“Being wrong is great—it means I’m learning something new”: Fireside Chat with Start-up Founders Damian Heimel and Maximilian Hasler

Fireside Chat Damian Max 1

Last Wednesday, Damian and Max, two distinguished founders from previous TechFounders cohorts, joined as special guests for our online Fireside Chat. Tailored for our current program start-ups, these sessions offer a deep dive into the lived experiences of our alumni, creating an interactive space for the exchange of learnings from successes and f* ups. The divergent paths of Damian and Max provided a vivid glimpse of the varied courses a start-up journey can take.

“We built a company with a product that was hardly scaling”

Damian Heimel

Damian Heimel, the co-founder of deevio, shared the evolution of his machine-learning-based visual inspection company, which culminated in an acquisition last year. Reflecting on his departure earlier this year to pursue new ventures and angel investing, Damian highlighted the invaluable lessons learned from product development and facing the stark reality of their start-up’s growth constraints. “We built a company with a product that was hardly scaling,” he revealed, highlighting the excessive customization required for each client. 

Despite the challenges, the acquisition of deevio by Wenglor Sensoric is a testament to the company’s innovative impact and a clear indicator of the demand and effectiveness of their solution in the industry.

TF 7983© Maximilian Prechtel

Damian in TechFounders Start-up Demo Day 2022

Max’s journey with KONUX paints a contrasting picture of steady growth and expansion in the transportation industry through their AI and IIoT solutions for railway infrastructure management. The scale-up has been on an upward trajectory since 2014, now boasting over 150 employees and spreading its customer base across Europe and Asia.

Despite the success, the co-founder recognises that, in hindsight, certain decisions could have been handled differently. “We were trying to grow too fast which was challenging to the team dynamic for a while” he shared and emphasised the importance of having a diverse and driven founding team to stay steady through turmoils.

"The entire founding team must rally around a common goal: to build the most awesome company ever existing - and work every day towards that”

Maximilian Hasler

Key Learnings & Tips from the Founders

🏢🖼️ Company Culture

  • Company culture is not a one-time team event; it needs to be continuously nurtured.

  • Don’t just collect feedback, but act on it: “Nothing is more frustrating than raising concerns or giving feedback and nothing is done about it.” Damian pointed out.

  • A successful team thrives on diversity. Combining a mix of creative, analytical, emotional, and unwavering personalities cultivates resilience and fuels innovation within the company.

🗺️⚓ Leadership

  • Leading by example and listening to your employees is crucial.

  • Be as transparent as possible, align with your team and remind them why we’re doing what we’re doing.

  • Embrace errors as opportunities for growth: “Being wrong is great—it means I’m learning something new” - Max remarked.

🤹‍♂️⚡ Founding Team Dynamics

  • The strength of a founding team resides in their unwavering commitment. Each member must embrace a relentless ‘get-shit-done’ attitude.

  • Overcoming adversity: “Knowing we’re building something great, something that adds value, kept me going,” Damian shared, offering encouragement to those facing negative phases.

  • Max added how dedication toward joint vision fuels collective progress and resilience: "The entire founding team must rally around a common goal: to build the most awesome company ever existing - and work every day towards that”

Our alumni’s willingness to impart their learnings to our current cohort is what makes our community strong and vibrant. A heartfelt thank you to Damian and Max for their valuable contributions and to all the participants who make these events so fruitful.

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Written by

Jasmin blau

Jasmin Jurvakainen

Marketing & PR Manager