Who’s behind Gini?

We – that is Steffen Reitz and Holger Teske – are behind Gini. With Gini we are pursuing one great and common vision – to rid the world of paperwork! However, we can only achieve this goal with our very ambitious team, which currently comprises 29 experts from various tech and non-tech areas. What brings us all together is a unique start-up culture, characterised by the values of excellence, opportunities, as opposed to risks, commitment and responsibility, as well as cordiality.

How did you all meet?

We met at university, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), where Steffen was studying Industrial Engineering and I (Holger) was studying Information Sciences. During this time, we did not just become very good friends, but towards the end of our studies, the foundation of Gini (formerly smarchive) became the basis for us to achieve our common vision.

What is unique about your business idea?

The special thing about Gini and our solutions is documentary analysis – gleaning structured information from documents which have no specific structure – for instance a photo of a random invoice – in just a few seconds, with complete accuracy. With this data, existing processes and applications can be easily simplified. Our photo bank transfer has already become the standard of the German banking industry and enables customers, including those of Deutsche Bank, Sparkasse, ING-DiBa, HypoVereinsbank, comdirect, Sparda Bank, as well as DKB to pay invoices via Smartphone photo. For this, we received the award for FinTech Start-up of the year 2015, as well as other accolades. For our B2B partners, we are an initiator of digitalisation and enable them to provide their end users with an inspirational experience.

Who assisted you when founding the company?

While we were still at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), we were able to count on the support of various specialist sectors before and during our foundation. We are especially grateful to LMU Munich – both the Entrepreneurship Centre as well as the Start-up consultation service (especially Christoph Zinser) provided significant support and were by our side as key sparring partners. We also received additional support as part of the EXIST start-up grant.

Did you take part in pitches or business plan competitions?

We have participated in numerous pitches and business plan competitions and as a team we have enjoyed a great deal of success. Our victory at the Bitkom Innovators' Pitch was especially motivating, as was second place in the overall ranking at the Munich Business Plan competition.

What were the biggest challenges you had to face when founding the company?

Along with the typical start-up challenges, such as financing, one of the biggest hurdles was focusing on clearly defined product solutions, as well as the complexity in developing our semantic technology. In the start-up years, it was not always easy to get highly qualified staff to work for us at initially low wages.

What advice can you give to new business entrepreneurs?

Above all else they should have the courage to start! The most difficult and pivotal step in setting up a company is the first one – anyone who begins has already won. At the same time, they should seek a dialogue with start-up consultants or coaching facilities (for instance at universities or comprehensive centres such as BayStartUP) to ensure valuable support and assistance during set-up. From our point of view, it was also helpful to get started as early as possible – anyone who has come to enjoy a high standard of living and has become accustomed to a certain expenditure level will certainly find it more difficult. For that reason, we can really recommend founding a company straight after university.

Why did you choose Munich or rather Bavaria as a business location?

To develop and advance our technology, we require outstanding talent from various specialist areas, e.g. computational linguistics. This is why for us the quality and versatility of Munich's universities are important key benefits in terms of location. It was, however, also important to find a location for Gini which offered our staff the highest quality of life while at the same time being very attractive for talent from this country and from abroad.

What aims do you have for the future?

Our photo bank transfer has become the standard in the German banking industry. But that is not enough for us! We also want to replace outdated and time-consuming processes and bureaucracy in other lines of business by way of intelligent applications to achieve our vision step by step. Liberating end customers – like a magical assistant – from annoying paperwork, so that they have more time for the nicer things in life.

Where can I find out more about Gini?

More information about Gini is available on our website as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.