Get out there and talk to your target group / customers

antavi: Manage your team in the field with higher efficiency and faster response

Please introduce yourself and your startup antavi to our readers!
We, Ulf Blanke and Sebastian Feese are the founders of antavi GmbH. Our company antavi is developing a mobile-based command and control platform that helps managers of public spaces to respond faster to incidents with a bird’s eye view on their personnel and the crowd. We are based in Switzerland and currently active in the German-speaking area (D/A/CH).

How did you get the idea to antavi?
It started as an academic research project investigating crowd behaviour on large scale events. Using smartphone sensors and a mobile app, we collected the user’s location, and aggregated the data from all users to crowd density and dynamics map. After we rolled out a research pilot at the Züri Fäscht in 2013, the biggest event in Switzerland, organizers, crowd managers, and police were able to immediately use our crowd behavior analysis. Detected hotspot were considered in the planning purpose, and made the edition in 2016 much safer. During that time we learned a lot about crowd management and identified specific demands across organizations. Over time, we were able to frame our technology into products impacting the practise of managing large events.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Certainly, one of the biggest challenges at the beginning was to translate a prototype into a robust product, with a technology choice that allows maintenance and extension. Another challenge – as with any first-of-a-kind project – was to identify a crystal-clear fit to a business to prepare the purchase decision. A good way was to communicate an intuition how our technology could help the business, then ask as many questions to operations or the workers in the field and then come back to management with a fleshed-out idea that prepared the decision.

Who is your target audience?
We work together with companies delivering security services to event organizers, as well as public authorities such as the city police or the fire department.

What is the USP of your startup?
Our secret sauce is the behavior capturing SDK which can be quickly integrated into any mobile app to record behavioral data on scale. We include all mobile sensors and machine learning to derive a precise activity profile. Our end-to-end instrumentation and data analytics service, allows us to tailor application-specific analytics. Thereby we can help business in different verticals such as crowd management, public transport or parcel, to understand human tasks and optimize.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Usually it is a mix of preparing product feature concepts, presentations, sourcing new customers, structuring deals with corporations, etc. The focus can change a bit depending on our phase. Now, during the holiday season, we focus on development, feature extensions and bug fixing. That includes guidance of our developers, as well, as ourselves to get hands on. And this overall mix is the beauty of it.

Where do you see yourself and your startup antavi in five years?
Within the next year we forecast a strong ramp up in customers for our mobile command and control platform ‘Ops App’. We see it as a standard application for any event requiring a command and control station. Events will be a part of our portfolio of smart city solutions. Within the coming years we will extend into other verticals of city management such as public transport, parcel or travel. And we already have leads in the pipeline to test our solutions.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Being at the start ourselves, we try to keep this in mind. First, keep a balanced skepticism about your ideas, but do not let it hold you back. Second, get out there and talk to your target group / customers. As a tech person – like we are – it is easy to dive into development and to lose sight of the business aspect to make it commercially work. Third, learn, but earn. In a startup you need to learn from your b2b customer, but try to get compensated for deliverables you bring – in some form. It is hard to sell first-of-a-kind technology, but if someone puts cash on the table, you are onto something, opposed to ‘show me and then maybe’.

More information you will find here

Thank you Ulf Blanke for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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