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Meet COMPREDICT, the Startup Where Blackberry and Michelin Invested



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This blog post first appeared first on old medium publication (https://medium.com/startuprad-io), and was moved to this blog with the relaunch of our website in summer 2024.

Executive Summary

COMPREDICT is a Darmstadt, Germany-based deep tech startup, offering virtual sensors for cars. They already convinced Michelin and Blackberry to invest, so we thought it would be about time to catch up with the team around Rafael.

Virtual sensors in a car take data from physical sensors and fuse them to generate additional measurements.Rafael Fietzek, MD and Co-Founder COMPREDICT

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Invest-in-Hessen

This show was made possible by Hessen Trade and Invest with their brand Invest-in-Hessen. You can learn more about them here (https://www.invest-in-hessen.com/). We also run a dedicated sub-podcast with all interviews and news in cooperation with them. Find it all here: https://techstartups.sounder.fm/

A normal car has four physical wheel speed sensors to measure each wheel. With us, you need only two physical sensors and save money.Rafael Fietzek, MD and Co-Founder COMPREDICT

The Video Interview is set to go live on Thursday, September 8th, 2022, at 15.00 CET



The Audio Interview

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To get a car to serial production you need a lot of experimental cars with lots of sensors. Our solution enables car producers to have fewer sensors on those cars and still get the data.Rafael Fietzek, MD and Co-Founder COMPREDICT

The Founder

This interview is an update on an older interview, we had Frafael Fietzek (https://www.linkedin.com/in/rafael-fietzek/) with COMPREDICT, as a guest back in August 2019. They just announced the closing of their Series A funding of 5,5 m €, led by Vektor Partners and Blackberry. So we thought it would be time for an update on this amazing startup.


The Startup

COMPREDICT (https://compredict.ai/) is a kind of automotive startup. They are working with digital sensors from the start. Virtual sensors in a car take measurements from physical sensors and can fuse them with other data, to generate additional data. They started out with their virtual sensors, enabling fully digital testing of parts and car models. Now they are moving more and more into serial production with their virtual sensors.

They already onboarded Michellin the tire producer in an earlier investment round, but now gathered the interest of Blackberry, which took lead with Vector Partners in their Series A funding.

In the current market environment, cash management is king. You have to plan some extra months before the cash runs out in order to get a good deal. Manage your burn rate.Rafael Fietzek, MD and Co-Founder COMPREDICT

Venture Capital Funding

COMPREDICT just raised 5,5 m Euros in Series A funding. According to Rafael they are planning with two years runway, but are open to talk to new investors. Their current investors already include Michellin, Blackberry and Vektor Partners.


COMPREDICT is Hiring

Complete remote work is possible in Germany and the EU. They make a case-by-case decision for other jurisdictions.

Learn more here:

We want to grow our team strongly with the new funding.Rafael Fietzek, MD and Co-Founder COMPREDICT

Tune in to our Internet Radio Station here:


The Old Interview from August 2019



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The Interviewer

This interview was conducted by Jörn “Joe” Menninger, startup scout, founder, and host of Startuprad.io. Reach out to him:


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Automated Transcript


00:00:00.000 → 00:00:19.120Music.


00:00:18.961 → 00:00:31.468Hello and welcome everybody this is Joe from startuprad.io your startup podcast and you to block from the german-speaking area of Germany Austria and Switzerland as well as the founder of the Woods,


00:00:31.528 → 00:00:34.457Tech entrepreneurship radio cut


00:00:34.373 → 00:00:45.440. radio today we have another interview in our series with invested has and of course sponsored by investing hessen and I would like to welcome a guest,


00:00:45.473 → 00:00:48.168back again hey Rafael how you doing,


00:00:48.237 → 00:00:57.035hi Joe yeah I’m fine all good that is great actually we just talked before the recording you have been


00:00:56.906 → 00:01:03.778in our interview and we published interview of course we will link it down here in the show notes.


