Sentin is a young data science startup from Bochum, which is still in the middle of the development of its product. Nevertheless, the four founders, Kai Lichtenberg, Arkadius Gombos, Christian Els, Maximilian Topp, are already very active in the startup scene Ruhr, both online and offline.
Let’s take a look at what the boys are up to, how they can finance themselves with their startup, which hurdles they mastered and what successes they have already celebrated.
What is the business idea behind Sentin?
We develop software for the evaluation of industrial data. Our software sentin.ai is supposed to enable the user to use modern machine learning methods and to be able to do that without being an expert in data science or programming.
“Our software sentin.ai is designed to empower the user to use advanced machine learning methods without being an expert in data science.”
Thus, e.g. Manufacturing engineers independently optimize their processes, such as by detecting anomalies or minimizing production scrap.
We give him the necessary tools to do the data analysis. He should then be able to use his expert knowledge to derive the right decisions and measures via his machines.
We ourselves have worked for many years in the industry and dealt with the analysis of machine data. Now we want to put this experience into our software.
How did the idea come about and what motivated you to start a business?
It was not like we first had a good business idea and then considered setting up a startup. Instead, we had the desire from the beginning to plunge ourselves into self-employment.
“From the beginning, we had the desire to join forces to become self-employed.”
Since we have the necessary expertise for data science and software development in our luggage, the route was clear to us pretty early.
We then systematically worked out the concrete business idea and carried out extensive market research and competition analyzes until we had an exact idea of our product.
Who are your customers and how do you earn money with your idea?
Our clients include medium-sized engineering companies with production data, as well as data integration service providers and software companies, who work on networking enterprise data, such as business or business data, and are looking for a partner for the analytics part.
On the one hand, our software consists of a basic module, which can be used for the first data exploration with extensive visualization options. In our add-on module we offer workflows where very specific problems such as Reject reduction are addressed. In doing so, the user is guided through the individual steps, starting with the data cleaning, all the way to the result analysis.
Sentin.ai can be purchased for both basic and additional modules through an annual license. We also want to earn our money from it.
Who belongs to the team and how did you find each other?
“We work very well as a team, although we are extremely different in our capabilities.”
We are a four-person founding team and got to know each other through work in the industry, where we worked together for several years in this constellation.
Therefore, we knew that we work as a team, although we are extremely different in our ability. So we deal with the topics business model development, software development, engineering and of course data science.
However, we are all great technology enthusiasts and can quickly get familiar with other domains and share them with each other.
How do you finance yourself in the beginning?
We are currently taking part in the start-up university spin-off program and can finance it.
“The start-up university spin-off program gives us the opportunity to fully focus on product development.”
The program aims to transfer research from the university environment. Business ideas that have a scientific and technological context are promoted here.
This gives us the opportunity to fully focus on product development and to better understand our customers and the marketplace.
Where are you right now, what have you already achieved?
Technologically, we develop our software under high pressure and can already rely on a powerful backend for data analysis.
Now it’s about the further development of the frontend. A lot of tact is needed here, as both the domain knowledge of the user and the data science knowledge come together in the frontend.
We are currently developing our ideas as first mockups to get quick feedback from the customer, especially regarding the applicability of our solution.
This development should be as close to the customer as possible. We are currently holding many discussions with interested partners. The first customer project is just around the corner.
What drives you to jump into startup life every morning?
Our biggest motivation is the positive dynamics and the high speed in the startup. Few meetings, no tough processes or other unnecessary tasks.
“Our biggest motivation is the positive dynamics and the high speed in the startup.”
From our time in industry we know the advantages and disadvantages of working in a group. It is extremely positive from day to day to experience how our project continues to grow.
We can record achievements much faster for us and celebrate them appropriately. The many great contacts and the great feedback from the environment are also a good motivation.