PIX Moving participated in the digital tour last year and won the international final at the Ruhr Summit. In the interview, they talk about their idea, why they participated in the Start.up! Germany Tour and how they liked it.

Dear Nancy, please introduce yourself and the startup PIX Moving.

This is Nancy Lee, the Marketing & Operation at PIX Moving. I've been with the team for more than 6 years and I'm really enjoying what we're doing. It's a pleasant group of people to work with. 

About PIX Moving

PIX Moving, rebuilding the city with autonomous mobility. PIX builds autonomous driving chassis PIXBOT to integrate living, working and entertaining spaces atop, forming different moving spaces to provide on-demand services, such as unattended vending car, mobile office, self-driving hotel, moving karaoke and more applications. The moving spaces (robo-vehicles based on PIXBOT) can be used in diverse scenarios like industrial parks, public parks, scenic spots, parking lots, airports, residential communities and shopping malls etc., providing sharing mobility services for individuals.

PIX Moving envisions autonomous driving technology from the city perspective. While many other autonomous driving startups are focusing on transporting people from point A to B, PIX is thinking to bring autonomous-mobility-powered services to people. We empower city spaces with autonomous mobility so that spaces will be mobile, configurable and on-demand. Taco trucks, coffee machines, and photo booths will all become autonomously routed and freely moving parts of cities. Right now PIXBOT has earned dozens of customers, covering industries from smart retailing, logistics and delivery to security patrol and more, which are all empowered with autonomous mobility by developing self-driving applications based on PIX platforms. PIXBOT has also been applied in university education and institutes R&D, expanding global pilots around the world.

Why did you participate at Start.up! Germany Tour?

It was really a fabulous program. The reasons mainly lied in three aspects

  1.  We've learnt about the business environment, startup strategies, local policy, marketing roadmap and all kinds of information about Germany. Our company is at a fast-growth stage and we're shipping globally. We have the plan to expand to the European area, and Germany, with its technology vibes and startup incentives, can be a great entry point. This event offered an in-depth look into Germany and Europe;
  2. Since PIX is intersecting the fields of robotics, AI, smart manufacturing, autonomous driving etc., we are more than happy to connect with the potential customers and partners around the globe. Startup Germany Tour has provided a lot of exposure opportunities so that we can connect with the different startups, enterprises across the industries;
  3. Learn and grow, getting inspiration. We're a very open team and such event can inspire mutual growth among the participants 

How did you hear about the tour?

We were introduced by an organization in China who recommended us to apply as we're in the smart mobility and digital manufacturing sectors. 

What is your interest in the German market?

We hope to expand to Europe and maybe set up an R&D center in the European region. In Germany, we can consider such possibilities. On the other hand, we also hope to establish collaboration/partnership with local companies in Germany, regarding autonomous driving, next-gen manufacturing and smart mobility.

How did you like the tour? What was your highlight?

We've really enjoyed it. From a personal perspective, I've learnt a lot from the fellow participants and it was quite inspiring. The sessions and workshops provided deep insights into the industries; From a company perspective, we've gained many connections with potential business partners and users. The business environment in Germany is great and we can start evaluating the incentive policies to see the possibilities of landing locally.

You won the pitch final at the RuhrSummit. Will you redeem your prize and join the next physical tour?

YES, that's FOR SURE. We're definitely going to attend the physical tour next year and we're so looking forward to it. Many thanks again for providing us this opportunity

The startup Litium from Iran took part in our digital tour last year. In the interview, they talk about their experiences with the Start.up! Germany Tour, their expectations of the German market and the startup scene in Iran.

What was your experience of the Start.up! Germany Tour 2020?

