Why did you start your start-up, which problem do you address and how do you solve it?
Are you angry about itchy mosquito bites? Are you afraid of hurting wasp bites? heat_it will be the answer! As an add-on for the smartphone, insect bites can be treated with concentrated heat. Thanks to its small size it is always ready to hand. For the treatment the heat_it is plugged into the charging port of the smartphone, the treatment can be individually adjusted with the heat_it app. One phone charge is sufficient for over 500 applications. No additional batteries are required, which keeps the total cost of ownership and pollution low.
How did you come up with the idea of setting up your start-up?
I was kitesurfing and a friend showed me how to treat insect bites simply with heat. It worked incredibly well, but the available solutions couldn't convince me.
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome in the beginning?
We had an offer from a pharmaceutical company that was interested in our product. We had long negotiations, which were very challenging because we had to deal with a lot of uncertainties. After all, this is the first start for all of us and it was difficult to say how difficult it is to bring a medical device to market. But we are glad that we did not accept the offer in the end and we are now bringing the heat_it to the market in the way we think is best.
What was the most valuable advice someone gave you during your founding phase?
Get in contact with other startups!
What has been your biggest success so far?
That we were able to convince more than 1700 people to support our product on the German crowdfunding platform Startnext. We were very pleased about that. We were convinced that we were developing a nice product, but to see "strangers" putting down real money and supporting our startup to get heat_it was incredible.
What would you recommend to other founders?
Build a trustworthy relationship with your co-founders. These are the people you'll spend more time with than anyone else. It is very important to speak openly about everyone's motivations, strengths and weaknesses.
Where did you meet as a team?
We took part in a two-year exchange program between our German university, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and Purdue University, USA. There we learned that we can really work well together and still have a lot of fun.
Do you have an office cat/dog/turtles...?
No, but we're probably the only people celebrating insects coming into our office. We hope they bite us to test the latest version of heat_it.
Do you still have a real social life since the foundation?
Of course the working hours are often extreme, but spending time with family and friends is super important for us. Doing sports is also a high priority, it helps us to stay productive.
Who would you like to have dinner with and why?
James Dyson. He showed so much perseverance in building his vacuum cleaner, there must have been so many setbacks and now he has built a very successful engineering company.
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