New York | NY Class of Spring 2018
Answers from Jonas Girardet, COO & Founder of ProGlove.
Why did you decide to participate in the German Accelerator New York program?
When we decided to open our U.S. branch, we started from scratch. We literally had nothing to build upon: no experience, no commercial network, no nothing. At the same time, we knew we would be faced with challenging issues including legal, import, and tax matters. So we were looking for a way to address these questions comprehensively and found that the German Accelerator program was a perfect match in that regard.
The program offered us two locations to start from: San Francisco and New York City. San Francisco would have been a great option had we looked for investors. However, our primary concern has been the establishment of a powerful sales organization, and we wanted to be as close as possible to our customers. As we knew our chances were good in the automotive industry we opted for the east. Even more so since we felt that it would make real-time interactions with our German headquarters substantially easier.
What did you achieve during the program?
Most importantly, we set up a fully functioning U.S. entity, and found an efficient way of dealing with the red tape attached to it. The program has been a blessing in that regard. But it also helped us win our first customers in the United States. Aside from that, we – as a technology provider – needed to find partners, and the program was extremely helpful with that. Moreover, we managed to onboard four new hires – which would have been disproportionately more difficult without German Accelerator. All in all, it is fair to say that the combination of the above factors was the basis for us to hit our very ambitious revenue targets, and we are delighted we managed that.
Where does your company stand today?
We moved our office to Chicago because that took us closer to most of our customers. Additionally, it considerably cut our expenditures. Our U.S. business continues to grow organically, and we are now at six employees. We have established a fully functioning operation in the United States. And it goes without saying that we are happy with the way things are going for us in America.
By developing industrial wearables and analysis tools, ProGlove connects the human workforce with the Industry 4.0. The Munich-based company was founded in December 2014 by Thomas Kirchner, Jonas Girardet, Paul Günther, Manuel Bönisch and Alexander Grots after winning the Intel “Make it Wearable” Challenge in Silicon Valley. Following rapid growth, ProGlove successfully concluded its second round of financing in 2018 with investors DIVC, Intel Capital, Bayern Kapital and GETTYLAB. ProGlove employs 125 people at its two sites in Munich and Chicago.