Bitrock co-founder Lucas Kerscher.
© Bitrock

Bitrock Builds New Digital Business Models

The digitization of German SMEs is a major challenge – and is something companies often aren’t able to handle on their own. The Munich venture builder Bitrock helps them out by assisting them in building new digital business models. Bitrock co-founder Lucas Kerscher explains how that works exactly in our interview.

Munich Startup: Who are you and what does Bitrock do? Please introduce yourselves!

Lucas Kerscher, Bitrock: We are Marc Mielmann and Lucas Kerscher, both 39 years old, former management consultants and experienced startup founders. We met through a friend who is a private equity investor. As soon as we realized that we had similar ideas and beliefs, that was the kickoff for Bitrock.

Bitrock Digital Partners is an independent venture builder based in Munich. Together with established companies from various industries, Bitrock builds new digital business models with significant sales potential. That covers both products and services as well as the team and organizational unit – such as a new department or a new company. And Bitrock is happy to take on entrepreneurial risk with its partners and holds shares of the mutually founded new company or receives a share of the turnover.

Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?

Lucas Kerscher: We’re not a startup in the classic sense. As a venture builder, we build digital business models of the future for our customers. For them, it’s a matter of keeping up with the digital future and of ensuring tomorrow’s growth in order to remain competitive on an international level. This is one of the biggest challenges faced by Germany’s SMEs at the moment. Bitrock’s mission is to accompany SMEs in the DACH region on this journey and to support them in the digitization and building of new digital business models and ventures. We believe the entrepreneurial future is digital and that this will become a basic requirement.

Bitrock is bringing “a breath of fresh air” to sluggish companies

On this journey to the digital future, we also solve basic problems, such as the diversification of the existing business model and the lack of in-house expertise, experience and capacities. At the same time, we organize long-term knowledge transfer to the company and bring a “breath of fresh air” to organizations, some of which are quite sluggish. We make sure that the structures, processes and mindset of the company are set up so all of the elements that were mentioned can be carried forward successfully in the future as well.

Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!

Lucas Kerscher: It actually is. Three essential elements make us stand apart in particular. The first is our entrepreneurial approach. This means that we’re so confident about our digital business models that we’re ready to invest our working hours for a share of the turnover, for instance.

The second aspect is the combination of two worlds. The Bitrock team unites long-standing experience in the corporate world with concentrated startup expertise from the founding of many of our own ventures.

The last and probably most important element is our platform approach. Bitrock sees itself as a platform with access to a wide range of networks. Because one individual company almost never has the best specialists in all fields, we’ve gone with the approach of getting the right partners on board for each project. A development partner for IIoT platforms, for example, isn’t automatically the best partner for developing an online marketplace. With this platform mindset, we always make sure that the best possible team with the greatest expertise works on a project.

“We tripled in size from 2020 to 2021”

Munich Startup: What have been your three biggest challenges so far?

Lucas Kerscher: The first challenge is always with us and will be for years to come. It’s the willingness, openness and courage of the management teams at our partner companies to take this undoubtedly new but also necessary journey of developing new digital business models.

The second major challenge was and is our rapid growth. We tripled in size from 2020 to 2021. This has made it necessary, in addition to all of the customer projects, to establish certain structures, introduce processes and hand off a great deal of tasks and subject areas.

The third aspect is competing for top talent, which is where we and our ventures are obviously vying with the world’s big players like Google or Apple. For long-term success, our employees are the most important factor.

Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?

Lucas Kerscher: In one year, we would like to have continued to grow and to have also built our own first assets.

In five years, we want to be the market leader in our area in the DACH region and be the go-to address for all SMEs when it comes to new digital business models and ventures. Moreover, we would like to have established our own portfolio of different assets by then.

“Especially for B2B startups, Munich is the right place to be”

Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?

Lucas Kerscher: I think Munich is excellent as a startup location. Especially for B2B startups, Munich is the place to be. I think it’s due to the good ecosystem that’s been created here and that benefits from three aspects in particular. First, you have the startup community, which is supported by innovation centers like UnternehmerTUM and the LMU Entrepreneurship Center. Secondly, Bavaria is known to have lots of capital available, which provides excellent conditions for rapidly growing startups. The third is industry. Bavaria is a very strong state economically and is known as a location for industry, which definitely has a positive impact on the startup scene.

Munich Startup: Get up early in the morning or pull all-nighters?

Lucas Kerscher: All-nighters without a doubt. Even though I do always get up early because my daughter wakes me up, I usually wind up working through things at a late hour that had been set aside.