Why did you start your start-up, which problem do you address and how do you solve it?blem you address and how do you solve it?

This project has won several prizes, so we were invited to fairs to present our prototype. We soon noticed that it aroused great interest, especially in the medical field - among doctors, physiotherapists and patients.

One of our first steps towards its foundation was to participate in competitions. We also exhibited regularly at relevant trade fairs to present our product. Then we decided to participate in an accelerator programme for start-ups in the Netherlands. Our experience was that there is a greater openness to innovation there - we were able to conduct initial tests with patients, i.e. under real conditions, in a clinic from the very beginning. This would not have been possible in Germany because of the strict regulations. The Accelerator Program has also enabled us to deepen our business competencies and focus our business model more closely. Originally, we had several target markets in mind, but then we decided to concentrate on the rehabilitation sector.

How did you come up with the idea to found Cynteract?

We have always been very interested in new technologies and followed the development of VR headsets. But very soon we realized that it is quite uncomfortable to use controller / keyboard and mouse to navigate through the programs. When a friend suffered a stroke, he had to do monotonous exercises to heal his injury. So we decided to find a solution to the problem, especially to motivate young people to do their exercises more often and with fun. That is why we combined our idea with the aim of helping young people to heal their injuries better.

What is special about your business model, what do you do differently?

The focus is on motivating patients for the training. With the help of gamification, the patients train with joy and almost forget that they are in rehab. Furthermore, we offer therapists the possibility to follow the progress of the patients during the exercises. It is very important to us that the games, despite their easily understandable concept, present a certain challenge for adult users. We develop the games so that they are fun for us as well. The wearable size of the glove allows patients to exercise not only in the hospital but also at home.

What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome in the beginning?

Starting up a healthcare or medtech start-up means facing the big challenge of certification. For a medical device, extensive risk assessments and tests have to be carried out. Since we ourselves do not have a medical background, it was initially not clear to us which standards had to be met and how to obtain approval for an electronic product. Unfortunately, even advice on the regulations for a medical device is difficult to obtain. Together with technical experts, we then explored the market and received help with the regulations. It was an advantage for us to have exhibited at international trade fairs and events such as "MEDICA" or "REHACARE".

What was the most valuable advice someone gave you during the founding phase?

"Concentrate on
trade fairs that are relevant for you. Concentrate on an MVP in the development of the product. Concentrate on a specific market.

What would you recommend to other founders?

Networking is absolutely essential for a start-up, so it makes sense to discuss your idea with other interested parties at start-up events or in cooperations such as the "Digital Hubs". We are also happy to share our experience and answer questions personally.

Where did you get to know each other as a team?

We have an interdisciplinary structure to bundle the necessary competences. The original "Jugend Forscht" team has scattered, but in return Gernot met Manuel, who lived in the same building during his studies at RWTH Aachen University - as a computer scientist he ideally complements Gernot's skills as a mechanical engineer: Manuel is responsible for the software, Gernot for the hardware.

8. do you have an office cat / dog / turtle...?

Only in the virtual environment. :D

Suppose you were the governing mayor of Aachen for one day, what would you change?

Promotion of business start-ups and accessibility with financial support, with test areas, with presence and web advertising.

Who would you like to have dinner with and why?

With worldmakers like Bill Gates or Elon Musk, and on the other hand with people from politics like Angela Merkel, to influence the world together in a positive direction. Because there are many problems to solve, for which both sides have to become active.


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