Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Pipeforce do? Please introduce yourselves!
Pipeforce: With Pipeforce, we’ve developed a cloud-native workflow & integration platform that is specifically optimized for medium-sized companies. The platform makes it possible to digitize, automate and, if needed, encrypt business processes across systems without needing any programming know-how. Pipeforce was founded in Munich by Stephan Niedermeier and Simon Ochs in 2019.
Stephan is a graduate computer scientist and serial entrepreneur. He has more than 15 years of experience in developing corporate software in the cloud. He successfully sold his last VC-financed startup (note from editor: FTAPI Software) in 2014 to a TecDAX company.
Simon started out in business consulting and spent many years at Accenture. His focus was predominantly on the optimization and digitization of business processes for medium-sized and large companies in Europe.
Despite having different backgrounds, we both have the same question in our minds: Why are digital business processes for medium-sized companies always implemented with complex, drawn-out and expensive projects that always seem to reinvent the wheel?
Complete digital workflows instead of isolated solutions
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Pipeforce: There is currently an enormous need for medium-sized companies to digitalize their business processes and automate them to a high degree. This is due to increasing international competition, new customer expectations and an increase in decentralized workforces. By digitalizing their workflows, they can cut costs, shorten process cycles and expand competitive advantages as a whole.
Because medium-sized companies generally don’t have their own R&D departments, digitization projects are usually outsourced to expensive external service providers. This results in the slow and costly implementation of business processes using customized software and integration. This makes companies’ local IT infrastructures more complex with each new process. On the other hand, some medium-sized companies are relying more on vertical SaaS solutions, but they only cover part of the process chain and can only be adapted to meet individual needs to a certain degree. Both approaches often become isolated solutions. Compliance, security, data protection and process lifecycle management are also additional obstacles for these companies.
This is exactly where Pipeforce comes in: We combine the security and flexibility of customized project solutions with the ease and cost advantages of SaaS solutions. The result is a serverless workflow platform for the automation and end-to-end encryption of customized business processes.
Customized, easy and encrypted in the cloud
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Pipeforce: It might seem that way at first. Of course solutions already exist for planning and implementing business processes. But most of these solutions can only be put into service when combined with expensive integration and onboarding projects or, as SaaS solutions, they only cover a very limited area of a business process. In both cases, companies will eventually run into constraints. It might be due to technical or compliance limitations or due to the lack of a ‘meta-level’ to uniformly link all of the processes together.
With Pipeforce, we’re taking a completely new approach by ‘democratizing’ business process to a certain extent. This means medium-sized companies and their long-standing partners are put in a position to implement business processes themselves with a low-code approach without any kind of programming. Process templates are available that can be adjusted to meet individual needs with minimum effort. The resulting business app is then ‘installed’ on our backend-as-a-service platform by being opened just one time, which gets it up and running. Our system is fully automated and provides the required services so our customers can concentrate 100% on the implementation of their processes.
This means our customers and partners can rely on one of the most modern and at the same time most flexible platforms in the world to automate their business processes without having to learn how to code.
Focus instead of ‘nice to have’
Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?
- Finding the first corporate customers to productively use the platform and, of course, also pay for it from the very beginning.
- Honing the focus on our target group until we found a very specific customer problem.
- Consistently developing our platform to solve that customer problem and putting the many ‘nice to have’ functions on the back burner for now.
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Pipeforce: We’re noticing in all areas at the moment that our idea is working out and that intelligent process automation is really gaining momentum. We’re constantly working on improving our platform. Strategically, we have a lot planned this year and are in different talks with partners and investors. But we’re not letting you in on what that’s all about just yet. We’ll tell you more when it’s official.
Within the next five years, we want to become the global leader in cloud-native backend-as-a-service offers for the automation and integration of business processes specifically for medium-sized companies. Our mission is to democratize business processes and to make their creation and use as easy as possible.
Pipeforce: supported and promoted by the Munich ecosystem
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Pipeforce: We’re very pleased with Munich as a location. The startup ecosystem is outstanding and there’s a series of initiatives that do an excellent job supporting young companies in the city. For example, we received significant support from Werk1 from the beginning and also from Baystartup, which we are very grateful for. On top of that, we just recently received a six-digit amount of funding from the state of Bavaria. Within the framework of the Baytou research project, we’re working on the autonomous linking of systems and processes on our platform. Using artificial intelligence, the systems and process steps that are linked to Pipeforce link to each other autonomously to some extent to share information among themselves. You might say it’s a kind of intelligent system integration.
Munich Startup: Bike or e-scooter?
Pipeforce: Bike! A little exercise never hurts!