Our first founding team since the beginning of 97. Club
Immerse yourself and experience the spirit of founding.
Our projects to empower people in entrepreneurship is the core of our work and our mission.
In May 2022 we had our first Disrupt2Win Workshop in Schweinfurt. More than 60 students applied for a place in our 3-day workshop, where it was not only about winning, but about being taught the tools of founding coaches at the same time.
What was it about? We generate ideas from our own companies, which we ourselves see promising for new start-ups. So we decided to take care of a special situation in the field of IT refurbishment.
We described the initial situation as an impulse as follows…
...every year, more than 160 million new laptops are manufactured and every day 160,000 "old" laptops are disposed in the EU alone. These results contribute to excessive resource consumption, climate change, conflict mining, human rights issues, pollution, privacy issues, and e-waste.
After idea generation and testing, the proposal was taken up from the Circular Economy area. In our current linear economy, resources are wasted due to a short useful life of products and gigantic amounts of waste are produced. This way of doing business is not only inefficient in terms of resource use, but also has a significant negative impact on global ecosystems. Circular Economy as the key to sustainable transformation and a big chance for new business models. Subsequently, the workshop groups started 3 days in the development of a pitch deck.
The days were inspiring and it was a great pleasure with which passion and mindset all students were working on their ideas. In the end, Fabian Kunzmann and his team won the workshop and were accompanied by the club for 16 weeks in order to be ready to found a company. With all our experience and help, a bit more ready to found a company than probably any other start-up. With his new business partner David Alt, the company „Circeable“ was launched on 17.01.2023.
Read their own exciting story in their own words and get a feeling for the wonderful way of starting your entrepreneurship:
Our way from the idea to actually founding a company.
Lean business modeling (and how not to do it):
Everyone tells you that building a company is a marathon rather than a sprint.
That’s true for a lot of aspects but especially for really identifying the problems of your potential customers and building a solution tailored to their needs.
That’s what building a company based on the lean business model is all about. But especially if you’re using the lean methods for the first time it can happen quite fast that you get excited about your idea too fast and forget to stick to the methodology.
We had to experience this the hard way by spending too little time really asking our customers what they need and how they would want the solution to look like. That cost us a lot of time because after the first assumptions were made in the weeks after the Disrupt2Win workshop, we focused on building the solution we thought would be the ideal one rather than proving that with customer feedback.
In one of our biweekly meetings with the 97.club we then realized that if we would continue on that path, we would fail. Therefore we decided to take a step back, validate all of our assumptions and continue building on that.
That was a turning point that had a significant influence on the course of our development phase. Because after conducting a lot of interviews with potential early adopters it became clear that the problem we identified was definitely real, but our solution wasn’t fit to actually solve the problem. So we had to change our business model quite drastically. At this point we were once again really glad to be in a position to get real time feedback and guidance from professional industry experts of the 97.club.
We identified the real pain points and figured out ways to solve them step by step while reassuring every step based on customer feedback. In the end we found a solution that was easier-to-use for our customers, still sustainable and data-secure and much more scalable than our first idea.
New name, different team, same mission.
The most important thing for successfully transitioning an idea to an actual company is to find the right group of people to do it.
This is also something that we experienced ourselves. As exciting as the idea may sound in the first place, founding a start-up isn’t for everyone. Founding a company can be quite frustrating at times and it takes a lot of patience, adaptability and self-responsibility to stay motivated after the first problems occur, which seem to be unsolvable at times.
That’s why we had to re-identify ourself as a team and find the members the most complementary to each other who would be able and willing to continue working on our mission.
In the end we decided as a team that Fabian together with David (who then joined the team) would be the ones who will continue the journey together. The other remaining members of the team (Lukas, Marvin and Fred) decided to focus either on their studies or to pursue other career possibilities. Thanks again for your work and dedication during our time together. We wouldn’t have been able to continue without your help in the first place.
New identity and new name:
New idea, new team … time for a new name.
After our turning point in regards to our business model as well as within our team, we decided that it was a good time to change our name as well.
Circlee is now called “Circable”, but the mission stays the same.
We want to fight the worldwide problem of e-waste by enabling companies to dispose and procure IT hardware in a sustainable way by providing them a solution that is easy-to-use, data-safe and cost-effective.
Successful pitch, investment and official foundation
Based on the data that we collected from potential customers we wrote a detailed business plan and were able to convince the 97.club of our newly developed idea at the final pitch.
The following months were filled with tons of bureaucratic stuff, preparations and planning for the official start and completing the last semester of our studies.
On January 17th we officially founded the “Circable GmbH”. The moment of sitting at the notary office and signing all the documents after over 6 months of ups and downs was super exciting and one we’ll probably never forget.
Recent developments and future outlook
Since then we moved into our first office, a start-up hub called “Cube” in Würzburg, complemented our team with Jochen, who will manage the development of our platform, built a prototype and served our first few customers.
At the moment we are right in the middle of developing a Minimum Marketable Product (MMP) based on the expe
riences we made with our first customers and developing a Go-to-Market strategy to kick-start our launch.
If we take a look back it’s crazy to see how far we’ve come in less than a year.
From being students and not really having a straight plan set out for our future to winning a start-up competition to then being able to start our own company, making first revenues, planning future growth and most importantly having a real world purpose that helps us to get out of bed with a smile on our face every day.
A special thanks to the 97.club for providing us with a jump-start to an entrepreneurial life.
We are very proud to have empowered the guys with our idea and our constant support in the foundation. And on we go to the next workshop with new ideas, people and future companies.