Datacake GmbH celebrates its fifth anniversary, grows by several hundred percent and receives a seed investment of 650,000 euros. The investors' goal: a leading global IoT platform.
The founders and managing directors of Datacake GmbH, Simon Kemper and Lukas Klein, have every reason to celebrate this year: they have been successfully holding their own in the market for five years.
During this time, their company has grown organically and is built on a solid foundation. With the cloud-based Low Code IoT platform, small start-ups as well as large industrial companies can manage IoT networks and monitor them using individually configurable dashboards. Applications range from simple monitoring for temperatures to deploying entire IoT cloud infrastructures for medium and large enterprises. Datacake is currently commercially deployed in 31 countries.
Online sales were the key to success
But with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the previous sales channels were suddenly blocked: Face-to-face meetings were no longer possible from one day to the next, and contact persons in the home office were often unavailable by phone. However, exclusive online sales were not realistic in Germany at that time.
„Actually, we wanted to handle our sales via an online platform from the very beginning. That simply fits our product and our DNA best. But in Germany, people are often still very conventional in terms of industry, purchasing or bureaucracy. Therefore, we had to adapt to our potential customers and go personally to the companies.“
Of necessity, the Datacake team put out feelers to the rest of the world - to places where digitization is already a given - and set their sights on new markets.
„That was the key to success for us. We were confronted with completely different feedback than in Germany.“
Over 400 percent growth in one year
And so even the pandemic period of several years, during which many faltered, brought a positive turn for the company from Vreden in Münsterland.
„With the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, we decided to take a different path. Instead of producing and marketing our own hardware, we wanted the Datacake platform to exist only as a SaaS cloud solution. With this in mind, we opened up the platform to third-party hardware and, by jumping on the LoRaWAN market, Datacake gained the first self-service customers from all over the world." - Simon Kemper
Two years later, it turned out that this decision was the right one. In 2020, Datacake grew by 300 percent, and in 2021 by more than 400 percent. Thus, of all things, the last two years were the most successful time for the still young company.
An International Team
Another factor supported resilience during the crisis: The team works completely remotely across the globe. There is no office. Employees need nothing more than a laptop to work. In many countries around the world, this is how people work today as a matter of course. In Germany, however, this corporate culture is still sometimes met with incomprehension. Datacake found that it enabled the greatest possible flexibility and agility.
To ensure that the team can continue to grow successfully and master the challenges ahead despite the distances and flat hierarchies, the company created the necessary structures and processes at an early stage.
„We have always had a lot of fun in the team so far. It's very important to us that we maintain that in the upcoming phase of strong growth.“
Datacake grows with its tasks
Such immense growth is first and foremost a cause for celebration. But from the moment customers were able to register on the platform at the click of a button and get started, the platform has seen an unpredictable number of new users and millions of requests to the servers. The number of users rose rapidly from 58 in May 2020 to 11,230 in May of this year.
This brought new technical and organizational challenges: it first needed scalable technology. Datacake invested in new infrastructure and adapted the server architecture to meet the requirements. Managing Director Lukas Klein is proud of what has been achieved.
"Today, we offer our customers a rock-solid, scalable platform that is unlikely to be found elsewhere." - Lukas Klein
Keeping an eye on the market
In addition, the team has to maintain capacities for the increasing number of support requests. In addition, there were quite surprising requirements.
„Since the hurdle for use has been so low, we have had a lot of new customers from Latin America and Eastern Europe. We didn't have any requests from these regions before, so we weren't prepared for them at all. At first, we simply lacked the language skills to be able to support the new customers.“ recalls Simon Kemper.
The personal exchange with users is important and valuable for Datacake and its customers - because in this way the support team learns directly from the market what is needed.
„Our claim is to fulfill customer wishes. That means we want to deliver the relevant functions in a timely manner, so we realized, we need highly skilled new team members."
