Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Hannes Hanusch, Unikube: We are Hannes Hanusch (36, BA International Business Management), Michael Schilonka (31, Bsc Computer Science) and Robert Stein (29, Bsc Computer Science), the founders of Unikube. Michael and I know each other through family – our wives are cousins. Robert and Michael met while studying computer science, and have always enjoyed philosophizing about the major issues involved in software development together.
When it comes to software development, we’re absolute cloud native enthusiasts. Cloud native means developing applications that are entirely meant for cloud environments. And by thinking a outside the box, we came up with the idea to implement our own platform to simplify access to cloud native development with Kubernetes. We published version 1.0 of our SaaS platform and CLI (command line interface) under the name Unikube in September as an open source project, which we’re particularly proud of.
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Hannes Hanusch: It’s not that easy to sum up the challenge that our product Unikube overcomes. Especially if you aren’t talking to software developers or DevOps engineers. Put very simply, what Unikube does is help developers concentrate on what they do best: write code! Thanks to Unikube, developers no loner have to learn how to work with the complex Kubernetes logic or deal with infrastructure. Unikube standardizes and automates the process of application development for service-based architectures that run on Kubernetes. What that means, among other things, is significantly more efficient software development, faster onboarding, better testing and error-free deployments.
A disruptively good solution
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Hannes Hanusch: We can deny that in good conscience. Our idea in this form truly isn’t on the market yet! There are some isolated solutions and also a few other approaches that solve parts of the problem. But to date, we’ve yet to find a platform that truly thinks through the process from end to end. We often ran into challenges when developing with Kubernetes, which is what led us to look for a solution. First of all, it was to make work easier for our own developers. And because the solution was so disruptively good and the cloud native approach is on the rise in software development, that prompted the idea to make the platform accessible to others as well.
Munich Startup: Was there a point when you nearly failed?
Hannes Hanusch: To be honest, searching for investors was and is something that has been extremely stressful and time-consuming. Because our product is very complex, you can’t explain it in a few sentences during a pitch. And even experienced developers can have a tough time understanding how Unikube actually works. But nevertheless, we’ve never let failed investor meetings get us down. We always knew: Our idea is extremely good and we’re going to make many teams very happy with our Unikube platform in the future. That means the project is still bootstrapped, so you have to really think about where you spend money as a result.
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Hannes Hanusch: In one year, we would like to have the first 50 pilot projects on the platform and be at a point where these pilot customers never want to develop without Unikube ever again. Ideally, we’ll have found our product-market fit.
The aim is for Unikube to become a standard in cloud native development
In five years, we would like to have expanded internationally and to also be active in a market like the US, hopefully with a three-digit number of employees. The aim is for Unikube to have become a recognized standard in cloud native development. On top of that, we’re big fans of open source development and want Unikube to play a significant role in the next five years in making more rapid progress with projects and in making these projects more accessible to co-developers.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Hannes Hanusch: In general, Munich is in a very good position when it comes to its startup scene. Especially for the B2B and enterprise software sector, Munich probably even has an advantage over Berlin. We’re also inspired by other startups in Munich, such as Celonis, Personio, Demodesk and Userlane. All of these startups also work with infrastructures that run on Kubernetes.
Munich Startup: Hidden champion or shooting star?
Hannes Hanusch: We see ourselves more as a hidden champion, because our product isn’t that easy to understand at first. We aren’t selling anything that you can physically touch. Getting people excited about complex technologies requires a whole lot more staying power and drive. Which we have. Companies like Celonis have demonstrated that complex B2B products that require a great deal of explanation can seriously take off. A time will come when every software developer in Germany will know what Unikube is. We feel confident about that.