Heads up, companies involved in manufacturing! It’s like all the talk at the moment is of robotics and machine learning, especially when it comes to digitalization. So all the more reason for us to greet the latest new residents at CODE_n SPACES: TruPhysics! An AI/robotics startup from Stuttgart, TruPhysics is working on some amazingly revolutionary ideas – as its CEO Albert Groz reveals in a brief interview. It makes for some fascinating reading!
Settling in at CODE_n SPACES: The TruPhysics team joined us in April 2017. They’re driven by a business concept that’s a good fit with the innovation campus. (Photo: TruPhysics)
1. Hi Albert, and welcome to CODE_n SPACES! You just moved into your new offices in our SPACES. Tell us, what exactly is TruPhysics working on and what does your business idea have to do with digital solutions?
Hi, yeah, exactly, we just moved in a couple of days ago. I have to say we feel really at home already! This is quite a wellspring you have here :-). What we do at TruPhysics is software development, so we simulate virtual reality in real time, taking a whole bunch of physical and mechanical properties into account. This involves “universal connectivity” with common robot controls and CAD systems, but also multimedia output – so it opens the door to a whole slew of innovative application options in manufacturing and research, the sort of things that were previously inconceivable. In specific terms, what this means is we can set up things like testing environments that make it possible for robots to test certain processes or learn how those processes work before they’re put to use in the real world. An example of a usage scenario would be introducing a really delicate and expensive piece of hardware – before it goes live, we would test it first to prevent it from being handled the wrong way or anything getting damaged.
The idea of using robotics and machine learning for this can already be seen in a lot of research. That said, until now, aside from Google we’re the only company really working in this area and offering professional solutions for trade and industry. We do have this constant feeling that our idea’s still a long way off in the future for some people, but a number of our customers have now been won over by our solutions.
2. How did you first hear about CODE_n and what made you decide to come to the SPACES to move your startup forward?
We had a booth in Hall 16 at CeBIT in 2015. While we were there, I got to know Moritz [editor’s note: Moritz is in charge of CODE_n!]. We were looking for a good place to keep working on TruPhysics and it became obvious that CODE_n SPACES would be just right for us. We love the atmosphere here and there’s this palpable sense of drive. It really helps drive us forward with our business model. We got this feeling we could really spread our wings here. So we applied for an office in the SPACES and thankfully we got it :-).
3. What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome as an entrepreneur?
I’d already worked as a freelance consultant for some time, even before TruPhysics came along, so I was already an active part of the startup scene here in Stuttgart even before setting up my own company. I’ve always been fascinated by entrepreneurship! But until just a few years ago there was hardly anything around here like a network or startup community – there was no real startup spirit. Training or courses on business startups were also a pretty rare breed. That thwarted me quite a bit at the beginning but now things have started gathering momentum. There are some really good support formats, like CODE_n, and the startup community in Stuttgart is expanding continuously. Also, manufacturing’s strong in Stuttgart and now they’re starting to take the idea of digitalization seriously, so they’re really open to collaboration with up-and-coming startups. Stuttgart’s now a top location, especially for B2B startups.
4. If you could give new business founders or people thinking of setting up a business three tips, what would they be?
1) Find mentors, ones who help you move forward! That was extremely helpful for us, getting feedback and tips from people who’ve already got years of experience under their belt in things like team building.
2) Accept that there are sometimes fallow periods and don’t let them get to you! We were sometimes really in the doldrums and then often we found out that things were just about to pick up again. There are always times when things are difficult and more challenging, but things do get going again.
3) Work with friends and partners! Working with people I get on well with, like friends, has always been rewarding and given me that extra edge. Build a network of buddies and be content with giving without expecting anything back in return, especially at first.
5. And next – where do you see yourselves in five years?
I’m a workaholic so in the next five years I’d like to keep working hard with the rest of the TruPhysics team on making a success of the company. Our goal is to scale up and we’d be over the moon if we could get our headcount into the three-figure range by that time. What drives us isn’t money; it’s more about a passion to move one step forward every day, to master the challenges that come up along the way, to create something new.
Albert, thanks for those exciting insights! We wish you every success and are delighted to see you contributing so much to CODE_n SPACES and our community here!
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