00:01:04.063 → 00:01:09.116August middle of August twenty nineteen so it was,


00:01:09.131 → 00:01:23.096almost exactly three years ago and you guys are guilty still going strong congratulations for that and today we are talking because you guys announced earlier this year that you raised a


5.500:01:23.012 → 00:01:27.886million series a funding but before we get into that let us first


00:01:27.739 → 00:01:42.460talk a little bit about you and compredict and everybody who’s watching this on YouTube he’s behind you the two cars with the compredict logo and writings on it so they can already guess you’re somehow related to cars right.


00:01:42.754 → 00:01:52.462Yes that’s true so we specialize on Virtual sensors for cars virtual sensors is it something,


00:01:52.486 → 00:02:05.641you’re on the attempt to plug in or how does it work yeah so I can explain so so of course everybody knows what our Hardware sensor is so Hardware sensor measures a physical quantity,


00:02:05.719 → 00:02:14.409in vehicles there are many many Hardware sensors which measure different physical quantities like the wheel speeds or,


00:02:14.523 → 00:02:25.707accelerations or temperatures or other physical quantities a virtual sensor takes the values from the hardware sensors and.


00:02:26.226 → 00:02:37.887Fuse the fuse them together to generate additional physical quantities and it can act for instance it can measure the forces between the tire and the road


00:02:37.722 → 00:02:44.540this is a virtual sensor we have we have another virtual sensor which can measure the current vehicle Moss.


00:02:44.726 → 00:02:55.496Or temperatures in the battery pack of of certain cells we have virtual sensors for that so so there are many many different use cases for our virtual sensor.


00:02:55.961 → 00:03:08.387I’m not a technical guy and don’t have a PhD in engineering like you do but for me it sounds like it’s an additional calculation and analytics layer on top


00:03:08.312 → 00:03:12.933of the physical sensors would that be appropriate yes that’s true.


00:03:13.398 → 00:03:20.108That sums it up pretty pretty well yeah that sounds really really fancy and actually what can you do with that.


00:03:20.690 → 00:03:34.160So yeah as I said you can enhance the data which is available in the car so you can calculate additional values like forces between tire and the roads or temperatures in the battery pack or something like that at all.


00:03:34.608 → 00:03:40.633You can even replace existing Hardware sensors so a simple example would be.


00:03:41.728 → 00:03:50.418Every car on the market right now has four sensors to measure the wheel speed so so they measure the wheel speed of each individual wheel


00:03:50.344 → 00:03:57.593do you need for with all virtual sensors you can maybe replaced to Hardware sensors and save money at the end.


00:03:58.266 → 00:04:07.055I see and when we talked like years ago really years ago,


00:04:07.151 → 00:04:20.729out I remember that he also did some work for development of new cars so that you can virtually test part is that still what you going for.


00:04:21.041 → 00:04:31.991Yes that’s that’s still a part of our whole software solution so this is rather a small Market but also a market we,


00:04:32.096 → 00:04:42.992provide a solution for so you have to imagine Automotive companies they have a lot of development cars and they put a lot of additional sensors to measure


00:04:42.827 → 00:04:52.300forces torques temperatures of which act on components and damage them they put a lot of additional Hardware sensors in the vehicles


00:04:52.153 → 00:05:01.545and these sensors are very expensive so they just can have a few vehicles with these additional sensors.


00:05:01.732 → 00:05:09.809And with our virtual sensors it’s possible to have a whole Fleet of development Vehicles where they can measure these important values.


00:05:10.158 → 00:05:18.029So this is also a solution we provide for development cars and they use the data to then design the components and,


00:05:18.116 → 00:05:28.642for instance if they are over designed make them lighter if they’re under design make them stronger so that they don’t fail when the cars delivered to the customers.


00:05:29.206 → 00:05:33.224That sounds very much like you’re very early,


00:05:33.356 → 00:05:43.244in the lifespan of a new car model meaning in the development or you really put into the serial production of cars,


00:05:43.340 → 00:05:51.922yes so so for us the development and the serial production of vehicles are very much connected so during the development phase.


