Five questions to Hamburg's Voids start-up
Jannik Semmelhaack and Tobias Wandersleb, the founders of Voids, have developed software that allows e-commerce companies to predict demand. That gives them greater scope to proactively manage their revenue, growth and profitability. The company, which was spun off from the University of Hamburg, has benefitted from Hamburg's many funding schemes for start-ups.
Hamburg News: How did your business idea come about?
Voids: There was never an "aha" moment and the process was indeed quite lengthy. Tobias and my own professional stints, e.g., at Philips and Deloitte, revealed both the problems faced by the companies that we help today and possible solutions. Later, we validated both through customer contact with over 100 companies.
Hamburg News: How did you start up and who supported you?
Voids: The founding was completed last September 2022. The beyourpilot team offered us great support as well as the marketing department around our mentor Prof. Dr. Michel Clement, who helped us to apply successfully for the EXIST start-up grant. Of course, there were many other mentors, friends and family who all left their mark on the start-up process. Lastly, the team behind Annette Wurl and Pia Schlemmer of IFB Hamburg was especially helpful, as we obtained a grant of more than EUR 150,000 from Hamburg's Inno-Ramp-Up funding scheme.
Hamburg News: What were the biggest hurdles to founding your company?
Voids: Tobias and I are both perfectionists. We wanted to do everything right at first. But that's the exact opposite of being fast. We have gone through this learning process a few times since last year and are now much better at making quick decisions and heeding the 80/20 principle in our decisions and operational activities.
Hamburg News: Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Voids: ...significantly closer to our goal of helping around 3,000 medium-sized e-commerce brands generate over EUR 1 billion in additional annual profits by 2030.
Hamburg News: Do you have any tips for other founders?
Voids: It is and remains a roller coaster. Certainly, one big lesson was that as a founder, getting too emotional about ups and downs is not good. "Dulling down" emotionally helps you to protect yourself. Of course, you can celebrate the successes, but that mentality helps keep a clear head, especially in tough times.
Interview by Charles Sinn, Co-ordinator Content Management at Hamburg Innovation in co-operation with Hamburg News.
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