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Founder of the Month September: franzkann* Herbold and Herrmann GbR

franzkann_Logo_160With its product termed m!Qbe, franzkann* offers a new system to control lighting. A decorative cube hereby functions as a “switch”. By simply rotating the cube, the light atmosphere can easily be adjusted – light color and dimming level can be regulated. In addition to manual control, certain lighting modes can also be predefined and set at will. We interviewed the team on the idea behind franzkann*, its founding period, and future prospects.


Team von franzkann*

The founding team: Chris Herbold and Dr. Franzi Herrmann

What does your company stand for?

franzkann* is all about innovative lighting. Modern lighting technologies offer numerous options to personalize lighting in homes. The franzkann* team hereby develops simple and intuitive controls for the everyday use. These are more versatile compared to conventional switches and are at the same time faster and easier to use than a smartphone app for lighting control.

The m!Qbe is the first product from franzkann* that makes it incomparably easy to control the lights at home. With its six sides, the cube offers six different light functions that can easily be selected by simply rotating over to the corresponding side. Predefined favorite modes as well as the manual regulation of the light colors and brightness are hereby possible. The lighting control is therefore made extremely easy and with a lot of fun.

m!Qbe zur Steuerung von Licht

m!Qbe for lighting control

Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?

At the kitchen table with grandma, because she was quite impressed by the colorful lighting of our new LED lamps. However, it quickly became clear that the operation was too sophisticated for the everyday use. This is how the idea of a new lighting switch came to be and the first prototype was thus not far away.

How did your founding team come together?

Through the passion for light. We are both research workers at the Light Technology Institute at the KIT and deal with different topics in lighting technology. Franzi deals with measurement technology whereas Chris is in the LED system development field. Our team is nonetheless not entirely complete because we are currently still looking for support for the business part.

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

The freedom and independence. The unbound implementation of ideas, the independent development of concepts, and the individual way of working are simply fun. Especially when, at the end, you have a finished product that reaps enthusiastic and positive feedback. Of course one must also be personally responsible, but it is totally worth it.

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

Optimism and passion are very important. As a result, one gets the motivation required to always work with enthusiasm. Here, total commitment is also often required, which hence calls for some bit of endurance.

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

We are still on the way, but thanks to the great support, all the previous hurdles have remained to be fairly small. From a technical point of view, we can always count on our professor and when it comes to start-up business issues, one always finds the appropriate contact partner within the KIT Founders’ Forge team. We hope that this remains the same in the future and that no insurmountable hurdles arise.

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


We reduced time for other things and had to work the night away in some cases. But basically, the timing works out quite well since we are able to plan quite flexibly. However, we do not expect the workload to reduce anytime in the future.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

Get going! Everything else will come on its own…

Quick overview:

  • Founders: Dipl.-Ing. Chris Herbold, Dr.-Ing. Franzi Herrmann
  • Founded in: 2013
  • Homepage: www.franzkann.de
  • Contact: team@franzkann.de
  • Fields: Electrical Engineering, Precision Mechanics & Optics
Beleuchtungssystem m!Qbe mit m!Charger und m!Base

m!Qbe lighting system with m!Charger and m!Base

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