The Start.up! Germany Tour 2020 was the first experience for our one-year Startup “Litium”. For that, I thank the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Iran) for giving us this opportunity. However, what made the Start.up! Germany Tour so unique was its clear structure. It was clear which corporates were participating and the “matchmaking” to this event was brilliant. Well-known companies from Germany, CICs (IHK) and InsurLab were represented at this “tour”, which created a very nice ecosystem and led us receiving several cooperation offers. The possibility to have conversations with other participants of this event, both as a person and as a company was quite attractive and in this way we received a cooperation offer from one of the experienced participants of this event in the field of “artificial intelligence”. The Start.up! Germany Tour helped us to get a different view about the German market. Previously, we thought that the market of this country is inaccessible for us. After the "tour", however, we realized that Germany might be one of our target countries if we want to move Litium abroad. Through this event, we were able to get a closer look into the international market and we were provided with many opportunities, hence I believe that our presence at Start.up! Germany Tour 2021 will be even more productive.

How did the collaboration with InsurLab come about?

In the Big Pitch phase, we were selected by the jury, and so our path led us to collaboration with InsurLab Germany and to contact with other startups. As one of the twelve hubs in Germany, InsurLab Germany asked us for more detailed information about our idea and work. Both sides worked out more detailed plans for the cooperation. The proposal that we ultimately received from InsurLab Germany was very attractive to us because we hardly believed we would receive such an offer after just one year. Such a proposal is very interesting for a startup like ours, which does not have a final product yet and is only working on an idea. Undoubtedly, our unique idea played an important role in our selection. This boosts our self-confidence. The publication of the news about our participation at the Start.up! Germany Tour in the business magazine of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Einblick) and social networks were also quite effective. After these reports, more foreign investors have been contacting us since then.

In the Big Pitch phase, we were selected by the jury, and so our path led us to collaboration with InsurLab Germany and to contact with other startups. As one of the twelve hubs in Germany, InsurLab Germany asked us for more detailed information about our idea and work. Both sides worked out more detailed plans for the cooperation. The proposal that we ultimately received from InsurLab Germany was very attractive to us because we hardly believed we would receive such an offer after just one year. Such a proposal is very interesting for a startup like ours, which does not have a final product yet and is only working on an idea. Undoubtedly, our unique idea played an important role in our selection. This boosts our self-confidence. The publication of the news about our participation at the Start.up! Germany Tour in the business magazine of the German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Einblick) and social networks were also quite effective. After these reports, more foreign investors have been contacting us since then.

What does motivate and interests an Iranian startup about the German market?

What does differentiate Germany from other countries is its stable economy. In addition to internal challenges that a startup is often facing, external challenges are also affecting its activities. And it is important to be able to plan for these external factors as much as possible, which can only be possible if the economy is stable. Therefore, this country is attractive to us. The economic stability of a country leads to stable behavior on the part of the companies based there and its predictability. In addition, Germany is in a good position on the international market. There are major insurance companies in this country, such as Munich Re, which often occupies first or second place in the world rankings. This is important because the collaboration with such companies can be a driving force for smaller companies and give them global credibility. Thirdly, Germany is attractive for startups because of the specialized startup hubs. This is a great advantage as you can easily communicate with them by identifying the focus of each of them and getting the right guidance. In my opinion, these three points play a very important role and they make Germany quite interesting for an Iranian startup. To enter the German market, we are facing a big challenge. Germany, as well as other countries, does not provide us with a long-term plan for our activities. This is a bit risky for us, because you can't establish and realize a startup in a few months.

How do you evaluate the Iranian startup ecosystem?

Establishing a startup in Iran is quite easy and it doesn't require a lot of seed capital. Annually, domestic free events are held, where you can meet influential people, get important tips and enter the Iranian startup ecosystem. Building a network in the Iranian ecosystem is very fast and strong. But the problem starts when you need financial support along the way. When it comes to financial support, Iranian startup accelerators become slow. This can even lead to the dissolution of a startup.

How did the Start.up! Germany Tour lead to the Slovenian startup OmniOpti participating in the accelerator startport GmbH?

What can you achieve as a Slovenian startup in the Ruhr region?

And how does startport support the development of such foreign startups in the German market?

These and other questions are clarified in this exciting conversation between Martin Pečar from OmniOpti and Jan Herzogenrath from startport, which was conducted during last year's Start.up! Germany Tour.

Moderated by Alisa Schuler from the Niederrheinische IHK Duisburg-Wesel-Kleve and with a short introduction by Dominik Stute from the IHK zu Dortmund.