Unleashing the full potential with strong partners
Simon Kemper saw a need for action at another point: In recent years, the company has succeeded in winning some large companies as customers, including even some big players with decades of company history. They need reliable services for building new business models with data or for implementing large IoT projects.
„These companies have a responsibility to their customers. We found that they were skeptical of Datacake's young history against this background.“
The founders therefore set out to find a strong partner who, like them, was convinced of the potential of IoT technology and would support the fledgling company financially and strategically.
Similar to Simon Kemper and Lukas Klein with Datacake, Swedish investors Marcus Zethraeus, Predli AB, and Björn Zethraeus and Kristian Männik, Cantaloupe AB, started out self-financed with their companies. Only later did they develop into listed players with the help of outside capital. With the investment totaling 650,000 euros, Datacake will bring on board qualified specialists to develop new technical functions and provide multilingual customer support.
The market has enormous potential. No matter which countries you look at, digitalization and the Internet of Things are playing a growing role. Datacake already supports customers in Europe, Latin America, South Africa, Asia and the USA. With the investment, the company aims to reach an important milestone: Providing a multilingual holistic solution.
Datacake impresses with speed and quality
The three investors Marcus Zehtraeus, Björn Zethraeus and Kristian Männik are interested in a strategic cooperation and long-term investment. This is because they immediately recognized the enormous potential in Datacake. Marcus Zehtraeus is a founding partner of Predli AB. As a user, he worked with the Datacake platform himself in early 2021 for a LoRaWAN Helium project.
„I have tested a lot of IoT platforms over the years. Datacake has really held its own here as a very strong player in the IoT world. For me, at the time, it was like finding a diamond among all the vendors. As a customer, we were very impressed by the speed of development, the quality of innovation and the quality of the platform.“ - Marcus Zehtraeus
And the fact that the team independently developed and built the platform from day one to global scale is unique, according to the investors.
Investing in the future IoT market
When Marcus Zehtraeus heard that Simon Kemper was looking for investors, he brought other partners of the Cantaloupe Investement Fund on board: Björn Zethraeus and Kristian Männik, founders of Sinch AB, provider of a cloud communications platform, and thus long-time experts in the global telecommunications industry.
„It was immediately clear to me that with a long-term investment and the experience of the investors, a flexible and modular platform like Datacake will unleash incredible potential, open up new markets and inspire large companies on a global scale.“ - Marcus Zehtraeus
For the investors, an investment in Datacake opens up the opportunity to expand their business activities into the future industry of IoT. They see Germany as a location that convinces companies with its good products and solid data protection and data security. Worldwide, the mindset of the founders and the agile corporate culture combined with the international business network of the investors will ensure success.
A new ecosystem is emerging around IoT and LoRaWAN
„We have a lot of confidence in the Datacake team. They can draw on extensive experience in the field of IoT services. And I am convinced of the corporate culture that Simon Kemper and Lukas Klein have established. With Co-Founder Lukas Klein as CTO, the company also has an excellent technical manager.“ - Björn Zethraeus
The investor is convinced that Datacake's product fits perfectly into the new economic ecosystem that is currently emerging around IoT and LoRaWAN. This is because the platform works very well with the various current technologies. At the same time, the number of devices connecting businesses will continue to grow rapidly around the world. In this environment, companies need a scalable and flexible platform that can accommodate as many IoT technologies as possible.
The vision: Datacake as the world's leading IoT platform
„Datacake can do that. And the software is scalable. It works for small and for large enterprises. To professionally manage and monitor the IoT infrastructures that are created here, dashboards with the performance that Datacake brings are indispensable. I am therefore convinced that Datacake has the potential to become the leading IoT platform for use cases with a large number of devices.“ - Björn Zethraeus
He summarizes the investors' view of the future as follows:
„Our vision is to leverage the experience and expertise of Predli, Sinch and Cantaloupe to build a profitable and valuable company together with Datacake. We want to become the world's leading platform in the IoT market.“
By investing in Datacake, they are future-proofing a pioneer in the IoT market of the future.