Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Focus is key!

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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.

Breeze Technologies: We provide our customers with what we call environmental intelligence

Please introduce yourself and your Startup Breeze Technologies to our readers!
I am Robert Heinecke, co-founder and CEO of Breeze Technologies. We provide our customers with what we call “environmental intelligence”: We develop and deploy air quality sensors for indoor and outdoor applications, collect their real-time data in a centralized cloud platform and analyse it in real time. Based on that data we recommend interventions to improve local air quality.

How did you get the idea to Breeze Technologies?
Back in the winter of 2014 I was writing my master’s thesis while working in a consultancy in Istanbul. Istanbul is one of the cities that can suffer from a peculiar weather phenomenon during the cold seasons: atmospheric inversion. This causes the regular air exchange in a city to slow down or stop: smog accumulates. On some days, the air pollution was so bad that you could not even see the buildings on the other side of the street anymore. This motivated me – there must be some way technology could help to make our cities cleaner and healthier. The idea for Breeze was born.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We were in the very lucky position that we started with the support of a European accelerator programme, SpeedUP! Europe, in February 2015. Through this program we had access to a limited amount of funding to setup our company and develop first prototypes, as well as lectures and mentors supporting us in our first steps in the startup world.

I believe the biggest challenge to be perseverance. As a newly-founded startup there is no “good enough”. You are working on a hundred things at the same time that are often equally necessary and important. You always need to keep working on becoming better and never stop moving forward.

Who is your target audience?
With our B2B solution we target corporates that are actively trying to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees in their workplace. Additionally, we provide our solutions to administrations of smart cities. In the end, every single employee or citizen profits – by breathing cleaner air and living a healthier life.

What is the USP of your startup?
I believe that Breeze is in an excellent position in several areas: We have a very strong network of international partners and supporters that allow us to be much more relevant on an international scale than a startup could usually expect. Our technology is similarly unique – thanks to our cloud platform low-cost air quality sensors provide become viable for professional applications for the first time. We have an agile, well-rounded team that I am proud of working with. All of this together, I am sure, makes Breeze overcome all obstacles and our company a long-term success.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I really do not have a typical workday. As CEO, I visit a lot of potential partners and customers, handle press inquiries, manage our finances, develop the company strategy and plan according measures with our team. Especially business development and customer acquisition mean that I am travelling a lot. It is therefore very important to me to stay connected with my team, using tools like Slack, Skype, Trello and so on. And I am happy about every day I can spend at the office working directly with our great team.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Breeze Technologies in five years?
Myself, I am hopefully still the CEO of our company (laughs). My tasks will have changed, though. We are currently a very small team. This means that everybody has a lot of responsibilities. I am looking forward to giving up those that I am not the very best at to somebody more qualified; such as accounting and liquidity management to an excellent CFO.

As for Breeze Technologies, five years is a lot of time. We see ourselves as the market leader in real time air quality monitoring in Europe and one international expansion market. We are still evaluating which one. In the future, we will also be evaluating what other solutions and services we can provide in the environmental sensing and analytics market.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
That’s easy: Experimentation, focus and – again – perseverance.

As an entrepreneur, you have some idea of what problem you are trying to solve and how you solve it – but this idea is very often not the complete truth. So, don’t work on a product for months or years before showing it to a customer. Rather build a very basic MVP, get it to a potential client and talk with them about it. What challenge are they trying to solve with it? Would your product be a good solution for their problem? What could be better? And so on.

Secondly, every time you are thinking about adding a task to your to-do list you should also think about whether this really helps your business. Focus is key. Your team is most likely very small and your time is the most limited budget you are going to have – so use it as intelligently as possible.

And I already spoke about perseverance. As a founder, you are going to face a lot of hurdles you need to overcome. Especially as CEO it is key to keep yourself and your team motivated, doubly so in the face of failure.

Picture: Anne Gaertner

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Thank you Robert Heinecke for the Interview

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

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