On the Transmetrics blog we want to engage opinion leaders from the logistics industry into the discussion about important aspects and trends in the industry. Our first attempt at doing so is this interview with one of the industry champions – Dirk Reich, that I had a pleasure of conducting. Dirk Reich is an active board member of Panalpina, Inc. and LSG Group, a member of Advisory Board of Transmetrics, a former CEO of Cargolux Airlines and a former management board member of Kuehne + Nagel. He has already founded two successful companies: R+R International Aviation which offers strategic advice in the fields of e-commerce and logistics in China and Log-Hub which is a marketplace platform for sharing warehouse capacity.
In this interview, Dirk shared his views on the different challenges of various transport modes, the potential of predictive analytics to resolve inefficiencies in the industry, and his wisdom on many other interesting topics.
So far, we’ve taken a look at startup scenes in both Europe and the US. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure, but let’s take it to a deeper level and take a dip into a completely different culture: SINGAPORE! With several startups in Singapore that have gotten multi-million-dollar funding, Singapore’s well on its way to becoming the South East Asian Silicon Valley! Thanks to serious startup fever going around, coupled with a nation’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and booming venture-capital industry, there’s greatness to expect from the city state. So, lets discover the strengths, weaknesses and special powers of Singapore as a tech startup hub!
We continue with an in-depth look at the trend of robotics and AI! Today, let’s turn to another fascinating startup story, this time in a field undergoing sweeping developments – especially when it merges with educational technology (EdTech): our Spanish CODE_n alumnus Aisoy Robotics. Aisoy creates “emotional entertainment robots” that are changing the way people play, learn, discover, and have fun. Will they revolutionize the education industry by getting robots to teach children – not only in terms of knowledge acquisition but also emotional intelligence? Learn more in this interview with Aisoy Robotics and its founder and CEO, José Manuel del Río.
Today we catch up with a really exciting technology startup which has been a member of the CODE_n community since 2013: EcoChain from lovely Amsterdam! EcoChain embarked on its journey with CODE_n as a finalist of the global startup CODE_n CONTEST. Its motto was “smart solutions for global challenges” and in keeping with this idea, EcoChain pitched a business model with every intention of changing the world. Its idea revolved around a new and innovative life cycle analysis method that would enable companies to maintain a sustainable supply chain.
While smart factories and smart homes are slowly becoming everyday life, technology has also entered the food industry. But what’s awaiting us? How will the restaurant industry look like in the near future and how will technology affect our nutrition? Take a look at the food trends 2017 – and discover how this industry and restaurants will be transformed by digitization!
Making home automation possible for everyone – that was the idea the Finnish startup Cozify presented as one of our 50 CODE_n Finalists at CeBIT 2015. A wireless smart hub, easy to set-up, use and expand, that would connect smart devices from different manufacturers into one seamlessly working entitiy. Back then we were convinced that the young company would do just great. 10 months later we met the team at WebSummit in Dublin and are more than happy to share the latest developments with you:
Following on from your time as a CODE_n Finalist, what have been Cozify’s greatest achievements?
Antti Vihavainen, Business Developer, Cozify
Antti Vihavainen: During the CeBit, Cozify didn’t have a commercially available product, but we promised to start shipping in two weeks. We kept our promise and delivered the Cozify Hub to all people who had preordered. As it was the first version, it was essential that we had perfected the update mechanism so that end users didn’t need to do anything to receive the latest version of our firmware and the Cozify App.
In summer 2015 we experimented with various value propositions, marketing messages and price points. We also kept on adding new supported devices to the lineup. It was a bit of a surprise to note that the price was a much less significant factor than the wide range of support for the legacy smart home devices.
And the media picked up on that?
Antti Vihavainen: Yes, Cozify has been featured by several Finnish media companies. We were in the biggest car and technology TV show and most recently there was an article in the biggest technical magazine in Scandinavia. All of this has increased our credibility in a way that our sales in the home market have grown to a very satisfying level.
We have done joint marketing with a major electronics retailer in Finland, and noticed that the conversion rate is good enough for maintaining a sustainable business model.
We have continuously worked with international channel partners and are moving from trials and pilots for business as usual towards the beginning of 2016. Obviously our task is to copy and improve on the progress we made in Finland.
In our first interview with parkpocket, Karoline Bader, CFO of the future mobility startup, told us all about their initial idea and vision. A lot has happened since then: the team backing siblings Karoline and Stefan Bader worked hard; parkpocket celebrated a product relaunch today. Originally based in Munich, they grew immensely and recently opened a second office in Stuttgart, located in the CODE_n SPACES. This goes hand-in-hand with even bigger news: GFT, the initiator behind CODE_n, has invested in the startup once selected as finalist for the CODE_n15 CONTEST.
Around half a million – that’s the amount GFT invested in the startup with the parking solution; however, the bond between the young company and its investor goes beyond money. Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT and CODE_n initiator, believes that the parkpocket solution “will solve a very essential issue. An issue that millions of people face on a daily basis.” To Stefan Bader, CEO of parkpocket, Ulrich Dietz has taken on the role of a mentor: “For us, GFT is a partner and advisor, rather than just an investor,” he says. The relationship is also special in the sense that, while GFT has acquired quite a few firms in the past, this is its very first startup investment.
Embedded into the CODE_n Ecosystem
With the opening of an office in the CODE_n SPACES, parkpocket is automatically embedded into the CODE_n Ecosystem – even more so now than they were before. Although CODE_n has been set up as an international startup initiative, bringing in partners and know-how from all over the globe, being based in the CODE_n SPACES Stuttgart means: being close to Baden-Wuerttemberg’s strong industrial environment. As a future mobility startup, parkpocket will definitely be benefiting from the fact that the automotive industry is literally right around the corner.
Massive Analytic, a pioneer in Artifical Precognition, was one of CODE_n’s finalists in 2014 and has come on leaps and bounds since its time with us in Hanover. In our next part of the CODE_n Alumni catch-up series, we talked to CEO George Frangou about the young company’s most important learnings and greatest achievements (like building a relationship with Microsoft) since then.
Following on from your time as a CODE_n finalist, what have been Massive Analytic’s greatest achievements?
George Frangou: I would say our greatest achievement has been the launch of Oscar AP on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace in June of this year. Our technology is now available for purchase. It’s exciting to be building that relationship with Microsoft. We’re also proud of our entry to the Lockheed Martin Virtual Technology Cluster. Getting both of those endorsements have been great for us.
What lessons have you learned or failures you’ve experienced and how have you coped with them?
George Frangou: The key lessons we have learned over the last year is to get our product messaging right. Often it is easy to be passionate about the product and describe it in a manner that does not resonate with the target audience. We were able to set that right on the back of our involvement in CODE_n and the client engagements that followed immediately.
What were your biggest takeaways from your time at CODE_n?
George Frangou: The biggest takeaway from CODE_n for me was seeing how many young innovative companies there are doing different and exciting things. It was great to share experiences and inspiring to see what’s going on. More…