Who’s behind tacterion?

My brother Dr. Michael Strohmayr developed the basis for tacterion's sensorskin technology at the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and together we founded tacterion in 2015. Our respective expertise complement each other very well. Michael is in charge of technological development, whereas I – with my background in business administration and technology management studies – take care of marketing and business development. Together, we want to combine the spirit of a young start-up with the professionalism of a leading high-tech business.

How did you all meet?

As brothers, we have known each other all our lives. This is a very wonderful arrangement when it comes to running a business. We can be very open with one another and are clearly more closely connected than, for instance, company founders who become acquainted during their studies. We finely tune goals and stand by them together. This is something that our staff can sense and appreciate. Siblings really do recognise one another's strengths and weaknesses, which is why we knew that we would complement one another very well. Michael is the creative, astute inventor, while I take care of the requisite implementation of matters regarding business administration and organisation. Together we see to the strategic focus at tacterion.

What is unique about your business idea?

Thanks to our sensorskin technology, physical interaction and pressure on almost any surface – even complex and pliable shapes – can be determined, measured, and analysed. This enables product designers to create touch-sensitive equipment and machinery, as well as more intuitive operating concepts and even completely new products. sensorskin is exceptionally elastic and robust. Our goal is to make the user experience as natural as possible, by way of individual haptic interaction. Fields of application for the technology include, among others, the robotics, automotive, and consumer electronics sectors and may also expand to include medical technology in the future.

Who assisted you when founding the company?

Our spin-off was financially supported by the technology transfer programme 'Helmholtz Enterprise' of the Helmholtz Association as well as by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). We also participated in the accelerator programme of TechFounders at UnternehmerTUM Munich. Furthermore, we were a member of the lab at Entrepreneurship Centre at LMU Munich. With assistance from BayStartUP, we finally found an investor who financed tacterion's growth.

Did you take part in pitches or business plan competitions?

To present the potential for innovation of our technology, we have successfully taken part in a series of competitions. Among these were the awards for the Top3 IoT Start-up 2015 at Bitkom and the Pioneers500 Award 2016 for the Best Start-up in the Materials & Manufacturing sector. We were one of the teams who won the Munich Business Plan Competition 2016 (Phase 1). Even before our foundation, we won the Entrepreneurship Award at the European Robotics Forum 2015 and were able, as one of seven start-ups, to pitch at Bits&Pretzels 2015.

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

One of the biggest challenges for any start-up is of course financing. We are very happy to have found an investor who shares our long-term growth strategy and pursues a financing approach which was suitable for a hardware start-up with a high capital requirement. We are certain that it was the combination of the huge potential of our unique sensor technology and our capable, motivated team which won our investor over. Finding the first client or clients is certainly the second big challenge. We are delighted that we were one of the first teams to be able to benefit from the TechFounders Accelerator, through which we were able to forge contacts with companies which we are very excited about.

What advice can you give to new business entrepreneurs?

Start-ups receive plenty of tips, which oftentimes include warnings about the risks; problems are pointed out as well. Even though these tips are well-intended, don’t pay too much attention to them, as they may rob you of the energy and confidence you need. In Germany we all too often see obstacles as opposed to opportunities. Individual staying power is certainly a quality not to be underestimated when it comes to not giving up, even when there are setbacks. From our point of view, faith in your own abilities, the courage and confidence to grow from challenges, which always crop up, and continuous personal development are crucial.

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

Munich is a very good location for young businesses in the high-tech and hardware sectors as it has a worldwide reputation for high quality engineering expertise. The choice of location also reflects our ambition to make tacterion a leading global high-tech business. To achieve this, we are able to draw on a very strong infrastructure and upon our existing networks. We see great potential in the recruitment of prospective staff from leading universities and institutions. Munich also provides experienced staff from within the industry with a very high quality of life.

What aims do you have for the future?

We have taken on a great deal in 2017. Now that we have moved into our new office in the heart of Munich, we have plenty of space for new staff, so recruiting and team development is a clear focus. Together with our growing team we will be working in parallel on existing and new customer projects, and also on preparing the serial production of our products. The aim is to press ahead with even greater speed to the series-production readiness stage, so that soon everyone will be able to purchase and use products with 'tacterion inside'.

Where can I find out more about tacterion?

On our website of course, www.tacterion.com, on our YouTube channel, via Facebook, Twitter, Xing, LinkedIn, and via our Newsletter. Those interested should also check out our careers site, Xing, and LinkedIn, since we have lots of positions available.