My team and I wanted to make a connected IoT device for detecting emergency vehicles. We got the idea because I was almost killed by an ambulance while driving my motorcycle. We decided to go fully dedicated to and it became its own independent company HAAS.
I already had the concept in the works - Janitor had a portfolio, a few clients, and an expanding team. I wanted to prototype a new product called HAAS, and TomorrowLab told me, "Well, you can make the prototype yourself if you know Arduino...". So I took the course.
For HAAS, we have a consumer device plan, but the long-term vision is to license our technology in connected motorcycle helmets, connected bicycle helmets, the autonomous driving/connected car, and even noise-canceling headphones. We recently took part in a technology accelerator in Michigan that focused on automotive. We came away with a strategic partnership with Faurecia - a Tier 1 automotive supplier. We are currently looking for funding to get us to the next round of our product.
Back in the States, it's more common than not that people aren't really looking to help you unless you walk in with a promise of a "Unicorn" company or millions in funding already. In Berlin, I would simply ask people about anything I was interested in, whether it was about tech, a place to eat, where to see good art, and so on. And I would always get plenty of recommendations - even with my limited German skills. Starting a company, especially in technology, you need that open mindset from peers and leaders to help guide you - in my experience, Berlin has a much more open and cooperative sharing of ideas and skills than the majority of places back home.
I love that the courses are for all levels, so if someone was a beginner in a course, those who were more advanced would always help the others. Plus, it wasn't a "I need to guard my project" vibe – it was much more of an inviting and open-learning atmosphere than what I've experienced elsewhere.
That's a tough question. I know it's cheating since it's not really a "startup", but I'd have to say Skully. I want that motorcycle helmet so bad! There's also a similar technology for snowboarding where you have an insert in your goggles that opens up displays for listening to music, seeing data about other friends, etc. I tried it once and I had to have it.
Check out www.haasalert.com to preorder HAAS and to find out what they've been up to lately. Click here if you want to become part of the betahaus community?
Ellie: Two years ago we adopted a new legal structure for Jolocom GmbH according to the purpose model of ownership, manifesting our commitment and dedication to building a self-sovereign organization. That means we can’t take VC funding or sell public shares of the company.
Volker: Jolocom is a community driven organisation – both in a tech sense but also much further beyond. We’re hugely involved in the DWeb community where we organize and attend events for the decentralized community. Every year we also help organize and attend the DWeb Camp in San Francisco, which brings together all kinds of creatives so this technology of tomorrow is built in a collaborative way.
Next to that on-demand experiences have become firmly embedded into people’s everyday lives - be it a mobile app to book a ride, send flowers to your loved ones or order lunch to your office. It’s all possible and has made premium features like real-time tracking a standard. The online consumer expects nothing less and certainly doesn’t like to wait.
Making that quick and instant gratification happen is another story though. Groundbreaking ideas and innovations are needed to tackle all these factors. Does your startup have one?
Volker: There is this really nice place, called Green Rabbit with salads and baked potatoes where I like to go to. Sometimes I just keep it simple and go to Lidl.
Ellie: I eat a lot in west.berlin cafe which is here around the corner and I love the Matcha Lattes from Starbucks.