Startups in our network: Robust AO

We would like to introduce young "born globals" in our region: One of them is ROBUST AO. The ROBUST AO team members are experts in adaptive optics for high-power lasers. Their first product -Zwobbel- helps machine manufacturers to develop laser processing systems that are more energy-efficient and thus more resource-efficient and sustainable. ​​In an interview, we asked them about the startup ecosystem. Here is what they had to say:​ (By kristin.hesche)


Interview with Robust AO

How do you perceive the startup ecosystem in Central Germany?​

We perceive this ecosystem as very lively, innovative, and technical. The exchange especially with technology startups from Jena and Thuringia always pushes us a lot as there is meanwhile a personal relationship with many founders and the exchange is open and honest.​
Unfortunately, the exchange with start-ups in Central Germany has been a little lacking in the last two years, and personal meetings in small groups have only been possible to a limited extent. However, we are very pleased that the start-up community in Central Germany has been growing and growing in recent years. That is certainly of advantage to everyone.​

What kind of support have you received in the past?​

There are many places in Thuringia that try to support various startups. At the beginning of our path, we took advantage of the advanced training offered by THEX and learned the basics of product development, marketing and accounting. ​
Later, of course, we also took advantage of the consulting services offered by Fraunhofer (DIHP) and the University of Jena (K1) for innovative start-ups specifically in Jena.​

What should be promoted even more in the future?​

Certainly, it would sometimes be easier if there was more practical help, such as legal advice or recommendations for tax consultants, special accounting programs and so on. Here, every start-up has to do the same research again in the end. However, I think the idea of free rooms, especially at the beginning of a startup, is a good one and should be expanded. Access to the latest computer technology and software also helps start-ups enormously, as this can cause immense costs, especially at the beginning of a start-up.​
Another advantage is the bm-t, which invests exclusively in innovative and growth-oriented companies with high potential. What could be improved is that people from technical start-ups hardly find any contact with a start-up community with a business background. For us, a closer connection to HHL or other universities with business students would be great in the future.​

Which international markets could or will be interesting for your products?​

We are planning to expand via Europe to America and Asia. In general, we are lucky that laser material processing and laser communication are strong in Germany and Europe, so we already have good local partners in Germany.​
Upscaling relies on a good product and excellent manpower. 

If you also want to be part of that journey, please let us know.​