Thursday, December 2, 2021

In our opinion, this is the best fundament to create values for customers.

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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.

GESTALT Robotics provide cutting-edge solutions based on expertise in robotics, computer vision, latest technologies and modern ICT-concepts

Please introduce yourself and your startup GESTALT Robotics to our readers!
GESTALT Robotics was founded in September 2016 by Eugen, Jens and Thomas. Prior to that, Eugen was working as computer vision expert for the German Aerospace Center, Jens was a Cloud-Robotics expert with Deutsche Telekom Innovation Laboratories and Thomas worked for Airbus Safran Launchers (now Ariane Group) developing and producing components for Ariane 5/6. GESTALT Robotics is a contemporary robotics company providing cutting-edge interactive service robotics solutions. We rely on extensive expertise in robotics, computer vision, interaction and human factors. Hence, we are able to put robotics ideas of our customers into practise and provide consultation about potential applications of service robotics in different industries. We mainly focus on software integration using existing robotic hardware platforms, e.g. Pepper, Sanbot and industrial robots.

How did you get the idea to GESTALT Robotics?
In early 2016, there was a point in life when we all got kind of stuck: we had gained a lot of expertise on the practical side of robotics, computer vision and project management, had a lot of ideas and energy but at our positions we encountered administrative restrictions and an anti-innovation attitude. At the same time, the hype about robotics and artificial intelligence became prominent. Nearly every big company had a robotics roadmap but mostly on the Power-Point level. The main reason for the concept-only status is the lack of companies that can cope with software integration in service robotics.

This gap was exactly what we were able to fill with our practical expertise. While Eugen and Jens where friends since school and continuously discussing these kind of market developments, Thomas a former fellow student of Eugen joined taking the upcoming opportunity of founding a company and together with a little bit of Berlin’s creative and hands-on mindset GESTALT Robotics was born.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Every start is difficult, so was ours. We started without having an office until we got support from Technische Universität Berlin after a month. Luckily, we were not just starting with an idea seeking for financing. We started providing and demonstrating our software integration skills for robotics from the first day giving us the possibility to finance our growth from the beginning from operating cash flow and to stay independent. Our first mission was about implementing a live robotic showcase with the Pepper robot and a C-level representative of one of the largest German companies. The challenge was to conduct the software implementation within a very short term and to make autonomous behaviours of the robot reliable and robust.

We were very tensed and nervous during this first showcase, but finally the robot interacted as desired, everything has worked out very well and the next jobs followed.

Later on, one of the main challenges lies in the management of the growth, mainly on setting up flexible infrastructures from finance to computational hardware as well as building up an adequate team. As a technology start-up we have to compete with big companies for the best talents in robotics, computer vision and interaction. By our limited financial means we have to convince our potential colleagues by a positive working atmosphere, flat hierarchies and support for own ideas. It is fortunate to us to be able to set up a core team of 6 colleagues which we know very well from previous collaborations. But this does not mean, that there are no challenges anymore. However, it is better to cope with a lot of every-day challenges together with people you trust.

Who is your target audience?
We focus on B2B markets in domestics, industries as well as sports & entertainment empowering companies which are deeply settled on these markets to provide powerful robotic solutions to their end-customers and to reach a broad audience. These partner companies have a long experience in their business domain and know their customers better than anyone, but do not have the abilities or capacities to develop robotic solutions. For this purpose, we aim at a partner-integrated development approach combining understanding of key customer needs and broad robotics expertise.
Due to globalized markets, especially in the robotics business, there is no specific national market we are focusing on. The services and solutions will be provided world-wide, but with an emphasis on Europe, North America and Asia, which comprise the greatest demand for service robotics according to recent market studies.

What is the USP of your startup?
We create robotic solutions covering software and hardware putting an emphasis on the perceptual intelligence. In combination of a computer vision and modular hardware concept, we are able to provide more intelligent robot solutions regarding environmental analysis premised on a highly-scalable base. In contrast to common research institutes which are focused on basic research, or information oriented companies such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft with the focus on information acquisition and not on robotic solutions, we are focusing on specialized, privacy-aware, close-to-market product development together with partners in different industries. This enables us to offer and reuse cutting-edge technology solutions on specific markets and to minimize the development cost.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
It is hard to describe, because there is no typical 9 to 5 workday. Since, we are focused on a B2B market, we are often at our customers premise testing or presenting the implemented solutions. Once you are close to a release date the days can be a little longer. Whenever we are in our office, we are working hands on the hardware, which is mostly cameras or social robotics platforms. Right now we have a new Sanbot in our office driving around and talking from time to time amusing the team.

Where do you see yourself and your startup GESTALT Robotics in five years?
The vision we have for our company is to become leading European software integrator for service robotics solutions in different vertical industries, i.e. health & care, home & entertainment, concierge services, retail and security. Furthermore, we pursue a complementary business in tailored reselling of service robot hardware.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Be curious, learn new things with passion and take your time to gain expertise on a specific topic that you love. In our opinion, this is the best fundament to create values for customers.

More information you will find here

Thank you Thomas Staufenbiel 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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