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How do you sell a product, before it even exists?

... was the question I asked myself after receiving our topic at the Merck Hackathon 2016. Together with three strangers, I was challenged to come up with a solution in less than 24 hours. What started as a night full of coffee and stress, turned into a first place award and months later into a startup three of us founded. This company is called Monocular.

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Since the founding in 2017, the agency monocular UG (haftungsbeschränkt), which I founded and led as a CEO, has created some amazing Augmented Reality products. One of them: An AR-kit enabled product presentation app for Merck. Tackling the issue of presenting and selling a product an an early state of product development, at this moment, our app is actively being used by Merck sales teams.

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Getting a user's hand on a product, before it's being produced: This is our goal at Monocular. We create B2B solutions for product sales using the innovativeness and power of Augmented Reality.


About Monocular


What we do


We provide highly innovative and reliable business solutions in the field of Augmented Reality. Our current top product is "Specular" - a powerful tool that enables sales-representatives to sell products in early development stages by providing a virtual hands-on experience for the customer, using Augmented Reality.


Who are we doing it for


We are working for multiple companies across diverse industries. One of them is Merck, a Top-25 player in the chemical and medical industry.

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Why us


Even though we are a young company, Monocular UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is fully profitable and has multiple customers across diverse industries. Our team consists of talented programmers, managers and designers, who are all eager to adapt to the latest technologies on the market and to even form those themselves. We constantly expand our resources to handle even more projects simultaneously.


Our Skill Set


AR Cross-Plattform App Development

3D Modelling

Conception

IOT & Hardware Prototyping

3D Printing

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As a software-company we always try to keep our ongoing costs as low as possible. One way to do so is the the abdiction of an office. We usually meet at local cafés and university rooms in Darmstadt to assign tasks and work on them at our homes. Every Monday, we hold a Skype meeting to keep track of our process and maintain the drive.

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Most of the work on our projects we do in Unity. Thanks to the large and helpful community, solving problems on our own has always been possible. And thanks to collaboration features, everyone of us is always on the same page.

Learnings

The main learning for me, apart from spending lots of time working and coding in Unity, was the position and role of the CEO. When a company has your name written on it and you're in charge of making it the way you want to, you want to make it really good. This is not easy: As somebody who has never founded before, unforeseen challenges occurred quite often and took a bigger amount of time than expected. Also client requests and negotiations, whether something was nescessairy made me spend lots of effort on communication, rather than development. While this was quite interesting and challenging as well, I would've also appreciated to spend some time on creative work. And apart from our own corporate identity and basic styling of the product, this was not really a part of the work I did. A way to bring it in anyway, was the preparation of a pitch and demos I did for a new client. During this research and development phase, I brought in new ideas, such as using 3D printed models as tracking points for AR applications and testing whether IOT could be used to extend the AR experience.

The future

For my colleagues and me it was certain from the start, that Monocular will not turn into a full-time job for any of us. We always saw the company as an experiment for our individual learning paths in life and decided to treat it exactly as that. All of us are students and about the same age, so we knew that after finishing our studies, Monocular as a project can and will not go on. Over the course of 2018 and 2019, Tobias and I will now take all the necessary steps in order to safely shut down our company and enable the remaining payouts for all of us.