Crowcoding Gründer krempeln die Ärmel hoch

A part-time job as CEO

How a student start-up established a cooperation with Audi

A student start-up that works together with Audi? Yes, it exists – in Aachen to be exact. Audi Blog author Luisa Kübler took a look at the idea the young team uses for supporting the company and how the cooperation came to be.

Bunte Codezeilen auf schwarzem Desktop-Hintergrund
Code all over the place: At Crowdcoding IT solutions, the world revolves around the colorful lines that are used as a final software during the preproduction series planning at Audi.

I walk down the stairs to the office rooms of the Crowdcoding IT Solutions in Aachen and ring the bell. Instantly, a young man opens the door and grins at me. “Hi, I’m Felix,” he says and asks me to come inside. Colorful memos with many notes on them are fixed on the wall. The laptops, tablets and smartphones lying on the table shows on first glimpse that the students are dealing with information technology topics: In opened visualization tools, colorful graphics and numerical sequences are glowing.

Lucca, Patrick and Tom are sitting at a table in the middle of the room. They are Felix’s friends and – since recently – colleagues. And then, in the middle, there’s me. My mission: To find out more about the cooperation of the young team with Audi.

How the cooperation between Audi and the start-up came to be

Because the students have been supporting the coding of the preproduction series program planning at Audi in Neckarsulm. The cooperation with the brand started more than a year ago, during the first Smart Factory Hackathon by Audi.

The event that makes coder’s heads spin, took place in Ingolstadt in October 2016: Several teams developed software for 24 hours and created solutions for the different Audi working branches. Taking place was Felix Fink, student for business engineering for mechanical engineering at the RWTH University Aachen and four of his friends. The day’s challenge for them: A project originating from the Audi preproduction series program planning. “Our department submitted a project to the hackathon, because students think outside the corporation’s structure and thus they bring a breath of fresh air and new impulses into our everyday work life”, Buchholz says.

Crowdcoding Gründer und Audi Mitarbeiter im Gespräch

During the Smart Factory Hackathon, an event for the development of new solutions for the factory of the future, the four students met with Audi for the first time. What resulted from that was a cooperation that supports the Audi preproduction series planning with predicting the number of pre-series vehicles more accurately.

But what does the Audi employee hope to achieve with the coding event? With the help of data from the past, his department wants to take a look into the future. “We want to predict the number of pre-series vehicles more accurately and if necessary, reduce it”, Buchholz explains.

And what motivated Felix to join the Hackathon? That’s not explained in one sentence. Felix reaches back and I listen excitedly what fascinates the guys about this data world: “It is unbelievable how the analysis of figures makes an enormous and hidden potential useable. Data is the oil of the 21st century”, Felix says.

The founding of the start-up

For him and his team, the cooperation with Audi is a huge change: “The subject areas in companies are constantly collecting numbers and data, but aren’t able to further process them due to time reasons. That’s where the potential is lost.” It’s exactly here that the start-up begins their work, as is later discovered.

The 21-year and 22-year olds have been software aficionados and IT experts for some time, because their personal interests and working student jobs in IT security and the car industry have gained them a lot of experience in different IT topics. So, it’s no wonder that their ideas were well received at the event in Ingolstadt. Buchholz was thrilled: He wanted to win the young adults for a cooperation with Audi. That provided an incentive for the software experts to found a start-up. That’s how the Crowdcoding IT Solutions start-up was born in Aachen 2017.

Profilaufnahme von Gründer Felix Fink bei der Arbeit am Bildschirm
Highly concentrated: Start-Up co-founder Felix Fink during work.

Current project state

Right now, the team gathers all historic data of the Audi preproduction series program planning, combs out unusable figures and visualizes the results. Thus, Buchholz and his department are able to use findings for new models and thus further optimize the planning, such as the number of pre-series vehicles that are needed for technical development, quality assurance as well as the sales and communications department. Later on, the project is meant to give information on changes in the whole launch management. Thus, Audi would be able to better organize capacities and resources on the mega trends of the automobile branch, such as the electrification or the connectivity of cars.

Combining studies and start-up work

Even though the project of the students and Audi is in an initial phase, but still lectures, finals, family, free time and their own company sound like a lot of work. To reconcile this, the guys split their tasks: “Our meetings take place spontaneously, but for the weekly telephone conferences with Audi, we meet up in the office”, Felix recounts. “In total, we work in different constellations, like on your own from home or together in the office”, the student explains. Thus, the four are flexible and are still able to take care of their tasks from their studies. The team is looking forward to an exciting journey into the world of data. Step by step, the students want to optimize the processes at Audi with their analyses. What they will do after their studies is still written in the stars. Who knows, maybe we will meet the software experts in the IT department at Audi?

A strong team: Crowdcoding IT Solutions and Audi

The four student founders took part in the 2016 Smart Factory Hackathon. From this, a cooperation has originated that now helps the Audi preproduction series planning with evaluating the needed number of pre-series vehicles by using qualitative data analyses and visualizations. Saved capacities can then be used for the development of certain topics, such as the electrification of cars.

The four founders in the office: Aside from lectures, finals and free time, time in the office has become a part of the student's everyday life. To harmonize everything, they work from home occasionally.
Co-founder Tom Schumann (22) studies business engineering and takes care of optimizing the preproduction series planning at Audi.
Felix Fink is a student in business engineering and now spends time in both lecture halls and office.
The third one: Lucca Groß (22), engineering student and co-founder of the start-up from Aachen.
Last, but not least: Patrick Mertens (21), master student in electrical engineering.
For the four students, working can also be comfy: Tom Schumann sits down on a comfortable arm chair.

The four founders in the office: Aside from lectures, finals and free time, time in the office has become a part of the student's everyday life. To harmonize everything, they work from home occasionally.

1/6

Co-founder Tom Schumann (22) studies business engineering and takes care of optimizing the preproduction series planning at Audi.

2/6

Felix Fink is a student in business engineering and now spends time in both lecture halls and office.

3/6

The third one: Lucca Groß (22), engineering student and co-founder of the start-up from Aachen.

4/6

Last, but not least: Patrick Mertens (21), master student in electrical engineering.

5/6

For the four students, working can also be comfy: Tom Schumann sits down on a comfortable arm chair.

6/6

Make a comment

Your email adress will not be published

1.9.0