New month, new startup: As our startup of the month May we chose openHandwerk, a solution to digitize crafts enterprises and to help craftsmen communicate with their customers.  Here are 10 questions to openHandwerk.

1. Why did you found your startup, which problem do you address and how do you solve it?

openHandwerk is a software as a service solution for crafts enterprises and service companies – for more efficiency. We are open for all kind of trades, for smaller up to medium-size enterprises. Beyond that we support enterprises in communication with their customers and optimize processes in crafts enterprises. We bring cloud computing to the craft and construction sector, a market power of more than 1,000,000 craft businesses alone only in Germany with a low digital level and considerable potential to the top. Craft has golden ground.

2. What gave you the idea to found openHandwerk?

openHandwerk was developed from a need. During the digitalization of my craft business I was looking for a cloud solution. Another important aspect was the mapping of processes and the automation of recurring processes. Since I could not find a mature solution for my problem, I animated our in-house programmer to develop our own solution. On an initially simple order management with document management, a powerful craftsman’s software was developed in the cloud, which handles all operative workflows in the office and on the construction site.

3. What is special about your business-model, what are you doing differently?

openHandwerk is a classic SaaS model. We generate monthly licenses from users. What makes us special is that there are no or only a few solutions in the craft and construction sector that combine the complete workflow and invoicing in one cloud solution. We are developing into a multicloud. We want to map apps, microservices and procurement via manufacturers and wholesalers. With our cooperation and our strategy we are on the right way to make our solution unique on the market.

Martin Urbanek,
Gründer und CEO openHandwerk

4. Which were the biggest challenges you needed to overcome in the beginning?

We had to learn to understand how craftsmen and crafts enterprises tick. Which prices we can push through on the market, how we win the crafts enterprises for us. What do the craftsmen want, what not? It was not only the biggest challenge, but probably also the most expensive experience. In retrospect, this learning was priceless for us.

5. What was the most valuable advice somebody gave to you during your foundation phase?

We were very lucky to get quick feedback from our first customers, the craftsmen. Through our customers from the first hour many useful features have been implemented and we were able to save a lot of time and money in development.

6. What was your greatest success so far?

We have won some prizes, we have happy customers, which means the most to us. Even if it sounds a little hard: Our biggest success so far, however, has been that a billion-dollar wholesaler liked our idea that much –  he decided to copy our solution. This was the proof of concept for us and puts us in the charming position that all his competitors are forced to move.

7. What is your biggest need/your next challenge?

In the next step we are about to open our solution for procurement. Procurement is a logical conclusion in our workflow. We talk to manufacturers and wholesalers to connect with us. The first wholesalers are currently being connected.

8. If you could start all over again, would you do it the exact same way?

When I see what functions and features we have enrolled as a young company from our own resources, what cooperations we have already concluded and what we still have in the pipeline – I don’t think I would want to start again from scratch. We had the good fortune to call our solution openHandwerk and are moving in the direction of open MultiCloud. That sounds like a great strategy, but it was more of a lucky shot. We were also very lucky to be able to digitise the office and management in a craft business first. That’s what makes our solution so powerful today.

9. Do you still have a proper social live since the founding?

We see digitalization as a tool to reach our goals. If you use digitization correctly, you create the necessary freedom. You don’t have to be afraid of it, you have to open up to it and absorb the added value.I am a very process-driven person, at least at work, and that is what digitalisation makes possible for me. So yes, I have a proper social life.

10. Who is the superbrain in your team and what is his/her superpower?

Our superbrain is definitely our CTO Sascha, who takes care of the solution from zero, and who is involved in almost every function. Have a look at our solution and you will understand.

Check the company’s profile here.

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INSIDE is the magazine of the German Startups Association. The German Startups Association represents the German startup-ecosystem and campaigns for entrepreneur-friendly conditions. Through the dialogue with political decision makers, the Startups Association offers suggestions with the aims to foster a culture of self-employment and to decrease the barriers for founders. The Startup Association advocates for innovation as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and carries the startup-mentality into society. As a network, the German Startups Association connects entrepreneurs, startups and their friends with each other.

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