Event Fabric ist unser Stuttgarter Startup der Woche. Das Team um Mariano Guerra hat ein flexibles und anpassbares Echtzeit-Dashboard zur einfachen Visualisierung von wichtigen Unternehmensdaten und -prozessen in Echtzeit entwickelt. Ihr möchtet mehr über Event Fabric erfahren? Dann lest die Startup-Story hier in unserem Blog (in Englisch).
Hi Mariano, what exactly does Event Fabric and how did you the idea for the company evolve?
Event Fabric provides a tool to create, publish and evolve real-time visualizations, consuming data from any source, without requiring programming knowledge. The resulting visualizations or dashboards as we usually call them can be displayed on any device, like smartphones, tablets, PCs and TVs.
We arrived at the current product starting from two different ideas we had when we started 5 years ago. My idea was to build a „Twitter for the Internet of Things“. One of our partners at the time needed a tool to display geolocated data on many devices in real-time for a customer. We created a solution for that customer but with the goal of growing a product out of it. After that we used it to contact potential customers and we started working on our second project which needed to integrate business process and IT infrastructure data on dashboards with custom visualizations. At the end of the second project we decided to build a prototype that would work for any organization integrating business and operational data. The prototype later grew to become Event Fabric.
In which situations or areas do your customers use Event Fabric? Could you please elaborate on a few examples?
The areas vary since it’s a generic data integration and visualization solution, here are the ones where our customers use Event Fabric:
We are also currently working on prototypes for the following areas: wine production, parking buildings and flight data.
You are a quite small team and both of you founders are not originally from Germany. What were the biggest challenges for you while starting up in Stuttgart? Where would you like to see more support for international entpreneurs?
The biggest challenges for us were, as Donald Rumsfeld once said, the „Unknown Unknowns“. There were things we knew we didn’t know, we could prioritize them and search for help, ask people we know and finally learn about them. But there are things we weren’t even aware of, for example taxes, places we had to register, regulations we had to follow an so on. For this, I would love some kind checklist or flow chart you can follow by replying simple questions to know what you have to do, which options are available, pros/cons for each option and how to get them done.
The closest thing I know similar to this is, from what I’ve heard, in the Startup Chile program, where on the first day of the program someone is assigned to you and he/she goes through all the steps with you and at the end of the day/week you are finished with the setup and can focus on your idea, knowing everything else is taken care of and with a clear picture of what steps you have to take later.
A challenge related to that one is that we have been only here for the last 5 years, coming from a far away country like Argentina means that we have no network of people we can ask for advice, help or introductions. In this I would like to thank Kathleen and Johannes from Accelerate Stuttgart, Harald from Coworking0711 and Moritz Haarmann who helped us when we were getting started and had lots of basic questions. For this reason and trying to help improve the local ecosystem we created the International Entrepreneurs Meetup after we founded our company to help international people who don’t feel secure enough with their German to get the initial help they need to get started in Stuttgart. I also maintain a list of English friendly resources that may be useful.
Finally we are still looking for mentors, people that went through similar situations as we do who want to share their insights with us, some kind of founders self-help group would be nice. There are many online platforms where you can register and they promise you can network there, but since there are so
many the value is diluted. We have registered in all the ones we have found with little success. I think the problem is not technical, it’s a network effect problem, if there is not enough people in the same place and are active then no platform will work no matter how cool it is.
If you would start Event Fabric again, which decisions would you definitely make again and which things would you do differently?
Things we would do again: Focus on the product, put the product in front of users and listen to their
feedback as early and as often as possible, adapt and try again. At the same time, keep your product vision in sight and be ready to say no when some requirement doesn’t fit your vision. Keep costs low, it gives you more time and less need to do consulting or look for funding.
Don’t be afraid to cancel early versions if something else is needed. We did it twice and we are happy with what we achieved at the end. On the other hand, be careful with starting from scratch just as an excuse to use some cool technology or to avoid having to do the other „uncomfortable“ tasks that a startup requires, like contacting customers, meetings, demos, documentation etc.
Things we would do differently: Have a vesting contract or similar for the founders where it’s clear how much time each one will invest, objectives to achieve and what happens if someone is not working enough or not achieving the objectives that were defined.
Learn and apply traction techniques earlier, grow a list of interested people, even if the product is not ready for them. But once it’s ready you can start contacting people faster and they already know what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to set a price, even if the price is wrong it’s better than no price. It’s easy to know if your price is low or high based on people’s behavior, reactions and feedback.
Look actively for mentors, their advice can save you time and headaches. We are still looking by the way 🙂
Thank you very much Mariano for these super interesting insights into Event Fabric and all the best for the future!