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A success story: smartlytic GmbH celebrates its 5th anniversary

The Hof IT company smartlytic celebrated its 5th anniversary on 22.02.2022. The special thing about it: The three founders Dr. Dirk Reinel, Johannes Drescher and Dr. Florian Wogenstein are pure home-growns of Hof University. They have remained loyal to the university to this day, as evidenced not least by joint projects such as the nationwide headache register or a study on corona vaccine breakthroughs.

from left to right: Dr. Florian Wogenstein, Dr. Dirk Reinel, Johannes Drescher; Photo: smartlytic GmbH;

The name smartlytic is composed of the words “smart” and “analytic(s)”, meaning intelligent analyses. As a service provider in the IT industry, the company deals with software development, for example the development of smartphone apps and web applications, as well as the analysis of company data, for example from the areas of production or sales. The company has been growing continuously since 2017. It was able to double its number of employees during this time and now also cooperates with companies from the region.

From the idea to the foundation

The three former fellow students and current colleagues and business partners are first and foremost also friends. Even during their joint bachelor’s degree (Applied Computer Science) and master’s degree (Internet-Web Science) at Hof University of Applied Sciences, the three were certain: they wanted to found a company! However, they did not have a concrete idea of what the future company should look like and what services they wanted to offer. The plan only became more concrete during their scientific work at the Institute for Information Systems (iisys), more precisely within the Analytical Information Systems research group (FG AIS) headed by Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt.

There has been an established start-up culture at the university for quite some time. At some point, the idea of a spin-off from my research group came up, and I could always imagine the three members of staff at the time as founders.”

Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt, Head of the Analytical Information Systems Research Group
Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt (Head of Analytical Information Systems Research Group); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Together with mentor Prof. Dr. Scheidt, they conducted research on various topics. The foundation stone for the foundation was finally laid by the project to digitize a teacher’s calendar for the Vogtland company FLVG Verlagshaus OHG. For this, Dr. Dirk Reinel, Johannes Drescher and Dr. Florian Wogenstein finally founded their own company smartlytic in February 2017 and later moved into the new digital startup center Einstein1 as one of the first tenants.

Development of the company smartlytic

Since its founding, the company has been gaining more and more new customers. These include GEALAN Fenster-Systeme GmbH, which is an important customer in the field of data analysis. The Upper Franconian start-up ahearo GmbH is also part of the customer base

However, iisys is still one of the most important research partners for us. It is a central station in our professional career.”

Dr. Dirk Reinel, Founder smartlytic

Highlights of the company’s history

Smartlytic’s largest customer is the German Migraine and Headache Society e.V. (DMKG). The development of a Germany-wide headache registry together with Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt is therefore probably one of the most important projects in the company’s history so far. “In 2018, the three of us went to Essen together with Prof. Dr. Scheidt. There, an event of the DMKG with several competitors took place,” says smartlytic founder Johannes Drescher. “At the same time, there was also the soccer World Cup. Uncertain whether we had the contract for the major project “Headache Registry” in the bag, the four of us were cheering along with the German team during the car ride. In the end, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Germany against South Korea.” And more:

However, we did get the nod for the headache registry later on. This trip thus became an unforgettable experience and an anecdote that we always like to tell.”

Johannes Drescher, founder smartlytic

Homegrown students remain loyal to university

Even years after founding the company, the three homegrowns remain loyal to Hof University:

It is very important to us to continue to cooperate with Hof University. The cooperation is research-oriented and always up-to-date.”

Dr. Florian Wogenstein, Founder smartlytic

The founders are also keen to involve current students in their projects – after all, these could be future potential employees.

Hof University as a springboard for founders

Dr. Dirk Reinel, Johannes Drescher and Dr. Florian Wogenstein have certainly shown with their success story that it is possible to found a successful company after studying and researching. And all this at the same location – Hof University of Applied Sciences.

“You can see from such examples how far studies at a university of applied sciences can carry you,” says Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt. And further:

At our university in Hof, there is a “doer mood.” You have an idea? Then you get support and no obstacles are put in your way. This has given rise to many initiatives – including student initiatives – and Hof University has become an innovative, cosmopolitan educational institution.”

Prof. Dr. Jörg Scheidt, Head of the Analytical Information Systems Research Group

Certainly not everyone is destined to be a founder. This requires a great willingness to perform, stamina and the right comrades-in-arms. However, if these prerequisites are met, Hof University of Applied Sciences, with its focus on start-ups in the degree programs and the Einstein Digital Start-up Center1 , certainly provides the right framework for a successful start-up.

Franziska Brömel

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