LehrWerk UG offers teaching materials for tinkerers in the form of construction kits for schools, educational institutions, universities, and at home. The goal of the two founders Jonas Fuchs and Benedict Jux is to make complex systems understandable in a playful manner in order to transmit technical foundational knowledge more easily and quickly. Through direct interaction by touch and connecting components, the developed construction kits create a technical understanding that is often missing when you enter a career. In an interview, we asked the team of LehrWerk about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.
What does your company stand for?
As LehrWerk, we stand for enthusiasm for technology! We teach technology to students in such a comprehensible way that it creates a foundation. Students can use this in their everyday lives as well as their studies and careers. Haptics, technical understanding, and creativity are essential cornerstones.
Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?
Our experiences from studies, internships, and technical volunteer projects have shown us clearly that there are often deficits in both intuition and deeper understanding of mechanics. Back then, we already passed on the technical foundation skills to our fellow students and colleagues using the available machine components from our volunteer projects. Since this isn’t possible in schools, we develop age-appropriate models and additional work material.
How did your founding team come together?
During our studies, we intensively worked together for a longer time in student race car building (with the club KA-RaceIng) and there we discussed initial future project ideas. Curiosity for technology and teaching connects us. Already during our studies, through our practical experiences from extracurricular commitments and internships, we felt prepared to get first startup experiences.
What would you say are the benefits of being your own boss?
You pursue your own vision, make the relevant decisions, and see your own idea grow. Additionally, you consider your product and the related organizational aspects from all possible perspectives. All in all, there are many advantages and challenges, which of course also carry risks.
What do you think are the properties that one should have to be a successful entrepreneur?
Commitment, patience, motivation, and the willingness to do and to learn things that you hadn’t done before, and that aren’t actually directly part of your dream job. All of this and a business idea that you are passionate about bring you forward in large steps.
What would you term as the hurdles on the way to a successful business? Where did you get support?
Especially for product startups with manufacturing costs, the bootstrapping approach, with a tight budget and scarce resources, is one of the larger challenges, since, in addition to your head and laptop, you also have infrastructural and prototyping costs. In the early phases, we received valuable support especially by participating in contests and talking to experts. Especially from founders with a three to six-month “lead,” you gain valuable experiences and impulses. As part of funding programs, we also had the opportunity to work together with great mentors who introduced entirely new viewpoints.
How did you deal with the large workloads during start-up?
In the early phase, we received a lot of help from friends who tackled specific tasks with much energy and secured preparation for important dates. Especially in the early expert and amateur discussions, we were able to take away much encouragement and motivation in order to mobilize the efforts. Our startup phase isn’t entirely over yet. Thus, we still have a good workload ahead of us. But everything is working out well.
Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
Just do it. Initiate conversations with other fresh startups and discuss ideas, problems, and visions. Participating in competitions and funding programs especially moved us forward, as these allow you to present your business model to many people, receive feedback, and have new iterations tested immediately.