Meet the CEO of Speechmatics
Lovely to meet you Benedikt - what would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Don’t be too smart, there is always someone smarter. In the same vein, it’s easy to get carried away with your own vision when starting out. Seek advice of your peers, especially those that have been in your position and made it out the other side.
What plans do you have for Speechmatics over the coming 12 months?
We are scaling rapidly and expect our headcount to be around 75 by the end of the year. Commercially, we have a number of exciting new products on the market, such as our Real-Time Virtual Appliance, and uptake is looking very strong. We will also be announcing a number of great partnerships with blue chip companies over the coming months that underline the uniqueness of our technology and strength of our business model.
What’s the most important question entrepreneurs should be asking themselves?
Why? Five times over. It’s great for root cause analysis, where the apparent reason for a problem will often lead you to another question. It is also helpful as a tool to unpack and verify value propositions.
How do you believe the evolution of tech will affect your industry over the next 10 years?
There are three main areas that will be driving the evolution of technology. First of all, we will see an ongoing push towards EDGE computing within the hardware sector, with key algorithms moving on-device. Secondly, data will help us take a huge leap forward, as unsupervised machine learning will start to make an increasingly visible impact. Lastly, cloud technology will adapt to the times, as we will see a continued drive towards hybrid models, which allows businesses to make use of both public and private cloud networks and run more efficiently from both an economic and speed point of view.
Recharging every so often, especially as a parent and entrepreneur is important. How do you recharge when you’re feeling burnt out?
I like to mix it up and do things that energise me. Kite surfing, cooking, yoga and piano are amongst some of my favourite activities.
What habits do you think helped you to become successful?
I’ve always been passionate about exciting tech and I like to invest all my energy into making sure that the projects I work on get the best visibility and chance of becoming successful on the market. Being intrepid is key when leading a company, especially in those stages, as well as keeping an open mind and questioning everything along the way.
What are your thoughts on networking to build your business?
Focused networking can be extremely useful. Know what and who you are targeting and why, so you don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. The issue I find with a lot of networking events is that there are many interesting conversations happening, but little business progress follows. Having said that it can be very powerful to validate a business model with many unrelated people. If networking – be efficient, ensure you speak to everyone and follow-up with relevant people immediately to keep those relationships going.
How did you build such an amazing consumer culture around (your business)?
When building Speechmatics, our focus was to set very clear values for our company and our customers. Our guiding principles in everything we do are to always go the extra mile, build trust and stick to our word. And while we might not be the ones to come up with this, we do use the technique of under-promising and over-delivering - this keeps both us and our customers happy.
What would be your top marketing tip, to grow a business that is so niche, yet incredibly timeless?
No matter how extensive the sector you work in may seem, it is actually a small community of people who make an industry work. That’s why it’s crucial to work really hard and make every one of your customers happy and successful. News travels fast, and there is no better endorsement for your company than word of mouth from happy clients.
What are your thoughts on failure as an entrepreneur?
Failure is incredibly important for entrepreneurs. It unlocks potential and enables them to learn, and continuous learning is key to progress. In fact, I would encourage all entrepreneurs to make mistakes, they’re nothing to be afraid of. What can be damaging, however, is making the same mistake twice.