Always staying true to your vision and strategy are major aspects in my opinion

Cumulocity IoT platform visualizing and analyzing data in real time

Please introduce yourself and your startup Cumulocity to our readers!
My name is Bernd Groß and I am CEO of Cumulocity, the leading independent IoT platform provider. I am from Dusseldorf and co-founded Cumulocity in 2012 after a management buyout from Nokia Siemens Networks. Prior to that, I led projects in the area of innovation management and technology implementation at Nokia Siemens Networks in Silicon Valley.

To be a bit more precise, Cumulocity is an IoT application enablement and device management platform, which allows customers to connect machines, vehicles, pumps, compressors or basically devices of any kind while visualizing and analyzing their data in real time. This enables clients to save costs of up to 50% in the short term and to introduce new business models in the long term.

How did you get the idea to Cumulocity?
We started looking at the main issues of IoT projects from the value chain point of view. Here it became clear that almost every part of the value chain depends to a large degree on price efficiency. Let’s take hardware to connect machines as an example – sensors, the connectivity costs, etc. – it all became affordable over time. In parts we observed over 30 percent of price erosion per year. However, the cost of the software components of the solutions were very stable. So, already in 2010 we decided to build a horizontal IoT platform to fundamentally reduce the software cost. We wanted to ensure that the same building blocks of a vertical IoT solution can be reused, e.g. in IoT device management. Additionally, this way the operational efficiency is introduced to the software solution as well.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Setting up the business was not too difficult and even gaining the trust of our venture capital partners was manageable – the biggest problem for us was winning our first customers as we have been very early to the market. In addition to that, brand marketing and basically all communication endeavors were hard as well.

Who is your target audience?
Our target audience consists of two parts: On the one hand we target companies that utilize the Cumulocity IoT platform as end users, on the other hand we aim at businesses that use our platform as a white label product. Those are for instance OEM partners, telco companies or service providers. An example for one of our clients that implemented our platform as a white label product is Deutsche Telekom with their ‘Cloud der Dinge’.

What is the USP of your startup?
In comparison to other IoT platforms, Cumulocity is quite easy to use. Even someone without any knowledge of coding would be able to use our SaaS product. It is also very simple to integrate new devices, this way our customers are able to have very fast a proof of concept. Furthermore, our customers pay a monthly usage fee, which allows them to quit the cooperation basically at any time. In other words: If our clients are not successful, we aren’t neither. We also pay a lot of attention to data security.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
A typical workday for me consists of a lot of communication, like back to back meetings, many conference calls and team sessions as well as customer web calls due to our international customer base. I am also travelling quite a lot – probably even more since Cumulocity is part of the Software AG.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Cumulocity in five years?
Although the market is just evolving we are on our best way to become the leading IoT platform globally. In five years I see myself doing exactly what I am doing now – from my point of view, honestly, it’s fun! It’s extremely exciting for our whole team to be part of building the platform for connecting the physical world with the digital, globally. This is a chance, you get only once in your life.

What 3 tips would you give other startup founders on the way?
Always staying true to your vision and strategy are major aspects in my opinion. Also reviewing your strategy on a regular basis – my management team and I do this quarterly – but never making overhasty adjustments is very important. Furthermore, having an MVP approach towards your customers as well as pushing customer driven development internally should always be focussed.

More information you will find here

Thank you Bernd Groß 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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