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Founder of the Month February: PARALUTION Labs UG

Paralution Labs UG develops and sells its software PARALUTION, a software library for parallel calculation of sparsely populated linear equations. The software is hardware independent and thus gives inexperienced programmers the chance to use the newest research architectures. In addition to the development and sales of the software, the startup also offers services in the fields of “mathematics” and “parallel algorithms.” In an interview, we asked the team of Paralution Labs about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.

The founding team of PARALUTION: Nico Trost and Dimitar Lukarski (f.l.)

What does your company stand for?

PARALUTION Labs as a technology startup stands for innovation and expertise regarding applied mathematics and parallel algorithms on state-of-the-art hardware as used for instance in high-performance data centers. Our company is especially characterized by the philosophy of user-friendliness and the generic application of our solutions. This way, we enable the application of the most modern accelerators such as graphic cards for our customers, without requiring special programming skills. A special emphasis is placed on the area of fluid mechanics, electromagnetic interactions, as well as solidity calculation. PARALUTION offers special solvers that can directly be used for customer-specific and widespread simulation packages, contributing to the acceleration of the solution of time-critical problems.

Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?

The startup history began with the development of the PARALUTION Library in Sweden. As part of a postdoc position, the free software under GPL license was created, motivated by scientific work. In the time that followed, the public awareness of PARALUTION grew in academic circles, awakening the interest of several companies including many renowned hardware manufacturers who we today have won as partners. Finally, the interest of the industry motivated us considerably to venture the step to company foundation.

How did your founding team come together?

The founding team of PARALUTION Labs consists of two mathematicians, Dr. Dimitar Lukarski and Nico Trost. We got to know each other during our time at KIT. While Dimitar Lukarski obtained his doctoral degree, he supervised my diploma thesis. Luckily, we remained in touch over the years and exchanged thoughts about current projects. Thus, it was easy for Dimitar to spark my enthusiasm for his project of a business startup.

What would you say are the benefits of being your own boss?

It’s great to see your own ideas grow, steered by your visions, and to be able to design your workday flexibly.

What do you think are the properties that one should have to be a successful entrepreneur?

The team needs discipline, ambition, and enthusiasm. It should live for its ideas and be able to identify with them. Additionally, it shouldn’t be afraid of new and unforeseeable situations, but it should bear them in mind as necessary. Dimitar and I complement each other perfectly in these areas.

What would you term as the hurdles on the way to a successful business? Where did you get support?

As we both have a scientific background, if wasn’t easy for us to overcome the challenges of bureaucracy. Startup, taxes, laws – these are all things that we had never had to deal with before. In doing so, the CIE of the KIT was of big help. We especially want to emphasize the upCAT program of the KIT, which contributed crucially to our understanding of entrepreneurship. You also shouldn’t underestimate the informative discussions with other founders at the founders’ BBQ.

How did you deal with the large workloads during start-up?

Flexibly designing our workdays was an enormous help. We also had some lead-time to prepare for the startup. Thus, we were able to plan our procedure and the next steps very well.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Test your hypotheses as soon as possible! Discuss your business model with other founders – cue ‘founders’ BBQ’! Otherwise, always look out for what is going on at the CIE, become informed about funding, catalysts, and other things early.

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