Florian HolzWe asked Florian Holz, CEO of SOTEC, about his motivation to participate in Arena 42

After his degree in Mechatronics at the University of Stuttgart, Florian worked at Voith Paper Automation as Product Manager for Information Systems before joining the family business (SOTEC) in 2007. Today he is the CEO and has been focussing on innovative applications of IT in industrial automation and product development for over 15 years. In the following interview he explains why SOTEC supports the business creation programme Arena42.

What is the motivation of SOTEC to support Arena 42?
At SOTEC we are convinced that powerful innovations particularly come from small flexible teams. Within our company, project teams have the space to come together and work on our customer’s challenges without hierarchical structures or frontiers between departments. By supporting Arena 42, we want to give startups and founders the opportunity to access a similar space and knowledge to bring ideas to life. We hope to excite local and global founders for the Stuttgart region and play a small role in establishing an entrepreneurial environment here.

In the current Arena42 batch, you were particularly looking for entrepreneurs and not for ideas – can you explain why?
A good idea or business model is certainly the foundation for a successful endeavour, however, even more important is the execution behind it. The teams that drive their idea forward with a clear goal in mind and full commitment will determine the ultimate success. You can see these traits in many serial entrepreneurs that created ventures with diverse sets of business models.

Together with bwcon, you kicked off the this batch with an Idea Camp. What was the main value – for your company as well as for the participants – that has been created during this idea generation camp?
As mentioned above, our motivation was to meet and support people with an entrepreneurial mindset. In contrast to a pure “pitching competition” we were able to spend two full days with the participants, whereby we got to know them better. Furthermore, not everyone joining the idea camp will continue to pursue their idea full-time, but we might be able to provide them with a similarly dynamic and entrepreneurial environment at SOTEC.

What are you particularly looking forward to regarding Arena 42?
We are excited to work with the entrepreneurs on their idea and contribute to developing a viable business model. We hope to see some visionary thinking and ideas that help to create step changes and that have the potential to help solve real world problems.