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The Disruptors of Automotive

Interview with Paul Mundt, Founder and CEO, Adaptant Solutions AG

Tell us about Adaptant and how you are disrupting automotive.

We started Adaptant in 2015 in response to the then-forthcoming changes in the European data protection and privacy landscape - specifically, the GDPR. Since this time, Adaptant has focused on developing user-centric technological solutions and innovations that help companies not only meet their compliance obligations, but also build more valuable relationships with their customers.

Through the launch of our KnowGo Car App and Platform, we are disrupting Automotive and InsurTech by enabling a new generation of privacy-preserving data services & solutions that allow both end-users and service providers to leverage personally identifiable data and other sensitive data types in a way that is secure, privacy-preserving, ethical, and adaptable across country borders and industry sectors - built around the principles of data austerity (Datensparsamkeit) and individual control. Our KnowGo Car App, provides a realization of the KnowGo Platform specifically adapted for Connected Cars and Smartphone-based Telematics. KnowGo Car lets individuals track, manage, and benefit from their driving data, while giving them the control to minimize, selectively disclose, and share data on their own terms - empowered by the GDPR.

What can traditional businesses learn from start-ups?

The main things traditional businesses can learn from start-ups, in my opinion, fall into two key areas: (1) learning from and accepting failure of a new idea/concept as a worthwhile endeavour in and of itself; and (2) making room for trying things that may not yet have a clear connection to an existing product line, while ensuring that relevant organizational stakeholders can be engaged.

In the case of (1), the part that is often overlooked by larger organizations is that it is better to make small mis-steps early on before committing to a direction, and the more you know about what doesn’t work, the more time and money you will save later when trying to scale. Besides the organizational learning benefits, a portfolio of results from previous experimentation derived from a common concept can also provide an opportunity for future product and market diversification. Start-ups typically rely on the results of this type of experimentation to write up their intangible asset valuation owing to a lack of resources to pursue them fully - larger  organizations, however, are far less resource-constrained, and are much better positioned to explore these fully.

For (2), a key point of what enables start-up innovation is not just the ideation or capacity for greenfield thinking, but also the flat hierarchies and accessibility of stakeholders across the organisation that enable cross-functional and interdisciplinary scrutiny, brainstorming, and engagement at every stage of the innovation process. In traditional companies, waiting for new ideas to reach a certain level of maturity before having these discussions simply means that a big part of what enables start-up innovation to flourish is missed - you can transfer the IP, but often the know-how and the process by which the idea was developed is the more valuable asset, particularly during subsequent operationalization.

In just 2 sentences...

...what can our audience expect from your Start-up Elevate pitch?

We hope to show the audience that there exists a world of choice between absolute privacy-preservation on one hand, and unfettered access to personal and sensitive data on the other. We will show how, in our KnowGo Platform and KnowGo Car App, we have addressed these issues, and how KnowGo enables service providers to provide seamless data-driven services and solutions, that are both data ethical and legally compliant across regulatory and country borders in today’s growing data economy - When it comes to data, sometimes less is more!

What will be the number 1 takeaway for the audience be?

The number 1 takeaway should be that the GDPR, and regulation like it, is only the beginning of the journey.

Variance and derogations within the GDPR implementation, as well as national-restrictions on different types of data further constrain the free-flow of data - issues that service providers will need to overcome in order to provide increasingly sophisticated data-driven services that behave not only in the way their customers expect but also in a way that is acceptable to them.

What are you most looking forward to at TU-Automotive Europe?

As a start-up, it’s often a challenge to keep up-to-date on all of the latest developments in the industry.

We’re most looking forward to seeing what others in the industry have been up to, as well as to get a better understanding of the outlook different verticals have for the future, especially in the EU. We’re also looking forward to meeting some like-minded companies with which we can collaborate - hopefully forming some new strategic alliances and partnerships along the way.