This is how we did it – Episode 1 with Leonie Althaus from traide AI

The decision to found your own start-up is always a challenge. In our series “This is how we did it”, we speak to company founders from our portfolio who first experienced life as an entrepreneur during challenging times. They offer first-hand experience and valuable tips. Leonie Althaus, founder of traide AI, kicks off the series. Her start-up uses the latest cloud and AI technologies to support companies of all sizes and from all sectors in adhering to customs regulations and automating their customs processes. In this interview, the entrepreneur shares her experiences and has a clear message: “seek out opportunities.”

What opportunities did the crisis present you with as a young company?
In terms of customers, we identified that there was a lot of interest in saving resources and money through the latest AI technology. This is something we tapped into with our product idea.  In terms of investors, it is undoubtedly important to show that you are earning money and can put the investment to good use. Right from the start, we had a firm focus on sales and managed to keep our costs in check. 

Leonie Althaus, founder from traide AI (Photo: traide AI)

What did you learn most from this time?
In some industries, it can sometimes take a while until the first signs of success can be seen – this is partly due to their possibilities and openness towards technology. It’s always worth plugging away with topics. You have to open up a lot of opportunities.

What developments or challenges – perhaps even unexpected ones – did you encounter in the early phase, and how did you respond to them as a team?
For us, the new large language models (LLMs) were incredibly important and helped us to gain acceptance on the market. Our quick response as a team really helped us out in this regard.

What should entrepreneurs pay particular attention to when founding a start-up at the moment?
Ideally you want to have a business model where you can start earning money quickly and, if necessary, be independent from external capital. 

Do you have any other advice to pass on to our readers?
We quickly realised how important our office culture was for us in the early stage. Having days where the whole team is in the office works really well for us, as it ensures that we get to see each other in person several days a week.

Media contact
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH  
Tobias Jacob, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager   
T.: +49 228 – 82300 – 121

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