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Patricia Müller

Once a researcher, now an entrepreneur

Mathias Bauer never runs out of ideas. Now he has launched his fifth company: Xpect AG. With more than 16 years of experience as a researcher, the computer scientist is one of the brave ones who have taken the path as an entrepreneur.

Take a well-matured idea, a large portion of valuable contacts, plenty of willingness to take risks coupled with absolute conviction and a healthy dose of patience. This or something similar could be the recipe for a successful start-up. No rocket science in theory, but the supreme discipline in practice. Mathias Bauer has obviously done many things right, understood how to put theory into practice. "In research, a lot is produced for the drawer. The citation rate was my KPI, my currency."

In 2001, he starts what he says was the first company to offer data mining, but it was too early to the market. He makes contacts, has new ideas, registers the next GmbH in 2003, and another in 2009. In 2017, the auditor KPMG acquires a stake in his Big Data service KIANA Systems - Mathias Bauer achieves a successful exit.

Mathias Bauer developed his startup Xpect on his own for a year "because it wasn't clear whether it was feasible". In the meantime, seven employees work at Xpect, run a pilot study with Biovista, a market research startup that is also one of Mathias Bauer's creations.

With all the stations of the past years, it is not surprising that Mathias Bauer says: "The network is the key." He has built up his own personal network over a long period of time. The 58-year-old from Ensdorf knows which players, especially local ones, are trustworthy and serious contacts and where you should rather not knock. "If you realize you still have ideas, then you need an environment in which you can implement that," he says. "I'm not a lone wolf; I rely on people I've worked with for a long time and can trust. I've known some of my companions for more than 30 years. Some have already written their diploma or doctoral thesis with me. Especially in a startup, I don't like to spend my time on small-scale controlling. It helps tremendously to have people around you that you trust."

He also uses his expertise and market understanding to support other startups, invests in innovative business models himself, and can assess what teams are still lacking in order to be successful. In his opinion, founders hide behind public funding for too long, don't dare to enter the market, shy away from unpleasant questions of investors, from " bloody noses". Mathias: "I see risk aversion very strongly among the current generation of founders. Everyone wants to become a Unicorn, but doesn't want to give up a secure pension or regular vacations. Of course, you should always work with a double bottom, have a plan B, but still be able to fully commit to something."

He also does not see any willingness to take risks among venture capitalists due to the current market situation; "investors are hesitant." Particularly in the deep-tech sector, fundamental investment intentions are at odds with the current lethargy to take a chance on something. With support from CISPA, Xpect is now applying for funding from the StartUpSecure initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to grow its startup and develop it sustainably.

The startup Xpect deals with processing knowledge that is available in companies in many documents and databases, partly unstructured, in order to draw conclusions from it. The goal is to better understand processes, whether in the area of compliance, data protection or CO2 reporting. "Companies have an interest in which structural processes are not running correctly and, at best, want to identify in advance what is going wrong because it can lead to economic damage or problems with the law," says Mathias Bauer. "We model the processes as mathematical objects whose properties can be proven. So we can map what happens in the company, both structural processes that pass through in high numbers and knowledge-based processes where companies have to comply with regulations." The entrepreneur puts great emphasis on showing whether the processes are secure or whether there are weak spots that could be exploited. Together with experts from CISPA, Mathias Bauer is now expanding his expertise in order to continue writing his success story with his latest idea.