Monday, January 18, 2021

Set yourself very clear goals, iterate, learn what works and correct as you go

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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.

Scandit specializing in barcode scanning solutions

Please introduce yourself and your startup Scandit to our readers!
My name is Samuel Mueller and I am the CEO and cofounder of Scandit. In my role as CEO I’m responsible to set the overall strategic direction and look after marketing, sales, business development and financing. Before founding Scandit, I have worked as a management consultant and project leader for multinational companies like Swiss Airlines, Swiss Re and IBM.

Scandit is the leading enterprise mobility and data capture company, specializing in barcode scanning solutions that transform business processes across industries including healthcare, logistics, manufacturing and retail. It was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, but also has offices in Boston, San Francisco, London and Warsaw. Through our software technologies and cloud services, Scandit empowers organizations to rapidly build, deploy and manage mobile apps for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. The resulting solutions offer a lower total cost of ownership than traditional, dedicated devices.

How did you get the idea to Scandit?
Scandit is a spinoff from ETH Zurich, which emerged from a research collaboration between ETH Zurich and MIT. In 2005 while exploring different ways of leveraging mobile phones for interacting with everyday products to enable Internet of Things (IoT) applications, we realized that with the right software algorithms the smartphone camera could be turned into a ubiquitous tool to read barcodes and capture other data. As barcodes were readily available on consumer products and in widespread use across the entire supply chain and mobile camera phones were starting to evolve into the powerful smartphones we all know today, the combination of these two technologies promised to be the most effective way connect professionals and consumers alike with everyday products.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
After spinning out of the university context, we spent the first 18-24 months refining and improving our core technology while building out our initial commercial offering and acquiring our first customers. During this time and for the first three years until we seeked external funding, we financed our company through a combination of early customer license revenues, personal investment and low salaries as well as several prizes and grants that were lucky enough to win. During these early years, we had to deal with and overcome many limitations of mobile smartphone cameras (e.g. the lack of or a slow autofocus, limited camera control), which was instrumental in making our algorithms so incredibly fast and robust.

Who is your target audience?
Retailers, logistics companies, transportation providers, manufacturers and healthcare providers who are looking to streamline core enterprise workflows such as inventory management, asset management and shipping and receiving and want to replace their traditional scanning devices with more user friendly and cost-effective smartphones and mobile apps. In addition to the obvious cost savings, our customers also see a massive opportunity in leveraging mobile scanning apps to redefine existing workflows or to better engage with their customers using new capabilities such as MatrixScan as detailed below.

What is the USP of your startup?
Our leading-edge image recognition algorithms provide the speed and performance necessary to transform critical business processes and replace traditional dedicated barcode scanning equipment with more powerful, flexible and cost-effective mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and wearables. The speed, reliability, mobile device support of our scanning algorithms are unmatched by alternative offerings. In addition, through rapid and continuous innovation, we keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible using regular smart devices. For example, through our new MatrixScan capability we enable users of smartphones or wearable devices (such as Google Glass or Hololens) to capture multiple barcodes at once while making product information such as inventory, sales, ingredients or ratings and reviews available in real-time through an Augmented Reality (AR) user interface to employees or consumers.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
No day is the same as another one, however, I always try to start my days with a 15-30 minute slot where I think about our strategic goals and my top priorities for the quarter, week and the present day. If necessary, I adapt my schedule to make sure I can address and resolve my top 3 priorities for the day and then start my day, which typically involves multiple in-person or phone meetings with customers, partners, investors and members of our extended management team, responding to emails or calls and, whenever possible, time to think about strategic and other important topics.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Scandit in five years?
Within the next five years, Scandit is poised to completely reinvent the traditional automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) world with a wide range innovative data capture solutions, augmented reality and novel interaction paradigms providing image recognition superpowers for any camera-equipped smart device, ranging from smartphones to camera-equipped sun or prescription glasses to robots and drones. Through our universal data capture and image recognition platform, we will support the leading retail, logistics, manufacturing and healthcare enterprises a key strategic partners to provide real-time visibility into critical business processes, enable more efficient operations and drive customer engagement. Partnering with smart device, robotics, drone and wearable manufacturers, our image recognition algorithms and cloud solutions will provide real-time information about consumer products and everyday objects in augmented reality and establish a layer of actionable information for everyday use.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
1. Focus on solving a problem for a very specific niche; stay nimble and don’t try to boil the ocean.
2. Set yourself very clear goals, iterate, learn what works and correct as you go. We use quarterly OKRs (Objectives Key Results) as a tool to keep track of our goals, to measure our progress and review what works and what does not at least once per month.
3. Clarify and align on strategic goals and values early on with your core team. Learn to understand your own and your team’s strengths. Bring on people with specific experience to close critical gaps when needed.

More information you will find here

Thank you Samuel Mueller 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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