Recently Tobias Rieker, founder of Markt-Pilot, and his team won the CyberOne Hightech Award Baden-Württemberg – congratulations once again! Markt-Pilot is a Campus Founders member. From time to time the team joins us at our Campus Lab to work. We are happy that Tobi, as a successful founder, has the openness to share his success story with our community – so please enjoy this insight into Markt-Pilot and their journey to their current success.
Tobi, explain to us in your own words what exactly you do at Markt-Pilot?
The biggest problem in the spare parts business of mechanical engineering companies is the lack of transparency regarding spare part prices of competitors (manufacturers, dealers, and online platforms) in the market. Markt-Pilot solves this problem and creates so far unique and complete transparency of prices and delivery times of all spare parts in the mechanical engineering industry worldwide, up-to-date, and sustainable. When I explain this to friends or my parents, I compare our software with the common price comparison sites, which almost everybody knows and uses. Our technology is similar but does not serve to buy cheaper, but rather to give machine manufacturers transparency on the spare parts prices on the market so that they can base their own sales price of spare parts on them.
Tell us how you came up with the idea for “Markt-Pilot”.
During my three years of training as an industrial clerk in a medium-sized mechanical engineering company, I was able to recognize the increasing relevance of the spare parts business. There, too, I realized that the service departments find it difficult to have continuous price transparency for thousands of spare parts. I validated and established this thesis during my studies: This is not only an industry-wide problem in Germany but a worldwide problem in mechanical engineering. And we at Markt-Pilot can now solve this problem.
The CyberOne award is now a great success, you are now the high-tech start-up from Baden-Württemberg. But this is just the beginning, isn’t it?
I am convinced that we have only just really started. Here in the south, we have found a great environment to develop ourselves. This is the world’s top hotspot for mechanical engineering companies. That’s why we have the best opportunities to find customers here and to develop together with our customers. There is currently no other company in the world that can guarantee this transparency. We also want to use this advantage worldwide. The technologies that we have been working hard to develop over the last three years will be brought to the USA, Japan, and other core markets in Europe in the future.
What potential do tech and B2B start-ups have – is the time of B2C start-ups over?
For me, the time of B2C start-ups is not over. But the locations of B2C start-ups will probably shift more and more to the more populous regions of the world, such as the BRIC states because the consumer market is simply even bigger here.
In general, it can be said for the German market that founding a company in the B2B sector offers various advantages. Greater economies of scale are possible since B2B can be used to serve large markets and high financing rounds can be concluded. In addition, there is a backlog demand in digitization issues that we are not the only ones who want to take advantage of. The mechanical engineering sector in particular has an urgent need for action here. In my opinion, there is no stopping the megatrend of digitization.
You are founders from the Ländle. What distinguishes the startup community here?
I find the solidarity cool. We already know the start-up network in Baden-Württemberg quite well. We don’t need clubs or network meetings like in Berlin or larger cities. What’s also great for us is that the focus here is mostly on B2B. There is an extremely large number of exciting companies in the region and it’s fun to work with other founders to drive innovation forward.
What role do the Campus Founders play for you, but also for the entire region?
The Campus Founders are, not only for us at Markt-Pilot, the innovation center in the Heilbronn-Franken region. At Campus Lab, you can literally feel the spirit that is lived here. Especially in the early founding phase, it is important to exchange ideas and learn from each other. This is exactly what we can do at Campus Founders. We profit from the offer of workshops and coaching, use the Campus Lab to network with other start-ups and established companies in the region, but are also simply happy to be an active part of the community. We want to be there when new innovations emerge and of course, we also look at other exciting business models.
In times of Corona, many people are unsettled: Why is it still useful, or perhaps even a better time, to start up?
We are an encouraging example that it can and does work. We spun off on April 2, the start of the first wave of Corona. Internally, we have been able to conjure up a “Now more than ever” attitude. This has brought us even closer together as a team. As of today, we have even exceeded our goals despite Corona.
What tips can you give to start-up talents?
These are actually the classics, but they are effective.
- Validate or die! This applies especially to the early phase. It is important to talk a lot and develop a deep understanding with customers: What do they want? And much more important: Where is your pain point? What exactly can we improve so that they no longer have this pain.
- Get the right people on the bus! Set up your team so that you stand behind them 100%. Be 100% sure of your decisions! I can proudly say that we have the perfect mix of experienced experts from mechanical engineering, pricing consulting and IT with us, who have between four and 25 years of experience in their respective fields.
- Trust your own idea! Talk to people about your ideas and your assessment. But be sure to form your own opinion and trust yourself to know better.
Many thanks for these exciting insights, Tobi! We are sure that our founders and community members will be able to take something away from this