Moritz Beutter is one of the founders of faktual, a startup from our batch 10. Moritz talks about how the startup’s journey began, what journalists will love about faktual and why it’s important to talk openly about your ideas.
Moritz, in January you moved to Hamburg. How was your start in Northern Germany?
Moritz: Actually, it was pretty chaotic: Abraham and I rented a furnished apartment with an old night storage heater and couldn’t figure out how it works. The first three days it was freezing cold in the apartment and we had to sleep in our jackets since there were no blankets in the apartment. The following days the heating worked and it was burning hot. It sounds like one of these myths from the beginning of a startup …
How’s the faktual team dealing with the current situation? Are you still in Hamburg?
Moritz: We moved back and are working in our home offices now. The situation is definitely not easy for us. Before the crisis we were invited to various events to present faktual. Now everything has been postponed or canceled. Nevertheless, we are making the best out of the situation and are using the time to get everything ready for when it all gets back to normal.
In a few words: what is faktual working on?
Moritz: We are currently building a fully customizable search engine for journalists. They can enter search terms and faktual immediately pre-processes the results. It automatically extracts facts, quotes and further pieces of relevant information which are then shown right away.
What’s the coolest feature of faktual?
For me personally, the coolest feature is the Natural Language Processing: computers now really start to understand language. I am still mind-blown of what my co-founder Abraham is developing with our team.
What makes your team so special?
Our personal motivation is to help the struggling media industry. In that way we want to strengthen democracy on a bigger scope. Also, we are really good friends. I believe that makes a huge difference in a founder’s team. We are pretty excited about our product and about having a startup. So for us, it’s a lot of fun and therefore we also put in a lot of effort.
How did you come up with your idea?
Moritz: Abraham and I did an additional Master’s program. During that time a company that produces software for publishing houses had the idea of building a Social Media Listening Tool. Since there are already similar tools on the market, we instead took two weeks of our time to conduct approximately 20 interviews with journalists. We’ve found out that they are currently struggling with the increasing amount of information on the Internet. To solve this problem, we have then developed faktual. Since December we are working on it full-time.
Where’s faktual now?
Moritz: We are currently finishing our prototype. Now people actually can test it. We have already scheduled several testings with large newspaper publishers and broadcasting companies which will start next month. We plan on having our MVP ready to launch until the end of May.
What was the best piece of advice you received as a startup?
Moritz: I heard it at NMA and I heard it before: be open and talk about everything you have in mind! Especially when you talk to people from different domains, they all have a different understanding of what the world needs and what you are doing. Putting all these together helps you to create a good product. Don’t be afraid of talking about new ideas and don’t worry too much about anyone stealing it!
What will journalists like most about using faktual?
Moritz: We accelerate desk-research. Journalists don’t have to go through ads and secondary information on Google anymore. On top of that we reduce reading time without sacrificing quality by pre-processing the research. All this gives journalists the time back to do what they love most: investigative research. Time to uncover things that cannot be found on the internet and thus to quickly pass on completely new information to the public.
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