ESA BIC Bavaria alumnus Geocledian developing ag-Knowldege, which is positioned as a low cost, global field monitoring service for web applications. Core is an easy to use REST API (Application Programming Interface) allowing web portals, mobile apps and enterprise applications to provide cost efficient crop monitoring at field level to their customers without having Earth oberservation (EO) and GEO knowledge. It allows easy documentation of field activities complemented by notification and alarming services in case of irregularities.
ESA BIC Manager Cornelia Gebath (CG) interviews Stefan Scherer (SS), Managing Director at Geocledian.
CG: Hello Stefan, many thanks for your time. Please give us a sneak peek of your product and the team behind it.
SS: We are a startup that specialises in designing and providing geospatial cloud services. Our goal is to provide high-quality, easy-to-use and low-cost information products based on open satellite data, primarily Copernicus and other sources. We (Stefan, Toni and Florian) are a team of remote-sensing and IT experts with a strong research background. Stefan, the founder and CEO of Geocledian, has 25 years of professional experience in software development, satellite remote sensing, EU agriculture subsidies management, business development and entrepreneurship. Toni and Florian have in-depth technical domain expertise. They worked together on remote sensing applications for agriculture at the University of Munich (LMU).
Our main product is ag|knowledge. ag|knowledge is a service for mobile and web applications, allowing easy access and integration of satellite remote-sensing data into agricultural applications. The API provides access to field monitoring products for registered parcels. The data for each parcel will be immediately updated as soon as new measurements are available.
CG: What has been your company’s biggest challenge so far?
SS: One of our biggest challenges so far has been to scale up from a small demo that customers tested and liked to an operational application that can be used by many customers in an everyday manner to access the data of ten thousand satellite images for a massive number of parcels around the globe. Achieving this in parallel to developing new products is challenging!
CG: Can you explain the three main ingredients of your recipe for success?
SS: We have a very unique composition of team members with distinct expertise specialities, which is ideal for a startup like us. Additionally, we involved our customers very early in the product development cycle. This is important because it helps us to understand the customer needs and provides us with valuable feedback for product development. Another important point for agile product development is our flexibility with short development cycles. This is necessary in order to be able to adapt to rapidly-changing situations.
CG: What did you expect from ESA BIC Bavaria?
How did the initiative and its network help you to kick-start your business case?
SS: We expected support from ESA BIC in building up our company and making it fit for the market. We expected feedback from ESA BIC and others from the network on our product, plans and company organisation.
It was very valuable to get feedback on our product and company organisation as well as plans for the future. We used the funding to launch important projects and developments. We needed this support in precisely this phase of our company. It was great to meet other entrepreneurs in similar fields and exchange experiences in building a successful startup.
CG: How did the DLR support you?
SS: DLR supported us by providing potential customer contacts and we took part in a Radar workshop, which was very valuable.
CG: Let’s reach for the stars – what is going to happen in Geocledian’s future?
SS: We are growing! We are getting good customer feedback and now we have to keep pace with the growing expectations and demands. Luckily, we were successful in acquiring new funds for further developments, allowing us to invest in big data management and analytical techniques. Geocledian will transform from a platform for open data provision into a data analytics and service platform with valuable new products and brand-new services. We will upscale our product into a global tool that will attract more customers, as we are very well-positioned in this market niche.
Did you enjoy this interview with the outstanding startup? Interested people can get into contact with Geocledian via mail. Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with ESA BIC Bavaria startups on our AZO Blog.