Recently, Dirk Sasse emerged out of the Founders Foundation Lab with his successful startup locarl. Now, he’s back with another promising idea that is just waiting to take off – with the help and cooperation of the Founders Foundation.
Find out how Dirk led his leasing platform to success in the shortest amount of time and which exciting concept he is now working on, together with the power of the Founders Foundation Community.
Dirk is a true serial entrepreneur. In his career, he brought five companies to market. In April 2019, he got ready for his next idea: locarl. With locarl, Dirk and his team offer BMW dealers a leasing platform of their own that features exclusive manufacturer models with more than a thousand vehicles.
This is a classic win-win-situation. The customers have access to a large selection of cars at their local dealership. The local dealership in turn can reduce the risk to their car inventory and acquire new customers in their region.
The growing startup scene in Bielefeld appealed to the serial founder so that he decided to approach the Founders Foundation in 2019 during the development phase of locarl. He says:
“The local dynamic in OWL felt so fascinating to me. I wanted to experience that spirit of innovation and connect with the young founders in the Founders Foundation. The Foundation team in Bielefeld was able to help us in the development of locarl with their advice and hands-on work.”
Generations of Founders Share their Experiences
As a full-blooded entrepreneur, Dirk met many young founders with first ideas and bold plans during his work at the Founders Foundation: “Working with young talents was both amazing and enlightening. I think I was able to impart some helpful nuggets of knowledge from my rich experience to the teams. In turn, I learned a lot from the young entrepreneurs about agility and aproaching things with ease”, Dirk reminisces about his time in the Founders Foundation Lab. “In the beginning. for example, we were at the same table as the Type Studios team; they changed their concept again and again. Watching that fire and agile way to approach the problem was really motivating and also influenced my work at locarl.”
In August 2019, locarl acquired the first paying customers. In December 2019, the startup was already able to show a positive cash flow. After 18 months, the team registers a market share of almost 30% in their segment and an impressive six figure monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
What Comes After locarl
Despite the enormous success, Dirk and his team don’t want to expand with locarl. “We had numerous discussions with Sebastian [CEO Founders Foundation] and Stephan [Director Education Founders Foundation] about scaling our model. In the end, we realized that there was no sense in modifying the model at all”, Dirk reports. However, the discussions resulted in a new business idea which had all the hallmarks of a BIG idea: B2B, internationally applicable, and absolutely scalable.
Again, the Founders Foundation community played a big role. During his time in the Lab, Dirk met many founders, among them the A\\Ware-team. A\\Ware co-founder Conner and Dirk started brainstorming together and discovered that they had synergy: Dirk with his extensive know-how and a specific idea, Conner and his team with the basics to create the decisive technology to fuel that idea. They joined forces and launched a project together. And again, the Founders Foundation was the focal point and the perfect sparring partner to bounce thoughts off.
The newly launched company is called reportio which is also the name for their saas sales enablement tool. With this startup, founders Dirk and Conner realize their idea to optimize reporting and maintenance of CRM data for a leaner and more efficient sales process.
The tool is meant to solve two of the biggest problems that companies face after implementing a CRM system: system usability and the CRM system’s acceptance with the company employees.
“reportio is Alexa for sales people” – that’s how founder Conner describes the idea behind the name. “Using voice command and intelligent data processing, information is filtered and prepared which leads to high quality information. As an added benefit, we solve one of the biggest problems in the sales world: We ensure that the CRM data is maintained, being kept up-to-date, which improves the overall quality of the data.” The central feature is the AI component which analyzes the text and provides the sales person with a specific instructions on what to do. The term “vacation”. for example, can in a certain context indicate that a deal is being postponed and the salesperson must take a closer look into the report again.
The reportio MVP is already finished and ready for launch.
We are glad for the immense trust the reportio team has placed in the Founders Foundation. We are going to further walk with them on their company journey and actively support the team.
Dirk's Advice for Aspiring Founders
“Focus on distribution and not on features. Learn how to do value-based selling – if your solution has no clear value for the customer, no one will want to write a cheque for it.”
“If you have the chance to develop something that has top line revenue impact, do it. Prioritize raising revenue before cost optimization.”
“Go! Go! Go! Have courage, make a decision and take the risk.”
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