CI-FIRE Interview with Incelligent a cool startup with a cool name

Incelligent is a dynamic SME that produces software which revolutionizes the way wireless broadband networks are monitored and managed. Its main product enables knowledge-based and predictive actions, by analyzing data that is highly heterogeneus, i.e., network-related (e.g., traffic-load, application performance, network KPIs) and non-network-related (e.g., weather, event-occurrence, date, etc.). As an outcome Incelligent software has been measured to deliver quality improvements in the range of 50-70%, revenue increases at a level of 20% and cost decreases at the range of 30-50%.
In part, the Incelligent venture has derived from WINGS ICT Solutions, which is a forward looking SME conducting research on Future Internet technologies. This Athens-based firm benefited from involvement in CREW, a FIRE test facility for advanced spectrum sensing, cognitive radio, knowledge-based decision making regarding spectrum sharing in licensed and unlicensed bands. This was an important milestone for defining its strategy on smart wireless access, device management, IoT, and big data. WINGS is not only the founding company behind the newer startup, Incelligent, it is also pursuing the establishment of further potential new startups for IoT and big data.
CI-FIRE spoke to Serafim Kotrotsos from Incelligent to find out more about this new firm with a cool name.

How did the idea for new startup come about?
WINGS ICT Solutions is primarily a research-based company. It needed another firm to take mature products to market. The Incelligent team combines a strong research background with business experience in the telecommunication software industry. Having been involved in research on knowledge-based management of wireless networks for the last five years we saw significant added value for the telecommunications sector in one of the solutions that WINGS had developed so we started looking at how to commercialise it.

How did you get pre-seed funding?
In order to setup our startup and pursue the productisation and market penetration with our innovative technology we started looking for pre-seed funding for our wireless broadband network management system. We found it easier and more practical to talk to local venture capitalists. We succeeded in convincing Openfund that Incelligent has valid potential in becoming a leading-edge technology provider to the telecoms industry worldwide. Openfund provides entrepreneurs with what they need to create and grow a successful technology company. It has made an €80,000 investment in pre-seed capital to support the Incelligent team as they build and validate a functional prototype. This step has been completed and now we have started addressing to our first clients while continuing R&D. We plan to raise additional funds within the next months. The obvious suspects include the Openfund, large enterprises of our target market that invest on innovative startups of the sector and of course venture capitalists.

Who came up with the idea for the name?
The idea for the name came during a brainstorming amongst the three core team members. We were looking for a name that didn’t already exist, and that conveyed the idea of smart networks, intelligent cellular networks and connected networks. Incelligent was our favourite word so we decided to go for that.

What practical tips would you give to other entrepreneurs thinking of creating a new company?
I could write a book on it narrating my 15-year entrepreneurial experience in the ICT sector. Here are some of the most important tips: First, you need to focus on the idea, what problem it solves in the real world, and what added value it brings to the market. This has to be something solid and can be enough just to get started. It can also be useful to have people in the industry willing to listen to how you can solve the problem, and even suggest alternative approaches. You must know the market and how to raise interest. The execution will mainly define your success. Every part of the plan must be realistic. It’s also important to work out the practicalities like how long it will take to get funding, the logistics and the administrative part. However the most important element is to build the right team, with complementary skills that cover all the roles needed to be successful and enable a fruitful collaboration atmosphere even when things are quite challenging.

So what added value does Incelligent bring to the industry?
Bringing new generation wireless broadband networks to their full potential will have significant impact on an industry that is facing increasing operational costs and dwindling revenue. Benefits of Incelligent range from environmental and economic sustainability, ease of management and optimal user experience. Incelligent automates Mobile and Wi-Fi network management, enabling intelligent, real-time decisions powered by accumulated knowledge. This means energy efficiency, quality of service, improved customer experience, increased revenue and decreased costs.

What are your aspirations and needs for the future?
We’ve done some simulations on real-life scenarios but we’ll need test beds that provide real test environments to go beyond these early simulations. We also plan to deepen our network of companies and pursue real commercial collaborations.