00:05:52.243 → 00:05:58.431There is a lot of interesting data for us to train over chill sensors so so we use a lot of.


00:05:58.644 → 00:06:03.148Data from the development phase of the vehicles to train our virtual sensors.


00:06:03.343 → 00:06:09.359And then we can easily deploy our virtual sensors into series production cars.


00:06:09.735 → 00:06:21.684This is has also to do with our new investor Blackberry maybe maybe I can talk about that a little bit so in our recent funding round which was around two months ago.


00:06:21.879 → 00:06:33.621We have two new investors for once a financial investor a VC Vector partners and a strategic investor which is BlackBerry.


00:06:33.888 → 00:06:43.640I guess everybody knows Blackberry from the smartphones which they used to produce 10 years 10 years ago or even longer ago,


00:06:43.700 → 00:06:48.717they don’t do it anymore what they do now


00:06:48.606 → 00:06:58.359is they have q and x which is a real-time operating system which runs in vehicles and they also have the IV platform which is a.


00:06:59.292 → 00:07:09.270Platform for vehicle data where you can easily access vehicle data in the cloud and it’s also easy to embed.


00:07:09.699 → 00:07:15.418Software modules into vehicles and this is what we do for the virtual sensor.


00:07:15.658 → 00:07:21.108So once we have trained or virtual sensors with the development vehicles for instance.


00:07:21.321 → 00:07:27.715We can easily through the IV platform deploy them into a lot of serious production.


00:07:28.369 → 00:07:37.609Which can run Blackberry qnx but can also run other operating systems like Automotive grade Linux,


00:07:37.678 → 00:07:47.430you’ve been already going into the most recent investment for a since we talked you actually did an extension of seed round


00:07:47.409 → 00:08:02.185end the series a I’m can you talk a little bit about that before we dive a little bit into how it was during the current market conditions to go out and do some fundraising yes of course also.


00:08:02.380 → 00:08:06.083I would say me.


00:08:06.359 → 00:08:15.967It’s a combination of of lucky luck and skill of courses so so we close our extension of the seed round in March 20 20,


00:08:16.063 → 00:08:22.449so when covid hits and everything so so the market conditions.


00:08:23.328 → 00:08:30.551At this time in March 2020 were challenging as well so so it speaks.


00:08:31.448 → 00:08:37.816Quite well about us that we were able to close that extension of the seed round.


00:08:38.623 → 00:08:51.931Michelin with our lead investors old tire manufacturer mashaallah was our lead investor there we of course work together on Tire topics with them.


00:08:52.532 → 00:08:55.082Yeah and.


00:08:55.890 → 00:09:08.343This helped us to to manage to the covid crisis because as you can imagine everybody was scared and 2020 was,


00:09:08.430 → 00:09:10.971rather tough for us so so weak.


00:09:11.634 → 00:09:22.089We couldn’t grow but in 2021 we again grew strongly which brought us into the position to race our.


00:09:22.266 → 00:09:29.309Cersei right now yeah and yeah the the.


00:09:29.612 → 00:09:37.987Market conditions are tougher than they were meet of 2021 of course everybody everybody knows knows that.


00:09:38.254 → 00:09:49.447But we I think we have a strong product we have strong traction with our customers that’s why we were able to race our CSA.


00:09:49.651 → 00:09:56.595Here’s a usually means your past 1 million u.s. dollars any recurring Revenue.


00:09:56.826 → 00:10:08.685I was wondering do you see an impact in terms of the valuation you’ve gotten or the money you’ve gotten that may have been ten twenty thirty percent higher


00:10:08.565 → 00:10:11.673before the current downturn of the private markets


00:10:11.626 → 00:10:21.486yeah maybe it’s hard to speculate about that so it’s safe because you cannot cannot do it like like an a/b testing yes so.


00:10:21.699 → 00:10:29.291Yeah it’s hot it’s hot there’s the engineer speaking you cannot do an a/b testing here,


00:10:29.387 → 00:10:36.556yeah so but yeah we happy with our financing around we’re very happy with our new investors.


