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What is the basis for the good cooperation between Vicosmo and Innovapps? The questions were answered by Jasmin Kettenbach (founder and shareholder of Vicosmo GmbH) and Tobias Derucki (Managing Director of Innovapps GmbH).
How did the cooperation between Vicosmo and Innovapps start?
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – The contact came from our side. My husband Volker and Tobias know each other from university. We were already looking for a partner last year to develop software for us. We looked at various providers and came across Innovapps. As we already knew Tobias, we contacted him directly.
Our portal for market observation is still under construction. At the moment we are still supplying our customers with manual evaluations. The project was originally a rather large package: to outsource the complete software development for the portal. We already discussed this last year, but postponed it for the time being.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – I spoke with joint consultants in our Wiesbaden start-up network at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce about the topic of artificial intelligence. It was especially about Lean Startups. I was thinking directly about Vicosmo and what kind of ideas we have to cover the needs they have. I discussed internally what is possible and then we made an appointment.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – The topic of AI has been linked exactly to our needs where we are now. Alone it would have been a lot of work for us and it would certainly not have gone so fast. It was a very good support to have external help from Innovapps.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – It was about trying out how we could train the computer to help us with data processing. For our market research, we get very large amounts of data in the form of photos from supermarkets of bottles and their labels and it would be too much effort if someone had to type them in. That is why our goal was to have the computer learn wine and packaging details using OCR and AI, so that it could be used to make a preselection in a mask. When a wine is entered into our database that has been registered in the market, a pre-allocation already exists and we only check if it is correct or if things need to be added. The aim was to test which tool can be used and if it works.
The larger the amount of data is that we collect the more the topic gets exciting. The German wine market is regionally very fragmented and of course it is very interesting for our customers to see what is happening in Northern Germany or Southern Germany. The more data we collect, the more challenging it is to process, as we are currently still doing this manually. And therefore, we need the support of machine learning. Innovapps has trained the computer in this artificial intelligence.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – There was a very detailed kick-off meeting where we used examples to explain what our exact questions and challenges are. Our basic model was already known to Innovapps from our conversation one and a half years ago. This meant that we no longer had to start from scratch for this sub-project, but were able to respond very specifically and precisely to the requirements of the project.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – At this meeting, we were able to outline very precisely where and how we could become active with the topic of artificial intelligence.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – This is the right solution, because we realized that with the results that were achieved, the recognition rate of e.g. bottle types or labels is very high. If the recognition rate had been too low, this would been a considerable problem, as we would then no longer be able to process the increasing data volumes. But we can implement this solution for us. I myself was impressed by what is possible.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – With seven different types of wine bottles, we achieved a detection rate of over 99 percent for most of them based only on the bottle’s outline.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – The AI is even able to recognize the colour correctly.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – I believe that we talked very carefully about the requirements and that Innovapps understood very well what our project is about. That certainly needs to be explained. I was also impressed that we worked with trainees. They were so professional and understood immediately what we were talking about. Manuel and Nele worked very independently, tried things out and didn’t wait for input from our side, but got things going and produced results with which we could then think ahead again. The close proximity is of course also an advantage for us.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – Especially when you just have a rough outline of the requirements at the beginning, but the project develops step by step.
As a result, we have met more often than average. But of course, sitting so close together is a great advantage.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – I think a big advantage is simply this very strong customer orientation, that they really respond to our needs and concerns. What was also very good for us was that, although we had planned a large project at the beginning, we started with smaller projects. This means that we not only had the decision “all or nothing”, but we were able to develop in small steps. This is incredibly important, because such large projects means large financial expenses. And especially as a startup, when you don’t know exactly how the product will be accepted by the customers, that is also a great financial risk. Of course, we want to grow, but we can only grow if we have support that helps us in development, but in small steps. If we win the next customers, we can also tackle the next project.
I simply think Innovapps is very pragmatic, in a positive sense. I am not from this industry, but I still felt picked up. I can understand what is being talked about. And I am able to transport it to our customers.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – It is also very important to us that we don’t just throw IT gibberish around, but that we understand each other at all levels. In the business part as well as in the process-related areas or in development and also in technical integration, which are then again completely different levels. But this is exactly what is essential, otherwise you end up with a technically perfect solution that unfortunately misses the mark and does not support the business.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – We definitely have the vision to do more projects together. Personally, I have noticed how we as a team can benefit from support during development. At the moment I can’t say what the next steps are, but I think we still have a lot of exciting topics, so the next one will certainly come out of what we’ve done now.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – One of the next topics will probably be to prepare the data we will collect with the tool in the future for the first customers. With feedback from customers on what they like and what they don’t like, we will adapt the prototype and prepare it perfectly for the market.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – Innovapps did not turn our requirements into a doctoral thesis or talked for weeks about preparing a quotation, but got to work relatively quickly using the workshop format. That is why everything went relatively quick and easy.
This pragmatic balancing act between the business side and the technical side simply works at Innovapps. Both sides are very well covered. I think it is really important that the customers are picked up with their language. That is also the case with us. The wine industry is very traditional, you have to speak two languages. We work in a traditional industry and still want to sell the modern. We have to explain artificial intelligence or crowdsourcing in a way that it is understood.
Tobias Derucki (Innovapps) – I think you simply have to explain that Vicosmo collects and evaluates a lot of information automatically.
Jasmin Kettenbach (Vicosmo) – Well, I am very satisfied with the cooperation and in this respect, I would be happy if it continues and we will work together on the development of Vicosmo.