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Patricia Müller

Saarland instead of Côte d'Azur – "the right decision"

Germany, France and Belgium is written in the passports of the founders. Only one of the four is from Saarland. An interview about why the startup has found its home in Saarbrücken.
Many dream of working where others go on vacation. You could have had your first office on the Côte d'Azur or behind the dunes near Bruges. What are the arguments against your home countries Belgium and France, Bérenger and Christophe?

Christophe Hocquet: We have a large international IT campus in Saarbrücken, which definitely exudes a French flair thanks to its proximity to France. That made it easy for us to do without the Côte d'Azur, especially since there isn't really any talented IT talent there.


Manuel, how were you able to convince your companions to come to Saarland?

Manuel Zapp: I didn't have to convince anyone at all. We had initially looked at various options (Berlin, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Brussels) and then decided together to go to Saarland. Only here we have the proximity to research, many international IT talents and the full support of an entire region.


Johannes, what did you think back then when it was clear that would be based in Saarbrücken?

Johannes Korves: I'll be completely honest, I first had to look at where exactly Saarbrücken was located. But after I visited the city for the first time and got to know the people and the campus, I knew right away that Saarbrücken was the right decision.


How does living and working in Saarland differ from your hometown of Oldenburg?

Johannes Korves: The cities are very comparable in terms of size. Both are characterized by the fact that you can get everything you need without having to travel long distances. But what really stands out here, apart from the French influence in terms of food, lifestyle and the technology campus, is the broad support of the Saarlanders and companies among each other. In Oldenburg, it took me two years to settle in. In Saarbrücken, on the other hand, it felt like it took two weeks.


There is a striking common feature in your résumés: You all previously worked at Brille 24 and left the company at the beginning of 2020. How did that come about?

Johannes Korves: We sold Brille24 in 2019 to the largest optical group in the world, known for brands like RayBan, Oakley and Varilux. For us, it became clear after the sale that we had identified a big but actually also trivial problem, which has a big impact on many people's lives. Paperwork! Every day, 1 billion corporate documents are created and 3 million people are busy processing them. This is an immense waste of ecological and economic resources.

Solving this very problem with the help of cutting-edge AI technology was our incentive to leave the safety of a large corporation and take the leap to launch a startup.


Further information: 

CISPA is supporting to expand its field of business and providing access to capital for the startup. With resources from the StartUpSecure funding program offered by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and CISPA, aims to add forgery detection to its document extraction. ​​​​​​​