Shortly before the end of the year, there was cause for great joy: Bitnamic prevailed against more than 90 competitors and won the 3rd place in the Scale-up category of the DurchSTARTer Award 2020. With the help of the award, innovative ideas are to be highlighted and promoted.
In context of the award ceremony, the Durchstarter team conducted an interview with our two Bitnamic founders Rolf Behrens and Alexei Kolesnikow on the topics of start-ups in the industrial sector, long-term success and of course – Bitnamic.
Interviewer: Hello you two, tell us – who are you and what is Bitnamic?
Kolesnikow: Sure, with pleasure. I’m Alexei Kolesnikow, one of the two founders of Bitnamic. We founded the company about 5 ½ years ago. Before that, I studied computer science here in Osnabrück at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. During this time, I got to know Rolf and worked with him on many research projects – including the topic we’ll address in a moment – and yes, now we’re sitting here.
Behrens: My name is Rolf Behrens, I am co-founder of Bitnamic and a computer scientist with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. The topic of remote maintenance has been with me for almost ten years. With our software of the same name, we have developed a nice solution for the field of digitization in industry.
Interviewer: What makes the industrial sector particularly attractive for young entrepreneurs and how can they benefit from it?
Kolesnikow: I think the decisive factor for young entrepreneurs is that the industrial sector is currently undergoing this transformation towards Industry 4.0. That means it needs new ideas, and that’s where young startups like us that provide these ideas come in handy.
I’m also convinced – and this has been confirmed to me several times in meetings with companies – that many customers don’t necessarily invite big companies because they are often far too rigid. Customers sometimes have the feeling that something is being forced upon them. When talking to a start-up, on the other hand, they are usually more willing to reveal their own ideas, because they fear no competition from the newcomers. Of course, there are NDAs, but nevertheless, at such meetings, people talk to each other a bit more openly and ask, “How would you do this or that?” In this way, the industry gets expertise that it might otherwise have to buy at a high price from someone else.
Interviewer: Your company is now standing on its own two feet. How do you manage not only to be successful in the short term, but also to establish yourself on the market in the long term?
Behrens: Success is a bit of an interplay between opportunities and chance. I have to somehow get the chance to prove myself, of course, but I also need the opportunity to have my software, my technology, my product. You might have one or two shots and then I have to see how I reinvent myself again – that’s the important thing, to keep thinking, to keep innovating. At least that’s true for us, we have to constantly talk to our customers “What are your requests?”, “How can we make our software better?”, “Do you have some more feedback and input for us?”.
In the next step, we think about how we can make it better, more user-friendly, more accessible, maybe even a bit more technologically appealing or appropriate again. These are points that we always have to have in the foreground, in focus. What we did in 2016 no longer fits today. That means we now have to look at how the market has changed, how we react to certain things, and that actually applies across all industries.
If I want to be successful, I can’t stand still, I have to keep moving forward. I have to invest in certain areas, stay with my customers first and foremost, and of course allow for change. That is one of the most important points: You have to admit to yourself that what you have created will eventually be obsolete. In this context, personal change is very important in order to get through all of this in the first place.
Bitnamic’s central product is bitnamic CONNECT, the app for mobile collaboration in industrial communication. It accelerates service processes and connects experts worldwide. In this way, maintenance and troubleshooting of machines can be carried out more efficiently, cost-effectively and without contact – a decisive advantage, especially in times of the coronavirus pandemic. If you are interested in a non-binding demo, please contact us.