Working in our hub means working with national as well as with international startups. One startup came all the way from America. I met with Luke and Andy from our Batch 3 alumni peruse.io/NOAM to find out what made them come all the way to Austria.
weX: You came all the way from the US to take part in a program for startups. What made you decide for weXelerate?
Luke: I have a very personal relationship with Vienna. During my studies I have spent some time in Vienna at WU Wien in 2006 and I always wanted to come back. Many years later this wish should come true (laughs). peruse.io/NOAM won the Wien Energie innovation challenge and became a wildcard startup for Batch 3.
weX: Are there programs for startups in the US?
Luke: Yes. Especially in Silicon Valley, which is the epicentre of the startup scene.
weX: What are the main differences between an American startup program and the weXelerate program?
Luke: The main difference is that almost all programs in the US take equity from the startups. Furthermore, most programs come with an investment, which means that they take part in the startup. In general, any city with more than 400.000 people has their own startup ecosystem and programs. But what I was really surprised of was that the role of innovation manager is quite common here, a role that can not be found as such in the US. But the business environment of the US and Austria are basically the same. This made it relatively easy for us to adapt. It also came in handy when talking to customers or investors.
weX: How did peruse.io/NOAM start out?
Luke: Andy and I met at the university of Illinois. After finishing our studies we went separate ways at first, worked in different companies. However, for me working in a startup was always something I wanted to do. To cut a long story short, peruse.io/NOAM started doing business in July 2018. Andy and I are the founders and set up our business in San Francisco.
Andy: I work remotely from New York.
weX: What service do you offer?
Andy: Basically we have created a bot that understands business documents and gets employees answers. We offer the solution as app as well as slack bot. We were basically looking for a simple interface. No one has to see the more difficult technical tools that are working in the background.
Luke: We experienced how big the need was for the automation of manually entered data. The way we access data and documents is the way we did more than 20 years ago. We were looking for a solution to give people fast access to unstructured data that can be found in companies. In our experience the problems occur in companies of all sizes. In general, the bigger the company, the bigger the problems.
Andy: Only real small companies of 2 or 3 people do not have these problems. There every person knows where to find what.
weX: I guess it was therefore not too difficult for you to get clients?
Luke: That’s right. The funny thing is that often we meet with one department. We are asked to solve a particular problem or case for them. Soon other departments in the same company hear of our services and ask for our help as well.
weX: What about your time at weXelerate. Has that been of any help?
Luke: Yes, definitely. We are even thinking about opening an affiliate here in Austria. In the four months of the program we talked with many different companies. Wien Energie is already a customer. We have talks with companies from different sectors such as finance, insurance and engineering. The great thing is that our software is available in English and in German. So it should be easy to get to the German and Swiss market as well.
weX: Well, I keep my fingers crossed that we soon can welcome you to Austria. Thanks for the inetrveiw.
Andy, Luke: Thanks. Anytime, the pleasure was all ours.