Inventory software matches company inventory to employee skills
About Timly Software AG
Why we are writing on this topic:
The startup shows that it’s not enough to develop an app – and certainly not an app for everything. Technology and human behavior require coordination.
In 2020, Philipp Baumann and Fitim Mehmeti received a request from a construction company looking for software to effectively manage employee skills and certifications. No problem for both. They developed a version that gave insight into who in the company had what skills and when they needed a refresh. If certifications expired or training needed to be updated, the software reminded them in a timely manner. Later, the client wanted to link employee skills to company inventory – and the idea for the start-up Timly was born. Since then, they have been able to establish themselves in German-speaking countries with their inventory software and are now ready to expand across Europe. In this episode of the Start-up-of-the-Day series, co-founder Philipp Baumann talks about the challenges of starting a business and their innovation.
What problem are you solving with your inventory software – and why is it important?
Our software solves all customer issues regarding their inventory in conjunction with employee capabilities. In particular, questions such as “Who actually has what inventory, where, and in what condition?” or “Who should retrain and by when?” and “What equipment should be maintained, when and by whom?” can be answered by the software virtually at the click of a mouse. Small and large companies can get an individual solution to their inventory and employee skills issues with us and can ultimately grow with Timly.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
At first, we wondered if there were even potential customers for our inventory software. This caused us a lot of stress and sleepless nights, especially since we both already had families with children when we left our jobs to develop Timly. It wasn’t until the inventory software started selling that we realized the risk was worth it. With each new client, sales increased, but the workload also increased. As late as late 2021, three of us were still sitting in one of the founders’ tiny loft, working on requests and feedback for employee training or code label orders. QR to scan inventory. At the same time, we were trying to keep growing. Phases like this can be very difficult, especially in the beginning, but are eventually manageable due to market motivation and reactions.
What accomplishments have made you really proud?
We solve your business-specific problems with our inventory software. Through feedback from our customers, we can see firsthand how their problems vanish into thin air with our software. At the beginning, we were able to convince mainly small craftsmen and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). But little by little, large companies also approached us and integrated our software. Today – after only two years – we also count big companies like Siemens, SodaStream, Bayer, Der Spiegel and several German cities among our satisfied customers.
Was it difficult to obtain funding?
We have to admit that we underestimated the topic of fundraising a bit at first. We thought we could somehow convince investors with our customers and our famous traction (note: traction is proof that acquired customers generate revenue). But it takes more than that, and the current market situation is not particularly favorable either. Investors are cautious and expect a solid presentation of the company’s KPIs, team and vision. Fortunately, thanks to Eva Baumann, our finance manager, we were able to adapt very quickly to the situation and secure our first pre-seed funding at the end of 2021. This has considerably accelerated our expansion and we have now grown to 15 employees.
What are the conditions like in Zurich as a place?
The start-up scene in Zurich is growing and motivating more and more people to start businesses as well. But in terms of internationality of founders and employees, the city is still far from cities like Berlin. It also still lacks that certain start-up image that would attract international companies en masse. Even if close trade relations exist, it should not be forgotten that Switzerland is not a member state of the EU. Success stories like the ON! or the meat substitute Planted and various spin-offs from ETH Zurich prove that it is nevertheless possible to create a start-up spirit that is certainly comparable to the first start-up scenes in Berlin or London. Google, for example, now operates one of its largest European locations in Zurich and is constantly recruiting developers from various universities in Switzerland.
Where would you like to be with Timly in five years? What is your ultimate goal?
We have already established ourselves well in the DACH region and are also already active in the UK. In five years, we want Timly to be the leading company in the fields of inventory management and maintenance management of equipment, machinery and factories in Europe.
What makes your inventory software better or different from existing things?
Tying employee capabilities to company inventory is unique in the market sector. User and role management makes it possible to individually define which employees should have access to the inventory created in Timly or to specific functions. Equally unique is the full range of management functions. The software has a modular structure, so that it can be flexibly adapted to different industry and company-specific needs. This allows us to optimally serve companies, regardless of their size or sector of activity.
Are you hiring?
We are currently looking for a second product owner, a front-end developer and international marketing and sales support. From the start, we have focused on the expertise of the team, so we are mainly looking for specialist candidates with experience in the respective fields.
Want to read more articles about startups? You can find more episodes of this series here.