Give us your 30 seconds elevator pitch. What is it that you are working on? And who are the masterminds behind your company?
We’ve created Heatle, the world’s first sustainable technology to heat liquids right in your cup. David Riding has been tinkering for over 4 years and we’ve co-founded the project 2 years ago when we first met.
How did you find each other and what was the final moment, when you decided you’re going to found a company together?
We were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. David had first success with his prototypes and decided to start pitching the idea to get funding. I was self-employed as a startup pitch coach, and was working on my own hardware tech back then. When I came to the Factory to give David some (free) pitching advice, the 15 minute slot turned into 3 hours and we immediately decided to work on this project together.
Why did you decide to start working on a hardware idea?
David is an electrical engineer and has created physical products his entire life. My background is mainly in software, and after founding 2 software ventures I decided it was time to do something tangible with a tangible effect to match, something you could proudly put on the table that all your friends and family would be excited about. Something that would make our lives more enjoyable and have a positive impact on the ecology at large. I mean, who is really excited about working on some blockchain-based infrastructure for some B2B fintech? Life is hardware, period.
Why did you choose the city of Berlin to found a company? Do you think the city has an impact of how successful your project will be?
We have been living here for 5 and 11 years and we have our families and kids here. It’s a nice, large and diverse city that offers good opportunities for founders and makes it quite easy to find partners. There aren’t many cities in Germany that are much better for our endeavor, and I’ve lived in 6 others.
If you could have one additional skill in your team, who would get it, what would it be and why?
Finance and anything with numbers, like business analytics. Although it’s not critical just yet, it will become a weakness once we start focusing on what we are good at, which is pretty much everything but that.
What do you want to achieve with your startup?
What was your biggest fuck up during your startup career?
Spending a load of time and money developing a perfect product without validating demand (being afraid of talking about the “unique” idea).
Which is the part of running a startup, that scares you the most and which is most fun?
There is nothing that scares me or us. There are many unknowns, but this is what makes a startup a startup. If you know most things – problem, solution, market, consumers, marketing, sales etc. – you aren’t a startup anymore, you are a proper business. We have a global innovation which intrinsically comes with a ton of unanswered questions and it is our job to find answers. We are not scared about something we do not yet have answers to. We are excited about the opportunity to learn every step of the way. It’s all fun. If it weren’t, what would be the point of founding a startup in the first place?
When was the last time you really celebrated a success and what was it about?
You would have to define “success” prior to answering this question. If you mean “achievement”, we have had many major milestones in the past weeks. One was going to a global market leader for home appliances, having them test our prototypes extensively for 2 days, and confirming most of our claims (energy efficiency, uniqueness, market demand, etc.) independently by a group of C-level employees of a billion-dollar company.
If you could change your life with every person in the world right now - would you do it? And if yes, with whom?
You mean swap or trade 😉 Speaking as a hobby philosopher and psychologist, no. In my view, there is no point in thinking about such questions at all.
Why are you at MotionLab.Berlin?
Like everyone else – for the free food and coffee! But as we have stated on numerous occasions, it’s THE maker space for hardware-based startups in Berlin or Germany at large. Where else should we be?
Would you rather have the skills to see 10 minutes into your future or to reset what happened in the last 10 minutes?
Neither, since none of them are possible according to general relativity or quantum mechanics. But I won’t say no to a 3D printer that takes 10 minutes for our tasks 🙂
What is your favorite song, that motivates you and brings you through a tough working day?
What is the current status quo of your project?
Working MVP, actively fundraising and starting the pre-sale soon.
Are you currently looking for something specific? Investors, specific knowledge or positions?
Any experience of people who brought B2C products to market (certification, design, manufacturing, distribution and crowdfunding) is valuable now.
If the 14 year old you would read this interview, what is the one thing you want him to know?
That he is doing everything right.
Who is probably the proudest person in your circle of what you have achieved in the last years?
It can only be myself because I am the one who achieved whatever I achieved. I believe you can’t really be proud of another person achieving something unless you are the main reason it happened.
When was the last time you got really sick of what you are doing and why?
2017 when I quit my senior position at VISA, a top 10 company in the world. I am too young, energetic, and dynamic to live by the rules of corporate bulls… principles.
If someone invested 1 million euro in your startup tomorrow, what would you use the money for?
Expand our office at MotionLab.Berlin and expedite our go-to market approach.
Keep on rocking!