"We empower people and companies to realise their best possible potential"
Laura Reich Diez
The digital transformation in pharmaceutical and medical technology is steadily gaining momentum. In the production field, too, the digital transformation is leading to further automation of processes. So it's no wonder that the need for coaching and consulting in automation issues and agile methods is also growing. In an interview with 5-HT, Kristin Levering and Markus Zickermann talk about the wide-ranging service portfolio of Kite IT, which covers the three areas of development, consulting and coaching.
What is the idea behind Kite IT?
Markus Zickermann: We are 3 founders: Nils Heimfeld, Swen Stürner and me, Markus Zickermann. We founded Kite IT in May 2019 with a focus on the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors and the idea of enabling companies and employees to get the most out of themselves, their processes and their products.
Kristin Levering: Kite IT is an innovation partner for digital transition with a strong focus on pharmaceutical and medical technology. We are supported by three main pillars: development, consulting and coaching. In the area of development, we concentrate primarily on software solutions, otherwise we move in automation in the manufacturing environment of pharmaceutical technology. Here, the focus is on the modernisation and networking of plants as well as classic upgrade work. In addition, we also advise and coach on the major topics of project management and change management, which means that if someone wants to switch from a classic to an agile approach, for example, we provide support. Within pharmaceutical and medical technology, challenges arise above all due to regulatory requirements of the legislation. For example, the IEC 62304 standard applies to the development and maintenance of software if the software itself is a medical device or an integral part of a finished medical device. We know our way around standard-compliant development and support our customers in validation. This is where we want to focus even more in the future.
We are also developing our own product, myTalkmaster. Although this has nothing to do with the pharmaceutical world directly, it is, so to speak, our plug-in horse. MyTalkmaster is a digital coach for analysing, evaluating and training natural language and rhetoric using text mining and text clustering. Digital analysis of facial expressions and gestures using computer vision will soon be added. It will be launched in summer 2021.
How do you currently fund yourselves?
Markus Zickermann: With our software and consulting services in the field of medicine and pharmaceuticals, we generate corresponding revenues and are currently able to cross-finance MyTalkmaster. The idea is that this software will pay for itself in the medium term.
Who is your target audience?
Kristin Levering: Our language coach is of course interesting for everyone who wants to use it, be it for experienced speakers or presenters. But of course it is always helpful for us laypeople as well. Our services are mainly in the pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors, primarily in the automation environment. However, we do not limit ourselves, but are happy to support wherever there are innovative ideas.
Markus Zickermann: The base portfolio of services addresses both large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises, but also start-ups here directly from our surroundings. We then provide support in a very close cooperation in the projects.
What distinguishes Kite IT from companies with a similar focus?
Kristin Levering: The special thing about us is that we are young and dynamic and think very flexibly. At the same time, we set ourselves few limits. If there is a great idea, we do our best to implement it. We can draw on a very large network. This means that even if we are not yet able to immerse ourselves in the subject matter, we can always find someone who can support us. So far, every project has been a success.
What was your biggest setback?
Markus Zickermann: On the one hand, we already have a lot of professional experience, all three managing directors have been working in this industry for up to 20 years, so we were able to found Kite IT in a very considered way. As a result, we have fortunately not had any setbacks in the last two years, but quite the opposite: we have grown more than we expected, currently employ more than 30 people and are of course very happy about the successful development of Kite IT.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs/founders?
Markus Zickermann: The most important thing is what most founders have: the idea and the spirit for their product. This also means that they want to develop their product forwards in order to generate the best possible added value for the customers and thus quickly achieve economic success. Because you need a healthy economic foundation for a company. In addition to striving for a healthy foundation, we also advise founders to get help, be it from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, from other founders or business managers. Exchange in relevant networks is also helpful. In this way, the venture should then become a very stable and successful thing.
What are the next goals for Kite IT?
Markus Zickermann: On the one hand, we want to further expand our service portfolio so that we cover everything from software development to advice in the area of regulation, but also the topic of consulting/coaching, to which the MyTalkMaster fits very nicely. And secondly, we want to expand. Our goal is to employ 50 people in three years in order to create a stable economic foundation.
Kristin Levering: We also want to become more present. That is why we are also the organiser of MedTech Change (heydelberger.de). Here we offer a platform where experts and executives as well as entrepreneurs in the healthcare sector can approach the digital and regulatory change in a cooperative manner.
What do you hope for from the cooperation with 5HT?
Markus Zickermann: As a player in the medical and pharmaceutical industry, we feel it is extremely important to be well networked locally. We have been a partner of the medical technology cluster in Mannheim since the beginning and are now growing out of it a bit. That is why we have now become part of the 5HT Digital Hub Chemistry & Health, in order to network with relevant market participants and contribute our own ideas. We are also open to cooperation talks with other startups.
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