CloudEO is a unique online portal for all those who create, interpret, and use geodata. There is a vast amount of geodata available, and there are countless applications that interpret this data. CloudEO brings them together in an easy, cost-efficient way.
ESA BIC Bavaria Manager Cornelia Gebath (CG) interviews Manfred Krischke (MK), CEO and founder at cloudeo.
CG: Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
MK: Almost everything on Earth happens in a spatial context, so information put into a spatial context is getting more and more valuable. cloudeo’s mission is to democratise access to geo-intelligence.
Our industry is currently project-based. Customers have to go through a long process of project planning, price requests and administration to receive geoinformation before they are able to start working. Also, the entry costs are still very high and many smaller companies and industries who aren’t involved in geoprojects are regularly unable to receive data access. cloudeo operates an online market platform, which significantly lowers these access barriers and makes geoservices accessible to the masses.
In December, cloudeo was selected by ESA as prime contractor for the Network of Resources, which we see not only as a great challenge and honour, but also as an opportunity to further open the geomarket and to give as many people as possible access to valuable data and services.
The cloudeo team currently counts 25 motivated employees from 10 different countries speaking almost 20 different languages.
CG: What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far?
MK: cloudeo started with a completely new vision for the industry and new concepts and price models for services. This initially led to a major marketing dilemma (such as no suppliers -> nothing to sell -> no customers – no customers -> no supplier will adapt to new business principles).
After some time, we acquired partners who were interested in our concept. They trusted in it and helped us to build our ecosystem. Today, we have a stable partner network with currently about 35 partners and over 60 products on our platform.
CG: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
MK: The first most important ingredient for success is a clear vision. A vision that stands up to all the doubts and obstacles that will get in the way of any founder sooner or later.
The second aspect is definitely a good network, including within the financial market. This is crucial because, at the beginning, investor support, access to new investors and capital are essential to take the necessary steps in our company’s development.
The last and perhaps most important point on the road to success is a motivated team that is committed to the company and its vision, that feels respected and is passionate about its work. It’s very important to build resilience, which is essential to achieve long-term success. Usually, many things will take longer than planned and many things will be different than expected. Therefore, it is important to celebrate small moments of success because the next setbacks and challenges will arise.
CG: What did you expect from ESA BIC Bavaria?
MK: When we applied for the ESA BIC programme, it was mainly to access the network and gain visibility in the industry. The financial support was highly appreciated but the provided level and the required effort was not the essential support for us. The networking was a definite plus. We had been able to observe how other companies deal with challenges and ideas in this early business phase.
CG: How did the DLR support you?
MK: Besides some financial support through the incubation project, DLR supported us with a technology transfer agreement, which allows us to promote and sell our product TimeScan, a result of the development project OPUS and a precursor to the current CODE-DE. Besides the DLR support for the EOhopS project, it also provided Terra-SARX data for academic use.
CG: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in cloudeo’s future?
MK: We would like to further develop and improve our platform. Our objective is to become THE geo market platform, connecting providers as well as customers from various industries by helping people to make use of the huge amount of valuable data available. Our plans for the near future are a successful start for the Network of Resources with ESA and the launch of our new cloudeo store version.