00:10:36.832 → 00:10:41.876As I said Blackberry with the IV platform really can help us.


00:10:42.107 → 00:10:50.680To bring over chill sensors with one Mouse click to a lot of vehicles so so this is this is basically the idea.


00:10:50.939 → 00:10:55.551Can add another virtual sensor to a vehicle with one Mouse click.


00:10:55.899 → 00:11:02.167I see I see a sea and for everybody who’s listening out there or watching this


00:11:02.101 → 00:11:10.674do you have a few tips for fundraising right now in the downturn of 2022


00:11:10.617 → 00:11:22.467I mean Summers usually not that busy in terms of making pictures but fall and winter are I’m sure there will be lot of people going out there pitching a lot of investors


00:11:22.320 → 00:11:29.273and they will always here it’s not as good as it used to be do you have some tips how to approach it just


00:11:29.153 → 00:11:37.330pitch more investors be more focused on York apis on your profitability what would be your recommendation,


00:11:37.345 → 00:11:50.816sure yeah I mean you have to keep in mind that under these market conditions it will take the longer than you expect to to close to financing wrong so.


00:11:51.713 → 00:12:00.349In this case cash management is key because because you have to plan some extra months


00:12:00.265 → 00:12:10.675but before the cash runs out so you’ll be able to negotiate correctly with investors and get a good deal so so yeah


00:12:10.528 → 00:12:20.226looking at Cash managing the burn rate I guess this is this is the the main tip from from my sight.


00:12:20.502 → 00:12:31.704I see see see I’m usually we have a few more questions one of them would be you guys are now pretty well funded.


00:12:32.241 → 00:12:38.590First question is how long do you expect under the current condition your funding should last,


00:12:38.687 → 00:12:44.316so we always plan with with a that the funding lasts around two years


00:12:44.313 → 00:12:53.219so so in this year and the next year we want to grow strongly develop our product


00:12:53.117 → 00:13:00.439take the next steps there and yeah we always plan that the funding should last at least two years and then.


00:13:00.616 → 00:13:06.768Depending on the current market conditions we manage our cash burn so that.


00:13:07.467 → 00:13:13.105We can comfortably negotiate with with investors and talk to investors,


00:13:13.138 → 00:13:23.413and of course the second usual question is you just find raised I currently hiring yes of course yes oh we are around.


00:13:23.815 → 00:13:32.83830 people right now we will hire at least five to ten more people till the end of the year.


00:13:33.456 → 00:13:44.640So yeah we want we want to grow our team strongly we have a lot of open positions yet to check our LinkedIn now to check out our homepage there are a lot of open positions here and we.


00:13:44.934 → 00:13:47.485Looking for strong team members,


00:13:47.572 → 00:13:55.515down here in the show notes your website we can find the career page one more question because we can do have a,


00:13:55.557 → 00:14:07.218very International audience in the first half of 2022 we’ve been hurt in one over 100 countries and we also be open to completely remote jobs.


00:14:07.494 → 00:14:09.522Yes.


00:14:09.880 → 00:14:17.840Completely remote of course in Germany this is no problem everybody knows that there is also some.


00:14:18.441 → 00:14:26.186Implications regarding tax laws you have to be aware of yeah but we for instance have a employee.


00:14:26.453 → 00:14:31.785Who works out of Paris so you is of course a little bit easier.


00:14:31.989 → 00:14:41.499And after that we have to we have to see yeah but in Germany is no problem EU we have to talk about it and.


00:14:41.766 → 00:14:46.936All the rest of the world yeah we have to see I see see see.


00:14:47.419 → 00:14:53.742So what do you plant besides on hiring people you conquer the world.


00:14:54.198 → 00:15:04.823Of course I mean if you’re south of want someone to want to basically conquer the world with with their product.


00:15:06.342 → 00:15:10.405Maybe maybe a good measure to 22.


00:15:10.825 → 00:15:21.730And a good goal for us is BlackBerry qnx runs right now in more than 200 million vehicles and our goal for the next couple of years is.


