Interview with Markus Hannes Winter
How did you get into this industry as a successful entrepreneur, how did everything start?
I started to develop software at a young age and did this in the commercial sector from 1991. Since then I have been fascinated by new technologies. After a 10-year break, I decided in 2014 to use the new possibilities - especially the Internet - to look for a way to develop an easily understandable technology that can be used comprehensively in industry and production. In this analysis - together with outstanding technicians - we came across new possibilities to act graphically on the browser in a research project. WebCAD, a symbiosis of web, graphics and business data, was created in collaboration with specialists from the gaming industry.
If we imagine you as a young programmer, apart from your curiosity, what makes you an entrepreneur? What drives you forward?
It is probably the urge to create something extraordinary. This connected with the corresponding inventive talent. For me, this has no primary monetary driving force, but I am fascinated by technology. I always move between attempt, success and failure. Under the maxim "Trial and Error", concepts are developed followed by implementations that attract attention on the market. Today WebCAD is such a success story.
As an investor, on the other hand, around 200 business plans landed on my desk every year, and I read every single one. But only a handful of them flew. In Europe, the culture of failure is not widespread, but for innovation you have to fail sometimes.
How important is the fun factor, would you also do something that makes no fun?
The greatest fun is to pursue WebCAD concepts with innovative companies that can subsequently disrupt an entire industry. Working permanently on new ideas and inventions is also a lot of fun for me. Only with this joy can throwbacks be processed positively. Often I push too far ahead and set myself very visionary goals. Everyone has the opportunity to make the world a little more better or influence the change positively.
You seem to be very relaxed about all this. But what makes you restless, what worries you?
I have few fears. Implementing visions means having courage at the same time. However, I am very emotionally bound to my plans. My thoughts circle 24 hours around the further development of the product. For me, WebCAD is like raising my own child.
What inspires you?
The thought that everyone will be able to create his own product in the simplest way in the future. What people draw on WebCAD is tested for feasibility in the same breath. People are supported in their designs with artificial intelligence and as a result an individual product is produced fully automatically by machines. Giving people this opportunity is my main inspiration. What we develop behind the scenes is simply fascinating.
How does this affect your company, how is that reflected in WebCAD?
I am currently focusing my activities on WebCAD. Every day I'm inspired by the conversations with interested parties or customers. I transfer this inspiration into the inventive spirit of the company and try to create something new. WebCAD is constantly inventing new things, mostly at the limits of what is possible. We therefore enter into research partnerships with some companies. So far we have always been successful. Market leaders are approaching us to disrupt entire markets with new business models. And a little anecdote: I had a WebCAD presentation at a European market leader. After 30 minutes the owner got up, knocked on the table and stopped the presentation. I was briefly shocked and asked what I was doing wrong. He said literally: "What I see here is changing our entire industry. I want that. I discuss the investment with my board over the weekend and you will come again next week". That's how it happened and since then we've been changing the business together.
What does WebCAD mean for you?
WebCAD has the DNA to replace production with conventional processes. I can give you an example of our solution for contract sheet metal fabricators. Here the designer loads the drawing of the parts group onto his website, defines material and other parameters. He receives his graduated price and delivery time within seconds and can order immediately. We generate the so-called G-Code and send the programming directly to the machine selected by the WebCAD brain. In a highly automated machine, the machine removes the sheet metal from the automated storage, manufactures the parts and stores them. Only the packaging and shipping has to be done manually. A perfect process.
Another example from our success stories: A trade fair company digitizes its trade fair with WebCAD and sends the exhibitors their assigned trade fair stand. Exhibitors receive a link to the portal, design and configure their own stand. Whether walls, floors, light, furniture or exhibits. The planning is done in 3D and can be operated by any simple user. The exhibitor can walk comfortably through his visualised exhibition stand. He can see the costs at any time of his planning status. He orders and the finished design runs behind it into the overall exhibition plan. The trade fair operator can virtually walk through the future trade fair. Of course, the production and installation will continue to be coordinated fully digitally.
WebCAD with its brain has the ability to digitize production to the customer. This enables real Smart Factories. When production automation and standards catch up, WebCAD will offer people the opportunity to realize and produce a product idea fully automated. WebCAD offers companies the opportunity to act backwards from the customer rather than forwards from the product. In previous manufacturing companies, this approach was not manageable due to a lack of technology. WebCAD gives companies exactly this advantage.
What is your personal vision behind WebCAD?
I want to give people the opportunity to use their creative inventive potential. Each person is and thinks individually. The future should give people the opportunity to turn their visions into products, designs and plans without specialist knowledge and without specialists. This could enable a world of completely new and inspiring things and raise the potential of each individual.
From today's perspective, would you look back and go the same way again as an entrepreneur?
Of course I do. For me, this is a desirable way of life. My nature stands for innovation and inventiveness. I represent leading technology. With WebCAD for the lead with new business models.