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Founder of the Month September: OPASCA GmbH

OPASCA Logo_180OPASCA has specialized in the development of intelligent, sensor-based systems and solutions for environment detection. On the basis of a diverse and flexible platform concept, customer-tailored solutions are realized in the areas of person and object detection for a large range of applications. The technology is used primarily in the field of radiotherapy. The focus lies on the wellbeing of patients and the support of the professional staff. In an interview, we asked the team of OPASCA about the idea, the startup time, and the future prospects.

Gründerteam von OPASCA: Dr. Timo Machmer, Steffen Liebscher und Dr. Alexej Swerdlow

Founderteam of OPASCA: Dr. Timo Machmer, Steffen Liebscher and Dr. Alexej Swerdlow

What does your company stand for?

Smart environments, ultramodern technology, and a culture of mutual appreciation!

The general business idea of OPASCA is the development and sales of new, integrated platform solutions for generating qualified knowledge about processes in any environments of nearly all complexity. On the basis of high-performance, multi-sensor detection and automatic real-time data evaluation, highly complex processes of the real world are transferred into a virtual machine world in just a few seconds. This enables, for instance in critical situations, to make a critical decision which can make a difference between life and death.

Today, OPASCA‘s unique know-how of sensor-based environment detection is primarily used in therapy facilities for treatment with ionizing radiation. The company has taken on the challenge of creating a safe and pleasant treatment atmosphere for cancer patients and other people receiving ionizing radiation therapy. This atmosphere at the same time assists professionals in a targeted manner. OPASCA Smart-EnvironmentRT particularly addresses the special requirements of everyday operations in radiotherapy for (patient) safety, workflow management, and patient-centered treatment procedures – the actual technology falls into the background, while the benefits for the user are always in the foreground.

Where and how did you get this brilliant idea?

The initial idea for the startup of an own business arose during the doctoral studies of Dr.-Ing. Timo Machmer and Dr.-Ing. Alexej Swerdlow at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). From the start, it was important for the founders to connect the development of a highly innovative technology seamlessly with the development of a market-oriented product. Today’s business success is due to the early creation and independent cultivation of an entirely new market for a highly innovative product with a high added value as well as continuous, value-based development on the basis of cooperation with the user.

How did your founding team come together?

The paths of the OPASCA founders crossed early on: Dr. Alexej Swerdlow and Dr. Timo Machmer got to know each other during their school days. Together, they mastered their diploma and their studies of computer engineering at the University of Mannheim. Finally, they both ended up at KIT where they enabled a humanoid robot to hear and see as part of the collaborative research area. Steffen Liebscher, a long-time friend of both, joined the young founders during his diploma thesis and completed the startup team. Since then, the three men form the management of OPASCA GmbH.

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

Since the startup, we are motivated to build a long-term high-tech company, with its production and especially its development firmly anchored in the economic location of Germany, and to establish and lead this company as a leader in technology and on the market. Setting new standards by straying from the prescribed paths in order to travel new ways is a central aspect of being your own boss and an essential opportunity to allow the startup personalities in each of us to fully develop.

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

Persuasion, endurance, and the willingness to develop! Both the product and the company must convince the market in order to not only create a successful beginning, but also be successful over time. Being sure of your product and your startup also convinces others and creates a basis of trust to build upon. A healthy willingness to take risks and the openness to grow with the daily challenges are fundamental factors that represent the best prerequisites for long-term success of your own company.

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

In the pre-startup phase, exchanging ideas with various experts from the field of startups as well as the approval of the EXIST Business Start-up Grant were essential contributions to the successful startup of the company. We consider the two main foci in the growth phase of a young business to be sufficient accrual of liquid assets at the right point in time and long-time engagements of qualified colleagues who design and carry business growth together with the founders. Early and strategically oriented business planning is our essential foundation, both for internal decisions and for dialog with experienced partners who accompany OPASCA on the path to the future.

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

Due to utterly trustworthy work among the three founders from the start, diverse tasks could be tackled and divided according to demand.

Do you have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?

We firmly believe that a special know-how is among the most crucial aspects for a successful business startup. For only a market-oriented unique selling point creates the monetary value of a company. Many business startups fail in this respect: They are either lacking the technical unique selling point or the technical unique selling point is the only thing the business startup is based on. Yet an own business with a long-term perspective is much more than just a brilliant idea…

Quick overview:

  • Founder: Dr. Alexej Swerdlow, Dr. Timo Machmer, Steffen Liebscher
  • Founded in: 2011
  • Homepage: www.opasca.com
  • Contact: kontakt@opasca.com
  • Fields: Software & information technology

Die OPASCA GmbH ist ein Beispiel dafür, wie Gründungsinteressierte von den Unterstützungsangeboten und der Beratung unserer Gründercoaches bei der Antragsstellung von Fördergeldern profitieren können. Hast auch du Interesse an der Umsetzung deiner Idee? Dann sprich uns an und vereinbare einen Kennenlerntermin mit uns.

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