IOX Rapid Prototypes for IoT Applications, enabling Companies to accelerate Innovation.
Please introduce yourself and your startup IOX to our readers!
Yes, sure! My name is Robert Jänisch and I am CEO and co-founder of IOX. IOX offers IoT sensors, trackers and platforms-as-a-service for enterprise or product applications that enable companies to make faster, data-driven decisions and to generate more revenue. In our IOX Lab, we support our customers with the realization of IoT projects, and lead them from the idea to the operational prototype within 30 days. Our team uses methods like RAPID DESIGN® and Rapid Prototyping as well as modern technologies – from 3D printing to artificial intelligence. Over the years, we have worked (and still do work) with many well-known brands such as Henkel, Bayer, MTU, Vodafone and KPMG.
How did you get the idea of IOX?
The idea was born during the founding phase of Mellow Board, an e-Mobility startup. There I learned how important Lean StartUp, Rapid Design and Prototyping is for the development of new products and services.
Why did you decide to start with IOX?
In 2015, there were few products and vendors for IoT solutions. In contrast, analysts such as McKinesey and Gartner have made a rough estimate of the number of future networked devices. We are closing this gap with IOX. We have now implemented over 100 IoTs. The market is still very dynamic and young but we have built up a lot of knowledge and modular solutions.
What is the vision behind IOX?
The Internet of Things has proven the potential to disrupt markets and make this world better place. Many leading companies have innovative IoT concepts but are challenged when it comes to making them a reality. Great ideas are stuck in powerpoint presentations and innovation pipelines. Our vision is to guide these companies on their way and help them solve real business problems by leveraging IoT technology. We make IoT as simple as possible.
How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?
A big hurdle before founding IOX was to actually get started. When I think about how long it took me to do that… In 2007, I started considering founding a company, but I didn’t do it until 2014. Taking the plunge and saying “Ok, I’m going for it now and I’ll get going”, and then really doing it was like jumping into a lake. You want to cool off, and then you stand at the jetty forever and wonder if the water isn’t too cold after all. But in the end the jump is liberating and you ask yourself why you didn’t dare to do it earlier. In addition, I often had doubts about whether I had accumulated enough knowledge to go this way.
Who is your target audience?
Generally speaking, all companies that have a problem they want to tackle with IoT technology, but do not know where to start. Be it because of their lack of expertise or their lack of manpower to actually set up the solution. To be more precise: For our activities in the IOX Lab we target CDOs, Product Owner and Innovation Manager. For our Sensor as a Service offering, we target CIOs and CEOs.
What is the USP of your startup?
We support customers in developing smart products and services: fast, hands-on and with passion. Our motto “Make Things, Not Slides!” underlines our approach perfectly: We’d rather get started developing an actual prototype instead of spending massive amounts of time in the concept phase of a project, which in the end might not even be realized. Rapid prototyping has been an integral part of that. Over the years, while our business has grown, we have put a lot of thought into how we could leverage our experience from 120+ projects and make our approach to develop high-quality IoT products for our customers more scalable.
We noticed that oftentimes different client requests shared a lot of similarities, which led us to come up with a system to use synergies: With the IOX Stack we are now able to provide out-of-the-box, but also individually fitted, functionality for a multitude of different use cases in logistics, retail, utility and construction as well as smart city – all based off of the hardware, software and design we developed in multiple projects over the years. With this modular system, we are able to realize projects way faster than before, as companies can easily ‘shop’ for the functionalities they seek for their solution ‘off the shelf’. We are of course still able to provide individualization where needed, but overall clients benefit from a lower price. I think this really sets us apart from other competitors.
Can you describe your typical workday ?
Disclaimer: There is probably no typical workday for me, but I usually start my day in the IOX office by meeting all my colleagues at 9 am for a stand-up. There, I gather information from the team: how my colleagues are doing, what moves them, what they need help with and what they are currently working on. Then, I meet with my sales team for half an hour to three quarters of an hour to see what’s going on with current leads and what it will take to win new customers. After the meeting marathon, I pull the ripcord around 19:00 to drive home to my wife and son.
Where do you see yourself and your startup IOX in five years?
Our customers work with us, because we are at the forefront of IoT innovation. Through our services and products, we are transforming our customers business. Currently we are a DeepTech startup with a compound annual growth rate of more than 500%. I would like to keep this positive trend going.
What 3 tips would you give to founders?
There is a great book by Stephen Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, which I would recommend to any founder. The most valuable tip for me is that you should follow your passion and that this can also mean having to put other topics back. If you don’t have a passion for your product or startup, you won’t enjoy working hard. And it doesn’t happen without hard work.
Another tip from my side is to focus, above all, on transparency and open communication within the team. If all employees know what is going on in the company, this often reduces a lot of potential frustration. To this end, we not only have regular exchanges within the teams, but also a learning day once a month, during which not only experiences are discussed, but new things can also be tried out. I firmly believe that a real team spirit is crucial for a startup. That’s why it’s important to me that colleagues understand each other personally and ideally also exchange ideas outside of work.
Last but not least there is one mistake I would rather not have made: Holding on to the wrong employees for too long. It was a learning for me that you can get along well with someone on a personal level, but it just doesn’t work on a professional level and you have to draw consequences.
More information you will find here
Thank you Robert Jänisch for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.