Brainamics is a startup that has great potential to revolutionize the world of game testing. We interviewed the founder and TUM School of Management student Philipp Zent. Together with his co-founders Vladislav Samoilov and Tim Meinhardt, he started Brainamics, and they have already received numerous awards, such as the Start-Award of the Think.Make.Start program, the TUM IDEAward 2021, and the EXIST Founder Scholarship. Currently, the three founders are working on a streaming platform – or as the founder himself describes it: a Netflix for game developers. Read on to find out exactly what this looks like and what has happened since our last interview with the young company.
Crucial steps at the beginning of founding
Brainamics was formed barely a year ago. Philipp knows firsthand what steps you go through after finding an idea. For him, the vision keeper is particularly essential at the beginning of any startup, as the vision will lead the entrepreneurs throughout the founding process, without losing sight of their idea. After the market analysis shows that the product idea has potential, it is time to put together a team and develop the prototype. Simultaneously, in addition to product development, “you have to start selling the (still unfinished) product and find your first customers.” The last step deals with financing. Founders must then consider whether they want to scale the company from their own resources and sales or whether they want to raise external capital.
Brainamics has left this pre-seed phase. They have established the GmbH (limited liability company) as a legal form, acquired new employees, and found their first customers. Now the founders forge ahead towards becoming a scale-up.
Mastering challenges as an entrepreneur
What is the biggest challenge as a founder? According to Philipp, it is product development – because that is where many entrepreneurs fail. The challenge is to design a product that not only meets your own expectations but also makes sense to customers. According to the founder, young entrepreneurs should therefore always “validate whether the product you want to build is really what the customer needs.” Especially in the initial phase, the exchange with experts and potential customers is essential.
In this context, Philipp also talks about his latest idea – a Netflix for game developers. There, on a platform provided by Brainamics, game developers can access and use the emotional journey of players from a wide variety of games. Similar to Netflix, the web streaming platform will work via subscriptions. After further validation, the launch is planned for later this year.
Another challenge young companies can face: Their brand name is already taken. This was also the case for Brainamics, which was originally named Brainsight. To avoid a possible legal dispute, a new name had to be found. And how do you find a new name when you are in the process of establishing your company as such? According to Philipp, this was a challenging process, which, funnily enough, was solved by a specially developed program that created all kinds of name combinations.
Recruiting the first employees
One of the best things about being a founder, according to Philipp, is “seeing your company grow and building an awesome team.” When it comes to recruiting, the three founders follow a Triple-A principle to find the best possible fellows for Brainamics. A’s are awarded for task fit, cognitive performance, and personal fit. The goal during the application process is to find people with three A’s. That’s why, as Philipp explains, there are “three interviews at Brainamics, each focusing on one of these aspects.”
How to find customers
Finding customers is obviously one of the key tasks for any founder. In the case of Brainamics, it is primarily the game developer conferences where the founders make contacts. Drawing attention to yourself is enormously important as a young founder, Philipp told us. Large events and their matchmaking opportunities are ideal for this.
Finding support for your idea
Starting a business during your studies can be challenging. Therefore, getting the right support in this phase is just as crucial. This was also clear to Philipp and his co-founders. As early as his first semesters, Philipp took numerous entrepreneurship courses at TUM School of Management and the UnternehmerTUM, which he was able to to have credited to his studies. As a result, according to the young entrepreneur, he had “already gone through many phases, such as creating a prototype, in short form,” and was well prepared for the actual founding. The offers from xpreneurs and the mentoring at TUM School of Management were also incredibly helpful and “couldn’t be better if you want to found a startup.”
Brainamics’ goals for 2022
Barely out of the pre-seed phase, the three founders have set themselves further ambitious goals for 2022. Philipp states that further employees will be hired and another seed round is planned to boost Brainamics’ further growth. And of course, Netflix for game developers will be launched by the end of this year.