Daniel Siegel, Moritz Maier, Sebastian Moeller (from left to right) want to shorten production processes in engineering. Your Elise software was developed for this purpose.
Düsseldorf The Bremen-based start-up Elise has set itself a lot of goals: the founders want to gather the knowledge of engineers and automate parts of product development. Above all, the time for designing, designing and constructing should be shortened. Investors appreciate the project. The start-up is now collecting 14.5 million euros, as the Handelsblatt learned from investor circles.
The money comes from US investor Spark. The venture capital subsidiary of BMW, iVentures, and the funds UVC, Cherry Ventures and Venture Stars are also involved. The financing is regarded as a sign of confidence in uncertain times on the markets.
Moritz Maier, one of the three founders of Elise, says: “The world of product development is dusty. For 30 years, little has moved, there is too much back and forth, too many silos, too many software programs.“
Elise’s solution is called “Connected Engineering”. It bundles the entire wealth of experience of the engineers. The project is well received by well-known companies. Among the 35 customers are companies such as Airbus, BMW, Lego or Miele.
Benjamin Erhart, partner of UVC and one of the early investors, says: “Elise stood out. It wants to change the DNA of product development.” Engineering tools that run better and faster, but only improve partial aspects of the development process, “are offered to us all the time,” explains the investor.
Engineering knowledge in an algorithm
It often takes months for a product to reach production. First it is developed, designed, constructed and then tested. If there are supply chain problems or new customer requirements, engineers redesign the product. They confer to solve the problems.
The problem is that at the stages of development, employees work separately from each other. Whether in development, construction or purchasing – special software and tools are used everywhere that come from providers such as Siemens, PTC or Dassault and cannot communicate with each other.
The Elise software is intended to change this and turn the process knowledge of engineers into an algorithm. All requirements for a component are then collected in the software and connected to rule sets.
With so-called low-code elements, for which no in-depth programming knowledge is necessary, any engineer can change parts of the program and design new designs and products with various parameters.
This could apply, for example, to components for the Airbus A320. This is being developed by the Augsburg-based aircraft supplier Premium Aerotec. With the help of the Elise software, a lot of time could be saved: certain components were completed in five days instead of two months. Klaus Kalmer, Chief Engineer at Premium Aerotec, says: “This significantly reduces development costs.“
But, as with any new technology, there are reservations. Some engineers are reluctant to give up their knowledge advantage. Not without reason. “Some are afraid of our software, it would automate their work away,” says Elise founder Maier. Typically, after a week or two, however, “click with the employees, then they see the potential and it spreads like wildfire in the company.“
Innovation for product development
Elise originates from a project of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremen. Since 2009, some employees have been researching lightweight construction and bionics, how they can reduce weight during production and generate innovation.
The team used numerous engineering tools such as CAD software or Excel spreadsheets. This should be faster and better, the four founders thought to themselves and developed their own software. in 2018 they founded Elise.
The valuation of the company has increased significantly since then. “We are convinced that sooner or later the Elise platform will be the decisive tool for engineers in their day-to-day business,” says UVC partner Erhart.
Next year, the start-up wants to expand to the USA – the largest market for software. Elise co-Boss Maier says: “The mentality there is also more in line with ours. Americans are more open to new technology, while German manufacturers are already struggling with the transition to the cloud.” Although there are fewer concerns, “but of course the software must keep what it promises”.