From university to entrepreneurship – Why three students founded a technological industrial company – Part 1

In our mini-series, we interviewed the three managers of solvimus GmbH.
In the first part, Thomas Brand, CEO, gives a brief insight into our founding history and explains why founding his own company was the perfect step.


How was the idea of founding a company during your studies born?

This happened quite spontaneously during a round of playing cards. I came back from working  abroad in the US for one semester. Beforehand, I had given up my part‑time job and after my return, I faced the question if I should continue with it or if I should start to put my study knowledge into practice. In the US, I learned that failure was not as problematic as it is in Germany – even today. Recognizing this and the urge to move things forward was my motivation to ask the other two managers if we would like to start our own business together. We worked as a GbR (company constituted under civil law), after that we rebranded to a GmbH (Ltd) and a time‑intensive part‑time job became a successful full‑time job.


What barriers were there?

The greatest barriers were actually those in my head, which had to be removed first.
University courses on company foundation helped to keep the most important things in mind. Nevertheless, we had to learn a lot. Especially, business-related questions were new to us as engineers.

Due to numerous workshops, we attended, this was not a big problem either. Without financial resources, which we did not have as students, every cent for investing had to be earned. As a result, our learning effects were many times higher – also because subsidies for our business area were not available to us at the very beginning. Today, I see this as one of our biggest advantages and I am a little bit proud that we made it this way.


The first employees – What kind of feeling was that?

From now on, it was no longer only the three of us, who were involved in the company, it became more than that. Above all, we now had responsibility not only for our employee, but also for the employee’s family. Suddenly, the feeling of responsibility was quite different. Otherwise, it was also very exciting and new questions arose, e.g. how to submit a holiday request?


The foundation from today’s point of view – Exactly the same again or maybe not at all?

I would do it in exactly the same way again – maybe incorporate one or another experience – but due to our inexperience we also broke new ground, which we might not have followed otherwise.


What motivates the team of solvimus?

From my point of view, the extremely high conviction that we not only offer excellent products but also that the whole package simply fits. We want to find and implement the best solutions for our customers. We rely on openness and constructiveness as well as on humanity and understanding.


Very personal question – What makes solvimus so special?

The feeling of having established a great company!


In your opinion, what does a founder need for a successful company start?

You have to be an entrepreneurial type and understand what it means to run a business. “Self and all the time” is not just a phrase, which is often used in Germany, the will to move things matters. It helps to pursue a target – as simple as it may be. Not always easy, but highly recommended is to surround yourself with good consultants and to think about their suggestions, even if you initially reject them.

And on a personal basis, I think that you should not found a company alone. A second or third opinion can save you sometimes from making mistakes. In addition, good founding partners provide the necessary support and tasks can be distributed on many shoulders.


What advise would you to give to young founders or students, who want to start their own business?

Very clearly – the courage to do it!


Short profile:

Thomas Brand is 41 years old, likes to motorbike through the beautiful Thuringia and enjoys the unique nature. As one of the managers of solvimus GmbH he likes to have the insight into the whole business and knows how to inspire the colleagues with his figurative language.


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