Treasure hunting in Europe's industrial jungle

Friedrich Arnold
Tobias Grabmeier

In our first blog post we promised a more in-detail reflection on the question Why and How we are building new companies in the space of energy, infrastructure, mobility and health.

Start with Why

There's no denying: digital transformation is a reality that affects everything. Whether it's as profane as our daily commute, the way we track workouts or nutrition, or the way we interact with companies as consumers - every single aspect of our life is interwoven with gadgets and services enabled by digital technologies.

At XCNT we believe that we can utilize digital in order to change things for the better. That drives us to create better experiences. Improve customer relationships, to solve real problems.

So where do we find these real problems we want to solve. Well, originating from Germany, a country of engineers, we believe that there is a vast number of new business opportunities in the industrial and manufacturing sector in Europe. If only companies in this space realized the possibilities related to deep tech, the ability to establish a valuable feedback loop from a direct-to-consumer channel or the ability to gain unforeseen productivity gains through analytics in production-heavy processes. Unfortunately, making the step into the digital age has turned out to be super hard for established companies that have mastered incremental innovation to perfection but are reluctant to make radical changes. Meanwhile, industrial startups are having an equally hard time because entry barriers in this sector are much higher than for eCommerce or service-oriented startups which is why they often stay under the radar.

We observe an ever-growing gap between those companies that fail to make the leap and those that manage to adapt. Digitize or Die has been a popular marketing slogan of digitization consultants across the board. While it might be good to raise some eyebrows, we don't take the message it contains lightly. Because we are convinced that the wealth of our European societies depends on the ability of the industrial and manufacturing sector to take this leap into the digital age.

At the same time the continued existence of our civilization on this planet hinges on whether we are able to turn our wealth into sustainable wealth. We believe tech plays a key role in solving this challenge. So ultimately, whether or not we successfully navigate digital transformation has become an existential question to our generation and we refuse to wait for others to change things.

A treasure hunt for assets and problems

In order to succeed we embrace our curiosity and empathy to identify opportunities for new products and business models. We think of ourselves as treasure hunters who are looking for unique or unused assets of industrial and manufacturing companies that will benefit from building digital business models on top of them. And we are looking for problems those companies, their customers, or even totally different user groups have that can be solved by our approach.

We believe that those assets, be it existing products, technologies, customer relationships, or data of industrial companies, can be leveraged through deep tech, digital business models, and entrepreneurial action if set up as a new company. This is our sweet spot. Call it ‘greenfield innovation’ with a twist. In the end of the day, we are a European Company Builder that matches human needs with better and more resourceful technology in order to create impactful businesses.

We try to build an innovation engine through which we systematically test demand, feasibility and viability of our business ideas in a time- and resource-saving manner. Once an idea is born it enters a journey of experimentation and adaption. We want to make sure we stay on track by applying our empathy, business, and tech skills with a radical focus on user needs. Because there’s simply no value in impractical tech-first products or services people refuse to use.

Once we know that we're on to something, we spin-off the idea as a new venture that continues to grow in the fashion of a startup.

Besides all this, at XCNT we foster a work environment that is open, respectful, and rewarding for independent and motivated digital talents. We encourage entrepreneurship of our teams by giving them autonomy and their fair share in the successes of our ventures.

We know all talk is cheap and the things we are aiming for are actually hard to do, but we really want to set those ambitious goals and are ready to be measured by our results.

Please reach out if you want to give feedback and maybe encourage us to proceed on our mission. We're always interested in meeting like-minded people and learning something new. And who knows, maybe we will even work together on an awesome idea soon! Shoot us an email, or connect via LinkedIn. We're also on Instagram.

Written by
Friedrich Arnold

It was when Friedrich studied Mechanical Engineering in Munich that he founded his first company, an innovation agency focused on technology scouting in the fields of electromobility and renewables. He left this company after five years and went to San Francisco to earn an MBA. He also tried his luck with two startups in the Silicon Valley. Back in Germany, he spent the past three years driving the digital transformation of German SMEs as a project lead at etventure. In his spare time, Friedrich loves to travel the world and go on adventures. From sailing to hiking - as long as it’s outdoors.

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Tobias Grabmeier

Tobias founded his first company, a web agency, just when he began studying Electrical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich, and later shifted to building digital products with startups and corporates, last as a product manager at etventure. His passion for film and storytelling also led him to co-produce tech web series Technically Single.

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