Time for a Battle?
Urban Invention has reinvented gaming outdoors.
In conversation with Sandro Engel.
New encounters in the public space
Urban Invention's playful inventiveness has found creative ways to change attitudes to life for the better in public space.
You started your business with a completely new idea. Tell us a bit about your vision.
Our vision is to conceive urban space as once again a place for encounters, and shift the focus from pure functionality towards social contact.
How did you hit on your unusual idea?
The idea to make the crossing signals a place to meet actually did occur to me while I was waiting to cross the road.
What went particularly well in the start-up phase?
Our presentation video going viral brought us lots of good contacts fast.
How did that happen – who gave you decisive support?
People all over the world could identify with the situation and our approach. And we got direct support from the university (HAWK Hildesheim) where we were still studying. The City of Hildesheim and the local company Pengutronix, along with the signal request device makers Langmatz, also helped us with the first practical applications.
Why did you choose Hildesheim as a business base?
We were already living and studying here – we know the local structures and have contacts that can speed things up.
What would be the most important advice you’d give other entrepreneurs for the start-up phase?
The crucial thing is not to let anyone stop you. Just go for it. Even so, when you start out it's always good to get enough feedback to see the risks and opportunities for yourself.
Looking back now, would you have done anything differently?
Sometimes we think we could have taken a few more risks to get the idea moving faster into practice. On the other hand we were still self-financed and thus had full control of how to run our company. In negotiations, a bit of help wouldn’t have done us any harm – in this area, we think there should be more funding and support for all start-ups and new businesses.