In this interview, we talk with Frank Mildner (https://www.linkedin.com/in/frank-mil…) US Business Development at ProGlove (https://www.proglove.de/). ProGlove is a smart glove, to which one can attach several instruments like a scanner. The wearer can then operate the instrument and the glove with the respective hand which saves time. The major application of ProGlove is now in logistics. We talk to Frank since he was at the time of recording (May 2018) member of the current batch of the German Accelerator (GA) Tech in New York. The GA offers several opportunities to enter the United States for companies with a legal entity in Germany.
About the German Accelerator
One of the places where startups are supported on the ground in New York City, where the GA is located in SoHo on Broadway. The other locations, where GA supports German startups with local programs are in Boston, Silicon Valley and newly in Singapore. The next application deadline is just around the corner. Learn more about the German Accelerator below and apply for the program here: http://bit.ly/2J5uY9a German Accelerator Tech is a three to nine-month growth accelerator empowering high-potential German tech startups to successfully enter the U.S. market with a program tailored to their needs. Through extensive hands-on mentoring, free office space, and immediate access to a top-notch network selected companies are fully immersed in the Silicon Valley or New York City ecosystem right upon arrival. In the world’s capitals for innovation and startup success, they are exposed to a dynamic and international environment. With the support of German Accelerator Tech, startups save precious time and money in building their business in the largest market on earth. German Accelerator Tech was initiated in 2012 and is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs as well as corporate partners. The startups do not provide any equity or pay any fees. More than 150 companies have graduated from the program thus far. German Accelerator also supports young German Life Sciences companies to enter the U.S. market via Boston. Since early 2018, there is also a Singapore office helping German tech startups looking to expand to Southeast Asia.
00:06 Announcer: Welcome to Startuprad.io your podcast and YouTube blog covering the German startup scene with news, interviews and live events.
00:20 Joe: Hello and welcome everybody this is Joe from startuprad.io your startup podcast and YouTube blog from Germany. Right now I’m still in New York on the rooftop terrace of the building where the German accelerator is located here in downtown Manhattan. And I do have another start up with me that is actually in the current program, hi.
00:40 Frank: Hi, nice meeting you. We are ProGlove, we’ve been with the accelerator here since January two thousand and eighteen. My name is Frank, I’m doing their part in the operations here in the U.S. market.
00:54 Joe: And broken off already tells it like you are working on a glove right?
00:59 Frank: Yes, what we here have… what we have here is a wearable scanner so if you could hold this quickly for me…
01:05 Joe: Yes.
01:06 Frank: We have the scanner here. You attach it to the glove on the application and there’s a trigger point here at your index finger and that’s how you trigger the scanner.
01:14 Joe: You just press it with thumb and it just starts?
01:16 Frank: You just press it with your thumb and then it’s triggered the scanner yes, that’s the idea. What it does in the industry is that the worker formerly used to have a clunky piece of technology, the old scan guns. We had to carry it around and now he’s got the scanner which is very light on his hand, can scan with his natural movement and he’s much quicker and it’s more economic for him. So that’s basically what ProGlove… the benefit that ProGlove creates in manufacturing logistics industry.
01:38 Joe: I see. So basically it’s like for all the logistics people, all the friendly people may also use it. Who deliver packages to you and so everything you have something like a Q.R. code, a bar code just to keep track of pieces.
01:50 Frank: That’s correct. Yes, the idea is traceability so anyway in manufacturing as well if you have an assembly line every part that you build into the assembly line needs to be tracked and traced.
02:03 Joe: Yeah, sure.
02:04 Frank: So everywhere there’s a bar code, the barcode is the interaction between the human and what… and his work. So that’s why we connect the human worker to his work via our barcode scanner on his hand.
02:14 Joe: That is pretty freaking awesome and just a few questions about the glove. What can you actually put on it? You just showed us it’s detachable, the scanning part.
02:29 Frank: Yes.
02:29 Joe: Can you do other stuff on it?
02:31 Frank: There’s a lot of requests from our customers for example that we have heat sensors so that the worker for example gets guided if he goes into a very highly heated parts that the glove tells him with a sensor that he has to retrieve and so on and so forth. These are customizable solutions, we are mainly focusing on the economic part of the club so we want to enable economic and fast scanning, and that’s why we do not build in sensors right now into the glove. But the main purpose is to make it as smooth and as convenient, the scanning part as smooth and convenient for the worker or the operator as possible.
03:04 Joe: And I assume with all the assembly lines out there all the logistics company there’s a huge market for you right?
03:10 Frank: Yes, we’ve sold five thousand of these devices in the European market. Equip two hundred and fifty different warehouses and plants all big OEM’s in the European markets use it and now we’re growing with our customers into the US. And have opened up a US office in January two thousand and eighteen.
03:25 Joe: OEM’s means?
03:27 Frank: OEM’s is like the basically the big automotive and suppliers and manufacturers. But also other industries like for example we are in the (unclear 03:36) is using us as for example so airport industry. But also we have Ikea as a customer of ours so that’s their verticals that we are targeting but we grew out of the automotive space.
03:49 Joe: Oh, I see. Well that’s already impressive list of customers. (Unclear 03:53) at Test nic we may see is a part of the German airline that takes care of maintenance right?
04:00 Frank: That’s correct.
04:01 Joe: Okay, okay. And how was your experience so far with the German accelerator program?
04:07 Frank: German accelerator program (unclear 04:09) with us with an office with great access to mentor network which helped us to understand the market quite quickly. As also other people from the market, from the scanning market tell us that we could understand the market very fast due to also the mentor network that we had. And due to the fact that we’re going out to the customer always so German accelerator was facilitating us with that network which is very helpful. And of course, New York has access to VC’s to other interesting companies that you can learn from which have the same experience especially within the German accelerator. So that’s really something that helped us especially for example in setting up also our operations, our office, all the administrative work that you need to do the…
04:46 Joe: And basically after… You already stayed here so you open the office, you’re here you’re expansion transatlantic work for you?
04:53 Frank: Yes.
04:54 Joe: That is pretty cool. Just one more question out of curiosity what was the freaky stuff one of your customers demanded to have it put on a glove?
05:07 Frank: The easiest one was cutting off their fingers because they want to have you know airy gloves.
05:12 Joe: For the summer?
05:12 Frank: For the summer for example but there has been requests that we put away the glove and mount the glove to a station where it automatically scans bar code. So people have prototyped this and showed us this, why don’t you do that? So we have these requests that we have but very innovative process planner which always try to increase the efficiency of their process lines. So that were some of the requests that we already saw, Glove as you mentioned for example heat sensors or other sensors were requests that was quite tricky to implement into a glove, yeah.
05:43 Joe: That is pretty cool and everybody who wants to learn more about the German accelerator program or about you. Go down here in the show notes and have a look, thank you for making the time.
05:52 Frank: Thank you very much.
05:52 Joe: Wait, wait. I want to shake this hand.
05:56 Frank: Okay, thank you for your time.
05:58 Joe: Thank you.
06:03 Announcer: That’s all folks find more news, streams, events and interviews at www.startuprad.io. Remember sharing is caring.