Fascinated by Silicon Valley, at home in Munich: Here in the Bavarian capital, Martin Körner teamed up with Robert Konopka to launch Zertisa.
The two-man team has won not only prestigious awards, but also big-name domestic and international customers, including Orange and German rail carrier Deutsche Bahn. How? With a management solution for the personalization of Android devices from Zertisa GmbH.
The Munich-based company can fit other logos in a device’s boot animation, preinstall apps, adapt the phone book and/or restrict access rights. In other words, it can give each customer exactly what they need. What is more, Zertisa can do so faster, at lower cost and in smaller production runs.
Körner, who has spent some time with German Accelerator in Silicon Valley, talked to Munich Startup about why company founders have to be realists and how the mood among startups has changed in recent years.
How are startup entrepreneurs perceived in Germany in general and Munich in particular?
Things are happening. Obviously, you can’t compare the atmosphere here with the scene in Silicon Valley. But an entrepreneurial spirit is palpable here too. More and more people are open to the idea of starting their own business. There also seems to be a change in acceptance by the population at large and in founders’ own circle of friends.
A few years ago, entrepreneurs who set up any kind of company other than a traditional craft firm were seen as rather exotic. Today, we receive greater recognition and, at times, even respect.
Munich also has more startup initiatives nowadays that help young entrepreneurs to go self-employed: the LMU Entrepreneurship Center, the LMU Spin-Off Center and the Munich Business Plan Competition network BayStartUP, to name but a few. It is extremely important to meet up with like-minded people and bounce ideas off each other.
Zertisa has been singled out as the “ICT startup of the year” and at the “ICT Innovative Startup Competition”. What do such awards do for a startup?
Being chosen by a panel of experts is always a special token of appreciation. It motivated us to continue developing our solution. It is a powerful testimony and a source of credibility that should not be underestimated. In addition, press releases on the Internet increase awareness – not least because of the links they contain. Coverage on sites with a high Google ranking also raises the relevance of our own website. These days, that too is a factor that should not be underestimated.
What advice would you give to other startup entrepreneurs?
Zertisa is not the first company I have founded, so the best advice I can give is very sobering: Don’t let yourself be overly seduced by idealism, by the romantic notion of the one big idea. Because ultimately, as harsh as it sounds, the only thing that counts is money. And a startup entrepreneur should only ever begin counting money when it is safely in the company’s account.