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5thIndustry: “Think of Office 365 but for the shop floor.”
19.05.2022

5thIndustry – The App for the Factory Shop Floor

In our new series Innovations Made in Berlin, we present twelve startups that will make a difference in their fields. Today: 5thIndustry.

Berlin is a hive of activity. The startup scene is particularly busy, with hundreds of new ideas and visions transforming into sustainable businesses every year. In our new series Innovations Made in Berlin, we will present 12 promising early stage startups based in Germany’s thriving capital. These twelve young companies will be pitching their services at the 6th edition Vivatech in Paris in June 2022. Come by the Berlin stand to meet them and find out more!

No Vivatech for you? Nevermind, we’re interviewing the startups, starting with Sebastian Schumann from 5thIndustry, who have an app that will revolutionise industrial production. No factory shop floor will ever be the same again!

Sebastian, this series is called “Innovations made in Berlin”. What is your innovation? When did it originate, and where? Can you describe the place, and who was involved?
We founded 5thIndustry to make production digital – finally. The four founders had each worked for more than a decade in manufacturing for large corporates. We all felt that when it comes to IT, factories were still stuck in the 1990s. There were no easy to use consumer-like apps to manage the daily routines and workflows on a factory shop floor. It was all Excel spread sheets, paper notes and emails with PDFs going back and forth. The IT systems deployed were all huge, monolithic, terribly expensive monsters that only specially trained users were able to operate properly.

We complained about it a lot and one day, during a meeting about digitalizing our processes, we came to the conclusion that if we don´t tackle this problem, probably no one will for another decade or so. That’s how we decided to leave our manager roles and start into the adventure of founding 5thIndustry.

What do you sell and why should someone buy it?
We sell ready to use, SaaS based apps to manage and automate the daily routines on a factory shop floor. Think of Office 365 but for the shop floor. Our customers buy our software because it relieves their operators from tedious manual work, drastically increases transparency, and makes the collaboration between people smoother. It helps companies save millions annually due to increased productivity, improved quality, and faster delivery times for their products.

How did you find funding for 5thIndustry?
We are completely bootstrapped so far and are currently structuring our seed round.

What advice that you received at an early stage helped you the most while starting and growing your business in Berlin?
The Berlin ecosystem provides many opportunities to get in touch with investors, late stage founders, etc., and with each discussion there is always something to take away. There wasn´t that one single piece of advice, but the sum of them helped us to get to where we are now.

How did you manage to establish contacts to potential clients?
The B2B sales process is really a tough one, it can easily take three to six months from first contact with a customer until closing a deal – a long period, especially for a startup. Therefore you have to fill up your sales pipeline early with a lot of leads. We do a lot of approaches such as semi-automated LinkedIn cold calls and the like to get in touch with the decisions makers, and since we speak the language of our clients, we have quite a good conversion rate.

What do you want to achieve in the next six months?
Ramp up customer base even further and complete our seed structuring round.

Sebastian Schumann and his colleagues from 5thIndustry.
After a hard day on the shop floor: The 5thIndustry team – © 5thIndustry

How do you find the right people to work with?
Mostly through personal networks.

What is right now the biggest challenge for 5thIndustry?
Managing the huge increase of incoming customer orders.

What is your reason why Berlin is the place to be?
Berlin has an excellent ecosystem for startups in terms of access to international talents, investors, and corporate innovation labs.

What have you personally learned so far on this journey?
For me personally it’s one of the greatest times of my professional life. In the last two years I learned more than in a decade before. Although there have been a lot of tough times, I never regretted leaving my corporate job.

Thank you, Sebastian!

In the next few months we will be showcasing each of our 12 Berlin startups attending VivaTech. Find out who they are and meet Berlin at one of Europe’s biggest startup and tech event.


Text: Olaf Bryan Wielk, ideenmanufaktur
Header image: © 5thIndustry

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