The Tübingen and Berlin-based startup Kreatize was founded in 2015 with the goal to help German and European manufacturing companies with smart software solutions to achieve more success and agility. Kreatize digitalizes several processes from the first contact with the customer, to the automatic quotation preparation as well as production planning.
Most recently the young company was able to close a 7-digit financing round with Atlantic Internet and a group of well known angel investors, including SAP-Manager Christian Dahlen and the Adjust founders Christian Henschel and Paul Müller. Kreatize already employs a team of 20+ people and clearly seems to be on a growth path. A few weeks ago we did a little interview with Kreatize CEO Simon Tüchelmann, and the successful closing of the company’s funding round is a good opportunity to release it. Enjoy the interview:
How did you (and your co-founders) come up with the idea for Kreatize and how did it all start?
For the past four years, I have been running a contract manufacturing business producing steel parts for big companies. The manufacturing world is a very fascinating industry with inspiring companies and innovative products. However, I realized that the industry could achieve even more with digital tools, which would enable every company – no matter how big or small – to manufacture high quality custom parts easily, fast, and secure.
The process of creating prototypes is an extremely cost and time consuming one in the manufacturing industry. It is characterized by high transaction costs, uncertainty, and a lack of transparency on both customer and supplier sides. That is the origin driving KREATIZE. I told my good friend Daniel Garcia about my idea, who had just sold his ad tech company. He instantly loved the vision of revolutionizing the manufacturing industry through digitalization. That’s how I found my co-founder.
What were the main stumbling blocks within the first year and what would you do differently from today’s perspective?
We started quite early with a couple of beta-customers who we helped manufacture products and prototypes. It was amazing because most people we talked to really liked our service even though we did not have our software ready. That’s why we thought that suppliers – contract manufacturers – will respond the same way. Unfortunately, that was not the case. A lot of suppliers we talked to had negative experiences with other similar solutions on the market. To convince them that our idea was better and different from others was one of the stumbling blocks we had to tackle in the first year. However, once we demonstrated our solutions suppliers and contract manufacturers are easily convinced, understand the advantages of our digital solution, and see how they can profit from it.
What is Kreatize’s unique value proposition that sets it apart from its competitors?
We support customers to create products and custom parts almost as easily as ordering pizza. By offering a wide variety of manufacturing processes from 3D-printing and milling to casting, we are a strong partner in producing custom parts from the first prototypes to big series production.
Our unique value proposition is our state of the art one stop platform. Rather than specialising in one single technology or service, we can offer that we offer implementations of custom parts as prototypes and small batch series. This includes additive manufacturing (3D printing), cnc machining, and casting manufacturing processes as well as a choice of more than 1.000 materials along with a range of specialized suppliers. In addition, we provide customers and suppliers with the tools they require to optimize their supply and procurement chains in the rise of a digitization and the industry 4.0 delivering to them software solutions they need to succeed in the digital age. In contrast, competing platforms do not provide a combination of different technologies or additional features for smart online management.
What kind of marketing and sales strategies/channels do you use to reach potential customers for Kreatize?
At the moment, we are in closed beta. We use the advantages of direct sales to get in touch with suppliers and customers, which enables us to receive direct feedback and improve the product. We are also planning to invest in marketing and lead acquisition through demand generation channels and online marketing. Together with a dedicated team, we expect to rapidly convert these leads into suppliers and customers. We are a small company with a big vision that strongly aims to improve the way custom parts are ordered and manufactured. For our customers, we want to provide a great user experience so that they will recommend our service to partners, customers, etc.
What are the next steps and future plans for Kreatize?
KREATIZE will be the platform for everybody wanting to manufacture products and parts. In an industry where you need inside knowledge, a lot of experience, and networks to do business, we provide a software based solutions, which make it very easy for everyone to succeed. We believe in the strength of small and medium sized companies in Europe, which we want to support with our solutions. The long-term goal of Kreatize is to become a global manufacturing platform for companies to order, collaborate and manufacture parts and products in a seamless way.
How is your experience with Berlin as a location to start a company?
We have to offices, one in Tübingen and one in Berlin. Through our office in Tübingen, we have the opportunity to get in touch with small and medium sized companies. Also one of our development partners is based in Tübingen we benefit from a wide network and a excellent expertise in manufacturing processes. Our innovation centre is based in Berlin and mostly focusses on the development of our software and the smart matching algorithm. Our network in Berlin is really helpful to get in touch with investors, other innovative startups that we can learn from and to find good future employees. Berlin is overall a vibrating and inspiring city that we really enjoy working in.