recalm creates a higher quality of life. We do this by making noise disappear
Please introduce yourself and your startup recalm to our readers!
I’m Lukas Henkel, COO and Co-Founder of recalm. At recalm I take care of everything the techies don’t want to be involved with. No, to be fair Marc, Martin and Ralf are super enthusiastic about everything and love to help whenever and wherever possible. This allows me to focus on my strengths which are Business Modelling and B2B-Marketing.
recalm has the vision to improve your quality of life by transforming undesired noise pollution into peace and quiet. To let our vision become true, we are building a product that is sending out an anti-noise signal of opposite polarity to the noise source, so noise can be eliminated by destructive interference. You might know the so called Active-Noise-Technology from headphones. However active noise control can also be achieved without using headphones. Therefore, we attach the hardware setup consisting of microphones, speakers and our hardware platform in a headrest of a seat, so noise can be eliminated in a certain distance to your head.
How did you get the idea to recalm?
Well to be honest, the idea for recalm must be credited to our CEO. One day Marc was trying to catch some sleep but the noise outside wouldn’t let him. Consequently, he started googling possible solutions and to his surprise the outcome was not satisfying at all. Rather than spending more time on google he decided to create his own solution avocational. With his first prototype, he was selected for the second season of the Hamburg Airbus BizLab Accelerator Program upon which he gathered detailed market research, a team and finally a funding so he could quit his job. Just like Marc, we at recalm, all hate noise and I’m sure there are others out there who get stressed out because of it.
How difficult was the start and what challenges did you have to overcome?
There are always little things that must be set up; just like the infrastructure at the office or all the bureaucratic stuff. And yes, it’s true; it can be annoying at times. But it is also fun and rewarding to research topics that you would never really think about, if it wasn’t for being an entrepreneur or a specialist. To reiterate, apart from those little nitty-gritty aspects, the start itself wasn’t too difficult, as we had been preparing for this for quite some time.
For me the team is the main reason why we’ve managed to have such a good start. We didn’t know each other before we started the company. We found each other because of our expertise and after sitting together a couple of times and getting to know each other better, we finally decided to start the adventure as a team. Being a team of skilled and friendly people allows us to be respectful and trustful at the same time at a very high level.
Take Ralf for instance. He is a bit older than the rest of us, but he brings experience and expertise along that we simply cannot provide. He is always able to monitor us in certain situations. Just two weeks ago, we went on a roadshow to talk to potential clients and partners. Being in the middle of a negotiation for the very first time, there is that moment you run out of smart answers because you just don’t know better and get overwhelmed. I mean, how would you? You are the newbie at the table. However, with Ralf’s help, we were able to relax and do a great job; but also, learning along the way.
Who is your target audience?
We’ve talked to a lot of people who are interested in such a technology. It took us quite a bit to analyze the findings before defining our target audience. One fact we found out was that every eighth person in Germany has issues with hearing loss. Another finding was, that hearing loss is the second most common work-related issue. We realized the greater goal is to help those who are affected by noise within the workplace. That is why our target audience are drivers of Off-Highway-Machines, more precisely, construction machines and agricultural machines. These machines can be extremely loud! To reach out to the people we want to create an additional benefit for, we want to sell our hardware setup to seat manufacturers or construction machine manufacturers, so they can implement it.
What is the USP of your startup?
recalm creates a higher quality of life. We do this by making noise disappear. The successful application of active noise control in practice depends on its robustness and economic efficiency rather than on its elegance. Key element of an active noise control system is the algorithm. And that’s exactly where our solution is special. Due to a smart algorithm combined with a special hardware platform we improved the overall system performance so you don‘t need to wear bulky, uncomfortable headphones anymore. For our customers recalm will add a surplus value to their product and ease their sales procedure.
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
Sure. I get up around 7am. On my way to work I drop by a café nearby to grab a coffee and a croissant. Call it a treat, I call it breakfast. Before we all start working, we sit down for a couple of minutes and talk about everyone’s to-do list for the day. I usually start by checking my emails and getting them answered right away, if possible of course. More complex tasks I work on afterwards. This can be tasks regarding our marketing strategy, business modelling, administrative stuff or whatever projects are on the agenda. I try to do take small breaks whenever possible. It helps me to refocus. Even though most days include similar tasks, every day is different because there are simply always new things popping up that you can’t anticipate.
Where do you see yourself and your startup recalm in five years?
Personally, I hope my loved ones and I stay healthy and happy. Regarding the business, I don’t really see myself able to draw future scenarios. There are so many factors that influence ones career. Maybe in five years you will get the opportunity to ask me this question again. By then I hopefully will have gained more experience and can analyze the situation better.
Considering the future from the perspective of recalm I see a small or middle-sized enterprise that has found its way to help as many users as possible in terms of being less stressed by noise. I see a company that hasn’t forgot where it all began but still has the ambition to make the next step. I see recalm playing its part in the big game, preferably as a manufacturer of the product we believe in so strongly.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Be ambitious. Trust in yourself and others. Appreciate.
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Thank you Lukas Henkel for the Interview
Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.