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Founders of the month June: Selfbits GmbH

Selfbits_LogoSelfbits GmbH has developed a cloud-based service in the field of knowledge management, a backend-as-a-service solution. It facilitates the fast and uncomplicated development of mobile business applications. Customers of Selfbits GmbH will no longer need to worry about a complicated, complex server infrastructure and get to save time and money as a result. We have interviewed the Selfbits team on their idea, the foundation of their company and their future perspective.

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The founding team of Selfbits: Oliver Kuppler, Klaus Welle (f. l.)

What does your company stand for?

Selfbits allows small and medium-sized companies to digitalise their business processes and make them available on mobile platforms – all in a fast and efficient way. Thanks to our backend-as-a-service solutions, our customers can launch mobile applications without their own infrastructure and at a drastically reduced development effort. This includes mobile apps for customers and employees, and applications for IoT systems. If required, additional modules can be added, which allow users to access data from third-party providers or carry out data analyses in a few simple clicks.

Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?

During our studies, we spent a lot of time exploring the topics of cloud computing, service-oriented computing and data mining. It was during the same time that the number of publicly available APIs (data interfaces) and the availability of smartphones and IoT devices increased drastically. The potential of these technologies convinced us and we experimented a lot. We saw an opportunity for creating value by making it easier for companies to use these systems. During the period in which we received the EXIST Founders’ Grant, our business idea became more concrete. Rather than a “spark of inspiration”, it was more of a process.

How did your founding team come together?

Klaus and I met at KIT when we started our degree courses. Over the course of our studies, we spent a lot of time together, both at university and in private. We developed the idea together. The different skills and interests that each of us contributed to our company have been especially decisive.

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

We can utilise our resources freely, especially our time. Unlike large companies, we are small and agile. This allows as to react quickly to new market demands. In terms of our equipment, we can choose a “Greenfield” approach and use state-of-the-art technology, which is hardly possible in larger companies on account of their existing systems and slow development cycles. This is precisely where we see an opportunity for gaining competitive advantages.

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

A team spirit, the ability to work under pressure and a clear idea of your own goals, values and wishes in addition to the technical abilities that help the team achieve its goals.

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

The “standard recipe” applies: A company is successful if a functioning team can acquire customers by implementing a plausible business model at the right time within a growing market. The most important partner and supporter in this endeavour is always the customer. Customers provide the most honest, sometimes brutally honest, feedback. Getting them on board is particularly difficult if you are a recently established company. It takes endurance and persuasiveness. Talking to as many experienced people from the start-up scene as possible has helped us a lot. The CyberForum, CIE and events such as the entrepreneurs’ barbecue (Gründergrillen) are great places for networking. They are very useful for getting honest feedback from experienced players.

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

 

If everything goes well, the amount of work within a company does not decline – quite the contrary. We had to make a long-term plan for dealing with the growing workload without harming ourselves and, by extension, the company. In our view, the only way of achieving this is by organising your tasks strictly and efficiently and adhering to clearly defined periods of rest. This means in concrete terms: prioritise the right tasks, rigorously cut out unnecessary work, and spend your weekends with your partner, friends or family to clear your mind.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Be critical. Keep asking yourself and others that favourite question of all children: “why?” Why do I want to establish a company? Why should anyone use my product? Why would anyone pay for it? Once you answer the “why”, the “how” and its implementation often tend to answer themselves.

Quick overview:

 

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