Timly founders (L-R): Fitim Mehmeti and Philipp Baumann (c) Timly Software AG
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About Timly Software AG

  • Founders: Philipp Baumann, Fitim Mehmeti
  • Founded in: 2020
  • Employees: 15
  • Money raised: Pre-seed business angel financing in 2021, currently seven-digit revenue
  • Ultimate goal: To become the European market leader for digital inventory management.
Why we write about 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 efficiently manage employee skills and certifications. No problem for the two. They developed a version that gave an overview of who in the company had what skills and when they needed to be refreshed. If certifications expired or training needed to be updated, the software reminded them in a timely manner. Later, the customer wanted to link employee skills to the company’s 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 up a company and their innovation.

What problem do you solve with your inventory software – and why is it important?

Our software solves all the problems customers have 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 has to get retrained and by when?” and “What equipment has to be maintained when and by whom?” can be answered by the software virtually at the click of a mouse. Both small and large companies can get an individual solution for their issues with inventory and employee skills with us and can ultimately grow with Timly.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

In the beginning, we wondered if there were even potential customers for our inventory software. That caused us a lot of stress and sleepless nights, especially since we both already had families with children when we quit our jobs to develop Timly. It wasn’t until the inventory software started selling that we saw the risk was worth it. With each new customer, sales increased, but the workload also increased. As recently as the end of 2021, three of us were still sitting in the small loft of one of the founders, working through requests and feedback for employee training or orders for QR code labels 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 ultimately manageable due to motivation and market feedback.

What accomplishments have made you really proud?

We solve business-specific problems with our inventory software. Through feedback from our customers, we can see firsthand how their problems vanish into thin air thanks to our software. In the beginning, we were able to convince mainly small craftsmen and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). But gradually, large corporations also approached us and integrated our software. Today – after only two years – we also count large corporations like Siemens, SodaStream, Bayer, Der Spiegel and several German cities among our happy customers.

Timly inventory software (c) Timly Software AG

Was it difficult to get funding?

We have to admit that we underestimated the topic of fundraising a bit in the beginning. We thought that we could somehow convince investors with our customers and our famous traction (note: traction is proof of acquired customers generating revenue). But it takes more than that, and the current market situation is not particularly conducive, either. Investors are cautious and expect a solid presentation of the company’s KPIs, team and vision. Fortunately, through Eva Baumann, our Head of Finance, we were able to adapt to the situation very quickly and secure our first pre-seed financing at the end of 2021. This has significantly accelerated our expansion and we have now grown to 15 employees.

What are the conditions like in Zurich as a location?

The start-up scene in Zurich is growing and motivating more and more people to start companies as well. But in terms of the 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 in droves. Even if close trade relations exist, you can’t forget that Switzerland is not an EU state. Success stories such as the sports shoe 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 initial 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 been able to establish 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 areas of inventory management and maintenance management of equipment, machines and plants in Europe.

What makes your inventory software better or different than existing things?

Linking employee capabilities to the company’s inventory is unique in the market sector. User and role management are used to individually define what employees should have access to the inventory created in Timly or to specific functions. Equally unique is the comprehensive range of management functions. The software has a modular structure so it can be flexibly adapted to various industry and company-specific needs. This allows us to optimally serve companies regardless of size or industry.

Are you hiring?

We are currently looking for a second product owner, a front-end developer and international marketing and sales support. From the very beginning, we have focused on expertise in the team so we are primarily looking for specialized candidates with experience in the respective areas.

Want to read more posts about startups? You can find more episodes of this series here.