"ANT Machines develops automated heavy-duty robots for port and yard operations. They address the issues of driver shortage, sustainability, and operational efficiency and are intended to replace conventional terminal trucks to make intralogistics more environmentally friendly and resilient, said the CEO of ANT Machines, Mr. Vitaly Chukanov.
Vitaly, as former participant of our Start.up! Germany Tour in 2021, what was your experience?
I think it has a very interesting format deriving from its global character. At each stage of participation, we could listen to the pitches of our fellow startups from our area and other parts of the world. It was super interesting and inspiring to hear the ways people address challenges and propose solutions. We also find the FAQ session with the jury very important. It helps better understand what remains unclear from the pitch and what would be the key points of interest of stakeholders from different fields. So each stage strengthened our pitch deck for the next presentations.
Why did you participate in the SUGT? What have been your goals? Why Germany?
We thought about settling in Germany for some time before the SUGT. For such an engineering and hardware startup as ANT Machines Germany is the first place that comes to mind in terms of access to technologies, supply, and respective partner network. SUGT for us was a way to get a better overview of the opportunities for startups in the area, to check what support programs exist, and most importantly to understand whether our project is potentially interesting for the region itself and the stakeholders there.
How did it go with ANT Machines after the SUGT experience? A settlement?
We are settled in Dortmund, NRW, and happy about it. SUGT format and especially the final event allowed us to get introductions to local networks and agencies, which facilitates access to contacts to potential customers and suppliers in the region. We became partners of Zenit – the business association of over 200 enterprises from NRW, Germany, and other countries.
What was the aim of settling in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany for ANT Machines?
North Rhine-Westphalia is the largest European logistics cluster with easy access to large ports, multimodal terminals, and other objects of logistics infrastructure.
Whereas ANT develops innovative robots for heavy-duty yard operations in this type of site, such an environment is the best place to be for us.
Also, there are a lot of initiatives focusing on innovations in the field of logistics. For instance, we were selected to be part of Startport – the logistics-focused accelerator program of NRW. But the overall startup support is also well developed in the region – from the very first steps like drafting and fine-tuning the business idea to internationalization and entering the global market.
What can you recommend on behalf of your experience to other startups that want to do business in Germany?
If a startup considers incorporation, relocation, or expansion to the German or European market, I would recommend NRW. In my opinion, the region managed to create a very supportive environment and can help with solutions with almost every aspect of the startup development process. But even if the startup wants to work with German national or regional companies, it makes a lot of sense to establish a connection to the agencies in the region since this can serve as a great door-opener to the partners needed.
I have a vast international experience in business and can say that of course in some aspects the German approach is different from other areas of the world, but it remains straightforward and win-win oriented which helps great projects develop and succeed.