.
What does your company stand for?
Formic stands for universally applicable and easy-to-operate transport systems with which loads weighing tons and bulky loads can be moved easily.
Where and how did you come up with the idea to found the company?
In industry, we have repeatedly encountered the problem that machines have to be moved or sometimes even just moved a small distance. Today, this often involves a lot of improvisation and muscle power. We were of the opinion that this had to be done better.
How did the founding team come together?
The contact came about through our professors at the time. Our institutes are actually only 50m apart and work closely together anyway, but in this case it was the heads of the institutes, Professor Fleischer and Furmans, who made contact after the initial idea.
Where do you see the hurdles in the founding process? Where did you get support?
For the formal foundation, many interests had to be reconciled. Here it was worthwhile to exchange ideas with other founders in advance, especially from KIT, and to get tips for the concrete problems of the foundation. Be it property rights, shareholder agreement or other topics.
Did the energy crisis and/or the Ukraine war have an impact on your start-up?
Many components that we buy in have become significantly more expensive and often have very long or even indefinite delivery times. That sometimes throws the project planning into disarray. Sometimes you can find remaining stock somewhere, but often you just have to wait.
What qualities do you think a founder should have?
Perseverance, basic knowledge of the market and, in the case of technological start-ups, technical expertise.
Do you have any practical tips for other young entrepreneurs?
You should take advantage of the many offers for founders in the university environment – in Karlsruhe there is really good support and many like-minded people. And then just do it.
What would you perhaps do differently from today’s perspective?
“Fail fast” is easy to say. But when you develop complex hardware, it’s often not that easy to implement. Here you should always question yourself with your own prototypes, whether it is not also for the first a little easier and thus even faster.
What are your plans for the future? What are your next big milestones?
Now that we’ve founded the company, we’ll be working on making our system more widely known on the market. At the same time, we are putting our vehicles through their paces so that nothing stands in the way of our product launch.
Benedikt and Maximilian answered our questions in the current PODCAST episode “Foundation of the Month”.
Have fun listening!