Here at Lake Griebnitz, before the gates of Berlin, sits not only the famous film studio, but also the well-known Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). It is at HPI where students learn how to understand, develop, and master complex software programs.
The proximity is important, because it was at this institute, named after the eponymous SAP-founder, that Dr. Johannes Bohnet did his doctorate in informatics. Together with Bohnet, Hildebrandt founded Seerene five years ago, albeit under the name Software Diagnostics.
Today, the co-founder takes care of the customer-oriented product and service functions. The company now has 64 employees; it could be even more if it would fill all the job openings.
Hildebrandt reports that the company currently has around forty major customers. On their website, they proudly refer to Deutsche Post, Techniker Krankenkasse, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, the biotechnology group Qiagen and the banking service provider Fiducia&GAD IT.
Hildebrandt himself left the university after just one and a half months. "I'm just an entrepreneur," he says laconically. At the time, he immediately started his first company. It was about the three-dimensional representation of interiors. What is commonplace today was quite a new thing back then. "To do this, we transferred the logic that was already common in the electronic gaming world to the new application."
This also became a program for urban planning called "Landxplorer" in a collaboration with the Hasso Plattner Institute. Among other things, it provided digitized city views, something that Google Earth had announced at the time but did not yet have on the market.
As a result, a large software company from California became aware of the product from Potsdam, as Hildebrandt recounts. For him, it was an opportunity to be seized. He sold Landxplorer and used the proceeds to get into the real estate business and founded German Deep Tech. Under the umbrella of this holding company, he is building up high-tech companies, such as Seerene, and bundling real estate activities.
His current start-up raised $5 million from investors early last year, including Berlin-based Earlybird Venture Capital. Hildebrandt himself says he has put just over one million euros into the company, whose logo shows a stylized skyline. This is how buildings and cityscapes run through a founder's life.
Original article in German published in September 2016 in "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)".