Willing your company toward success with eyes closed is recommended highly. We encourage startup founders to use all the Jedi tactics at their disposal. Besides, self-visualization is a much touted mental technique for making desired reality happen.
At the same time… There’s something to be said for “seeing is believing”. Visual representation of the massive amount of data now at our disposal allows businesses to see literally what’s going on.
That’s where datapine comes in. This Berlin startup helps small and medium-sized companies transform data quickly and rapidly into charts, graphs, and other visuals so that information can be understood better. datapine aims to make business intelligence simple and clear, which enables teams to both make decisions and take actionable steps faster. Martin Blumenau, Managing Partner at datapine, tells us more:
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
datapine is a highly scalable SaaS tool that revolutionizes the way of performing database analysis by making even complex functionalities available to non-technical persons. We have 200 companies worldwide that use our product, from startups to larger enterprise organizations. It is the perfect tool for any team that wants access to high-level analytics, without having to involve the IT department.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
Our product is incredibly easy to use and set up. With most of our competitors, you need to involve the IT department in order to implement the tool and BI experts to use it. datapine can be set up within minutes, and with our drag-and-drop capabilities, non BI experts can analyze the data and glean insights.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
We were inspired by the history one finds in trees. Every tree stores a huge amount of data that can be discovered by analyzing the rings. Furthermore, we liked the fact that pine trees stay green throughout all seasons and never lose their leaves, representing stability and continuity.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
As is common in most startups in Berlin, we are not early risers. At datapine we typically start between 9am-10am and go home pretty late at night.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
Last Christmas, my girlfriend and I visited New York City.
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
Drink coffee on my balcony.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?
Usually over the weekend when I take my bike for a long ride. I can forget all the troubles of the previous week and become creative again. Of course 3-4 beers could be a solution as well.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I started the company with two co-founders, Jakob, who has a background in investment banking and strategy consulting, and Kenan, our CTO who has strong database knowledge. We currently have a team of 20.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
My confidence came after talking to real companies and real people. Of course, you can do market research to see if there is really a need for your solution, but when you talk to real companies to understand how their business works, what problems they have – and if you could solve this problem with your solution, this basically gives you the right motivation. Seeing that I could really add value and influence the daily decision making process in a positive manner made it possible.
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
It was a challenge to find the right balance of growing and pushing and being patient. In a startup, you have daily challenges, especially figuring out how to hire the right people at the right time.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
Frustration is part of daily business. Frustration motivates us to focus even more on the core parts, react immediately to mistakes, and take the learnings in order to do better the next time.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
I would say it’s a typical startup environment. We have a chill, surf room; a wine room; an airplane waiting room; kicker; and I’m especially proud of our spider pig.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
It is our vision to empower business users to easily handle and visualize complex data sets. Our objective is clear: 5 years from now, datapine is the first choice for small teams around the world when it comes to data visualization software. We will have positioned datapine as part of every business department’s “standard toolkit”, replacing Microsoft Excel when it comes to data discovery, analysis and reporting.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
Long bike rides as a way to clear my head and refocus my creativity.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Well, datapine is an incubated company by Rheingau Founders, which is where we got the initial money. After that, Business Angels and smaller VCs joined our Investor Board.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
The first company I founded was completely bootstrapped. In general, I would offer 3 tips:
- Focus on the team: You can have the best idea and plenty of money in a bank account, but if you have the wrong people on board, at the end of the day you won’t succeed.
- Focus on the core parts that add most value to your product / for your customers.
- MVP, MVP, MVP. On the way to success you most likely have to pivot the product a couple of times. Therefore, go to market as soon as possible and test your hypothesis. Be fast in making adaptations.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Nowadays, especially with the multiple accelerator or crowdfunding options, it is relatively easy to get started. My advice would not really be on how to get started but more on how to get the follow up round, which is way harder. Make a clear calculation – what needs to be done and how much traction you must prove to raise more money. Never forget that raising money can take a long time. Plan the first few rounds very strategically.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Usually I would say I’d invest the money in datapine or some other great startups out there, but I guess this is work related. I would use the money to tour the world and get to know other places and cultures even more.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
I push as much as I can to become a successful entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve already reached that point. Success doesn’t necessarily mean a multimillion dollar exit, but building a value-adding sustainable and growing company. This is what we are working on 24/7. We want to have an impact on customers, solve their problems, and build a sustainable company.
Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Mike Butcher – great US tech updates
- Marc Benioff – in my opinion, one of the most successful but still undercover founders in the world
- Heiko Hubertz – great guy, great spirit, showing what success could look like in Germany
Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.
Total Funding: $3M; August, first month with 6-digit revenue; datapine is now implemented by over 200 companies worldwide.
Where else should our readers find your company online?