00:15:21.871 → 00:15:28.760To have virtual sensors in a major part of the 200 million million vehicles and.


00:15:28.920 → 00:15:38.474Also also yeah with vehicles who don’t run to next run some other operating system and have virtual sensors there.


00:15:38.759 → 00:15:40.049GIC so.


00:15:40.388 → 00:15:53.427Somewhere around 200 million cars are you go again thumbs press for that and making end of course we’ve been talking your money will last two years opportunistically you may go out


00:15:53.397 → 00:15:57.550are you currently open to talk to additional investors to new investors


00:15:57.448 → 00:16:05.454yes also after the financing round is before the financing round so we,


00:16:05.505 → 00:16:11.530maybe what we did slightly wrong the last time is yeah we basically after.


00:16:11.896 → 00:16:17.553After our financing round in March 20/20 we didn’t talk to to investors till.


00:16:18.486 → 00:16:21.946Late 2021 which.


00:16:22.141 → 00:16:32.082Was it was a mistaken in hindsight so of course we open open to talk to to investors even right now shortly after or financing wrong.


00:16:32.223 → 00:16:33.838And not a very good,


00:16:33.943 → 00:16:45.541repealing recommendation always talk to investors stay in touch with them don’t let the conversation die down because you will regret it when you next time in fundraising mode


00:16:45.439 → 00:16:52.391of course the last question because this is here about Frankford and the right mind area how good


00:16:52.380 → 00:17:00.241did it do for you what was important here actually as location for you guys as a startup,


00:17:00.329 → 00:17:07.974yes oh so they’re located in damn sure which is around 30 kilometers south of Frankfurt.


00:17:08.854 → 00:17:18.975Technical University in darmstadt really supports Founders and which is which is really really great for us we are we received.


00:17:19.332 → 00:17:23.674Much needed support from from them in the in the beginning.


00:17:24.347 → 00:17:30.876Also this is great for us we hired a lot of people directly out of the to dumbshit so-so.


00:17:31.116 → 00:17:38.798We have dancers from Master thesis and then hired people who wrote the that Master thesis.


00:17:39.272 → 00:17:42.561And run my area is


00:17:42.504 → 00:17:55.542great for us especially rear International truck started we have customers all over the world if you want to travel there’s basically no better place in Germany then Frankfurt


00:17:55.512 → 00:17:59.224I’m getting a little bit to last question here


00:17:59.221 → 00:18:10.540um this is heard and seen across the government here in the state and city and so on and would that be something you would like to address to those political


00:18:10.501 → 00:18:21.235decision makers right now that is and as we say in Germany burning under your fingernails some questioned some request you would have for them.


00:18:21.655 → 00:18:24.242This is a good question.


00:18:24.563 → 00:18:35.657Hey that’s why we are asking where this is I have to think you think about it it yeah of course I can always be more support there.


00:18:36.257 → 00:18:45.883Also regulation regarding virtual stock option programs for employees I guess this is still


00:18:45.844 → 00:18:58.252too complicated yeah so so this is this is a this is a big topic which should be addressed and and make it easier because for start-up which


00:18:58.222 → 00:19:03.870growth strongly it is this really strategically important to.


00:19:04.047 → 00:19:09.784Health employees participate in the success and right now this is.


00:19:10.186 → 00:19:14.141Kind of hard to regarding all the regulations that exist


00:19:14.048 → 00:19:25.511ICC Rafael thank you very much with pleasure this time it was a little bit shorter but it was more or less an update on the other interview and if you throw


00:19:25.328 → 00:19:31.083both of them together I do believe you get an interview of something like close to an


00:19:30.901 → 00:19:37.502our we would be more than sufficient to learn about compredict and you guys,


00:19:37.544 → 00:19:44.632congratulations to your fundraising again and hopefully hear you’re back in two years when we talk about you seriously fundraising.


00:19:44.764 → 00:19:53.571Yeah that would be great yeah it was a pleasure talking to you Joe and thank you for to invest in hessen for sponsoring this interview.


00:20:02.320 → 00:20:28.650Music.


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