The latest co-working space in Hamburg, HK 100 opened with a bang on Thursday (May 9, 2019) thanks to Bernd Melcher, Board Member of Kravag-Sach Versicherung des Deutschen Kraftverkehrs VaG, who had brought the confetti pistol from Silicon Valley. The logistics co-working space in Hammerbrook is now home to four start-ups and gives them access to spatial and technical infrastructure as well as events, pitch opportunities, workshops and a personal mentor as part of a six-month support programme.
Viable new business models
Against the background of digitization, logistics is also facing radical change. Melcher is keen to pave the way for innovative ideas and to support promising start-ups. “But we also want to learn,” he stressed. “Where is the journey going? How are the markets developing? Which new business models are viable, which are no longer feasible? Close co-operation with the start-ups will allow Kravag wants to stay close to the pulse of current future developments.
Changing the world with crazy ideas
Each start-up presented their business models for conquering the future in precise 100-second pitches. The first start-up was presented by Bojidar Dimitrov of Mvp2Day, which is targeting potential founders “with crazy ideas for changing the world but without digital know-how.” Mvp2Day can come up with a first version of the required technology in 30 days. The second start-up Sirum GmbH provides a web-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) service and targets small and mid-sized logistics companies without IT infrastructure. “Our system has a modular structure. This is how we grow with our customers and their challenges,” said Michael Hoette, Chief Operating Officer at Sirum.
Recycling heroes and emergency logistics
The third start-up Recyclehero has added a social aspect to its “last mile” pick-up service for waste paper, waste glass and returnable bottles. The company hires both unemployed people and refugees and offers them a network at the same time. “Collections are done using cargo bikes. We have just launched a crowd funding campaign to equip our heroes with electric cargo bikes,” said Alessandro Cocco, co-founder. Lastly, Christian Wolff presented the Priojet Logistics, a platform that provides emergency logistics for companies with very urgent transport needs. Whether a spare part for a machine, an aircraft or documents has to be delivered, “we are faster than classic express services,” Wolff promised.
Smart tips for long-term success
But no matter how clever the idea is, not every start-up is successful. The average lifetime of a start-up is only 2.7 years. Dr. Markus Kreipl, CEO of Shipcloud, gave the four start-ups tips for long-term success. Shipcloud is now well established on the market with cloud-based logistics software. “Always collect money before it’s needed,” Kreipl stressed as it is often too late for financing when the money is needed. Choosing the right investor is the next decisive question. “Listen around, is the investor reliable? After all, you will be tied to your investor for many years to come.” The contract is another minefield as the commissioned lawyers are often expensive and may be biased towards solvent investors.
Have no fear of smart people
The temptation to opt for a short, three-page summary rather than working through confusing, lengthy contract is often great. “But ensure that everything is well regulated in your contract,” Kreipl warned. Otherwise, there could be nasty surprises in store when selling a company. And when hiring employees, he advised: “Don’t be afraid of people who are smarter or different than you. The biggest mistake you can make is to hire people who are like you. When smart people come aboard: Give up responsibility. You will perish if you can’t.” Kreipl also advised the start-ups to share both responsibility and the company itself to an extent. “It’s always a good idea to involve your employees.”
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