Hello Fritjof, could you please introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Fritjof, 32 years old and one of the Co-Founders and Head of Engineering at Aiir Innovations. Born in Germany, I came from a software engineering background to obtain the Master’s Degree in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam. That’s where I met the rest of the team to start this exciting journey. I am currently living in Germany with my wife and our little son.
2/ Did you always have the ambition to set up your own company?
I have had a tiny business registered for a long time already, which I used for occasional side jobs in IT and photography. In addition to that, I have always been passionate about creating software solutions from scratch, learning new tools and trying out new approaches in my previous positions.
However, that prior experience is hardly comparable to what we have now: A super strong team building an innovative product to disrupt a global industry.
Founding a start-up company presents you with new challenges every day. Some of them may seem insurmountable but in the end, every single one of them helps us grow – both personally and professionally.
3/ Can you share with us some technology you are using?
Over the past six years since our company was founded, our technology stack has evolved a lot, as we have adopted new skills and better tools have been released. It is truly amazing how far you can get today by relying on great software available to anyone out there.
While we started out with a desktop pc application around our core AI, we have since moved to a fully web-based engine inspection platform with a distributed computing backend. That gives us so much more flexibility in designing, creating, and maintaining our product and its features for the end users.
Having a well performing AI is a great competitive advantage, but for it to create value for people, it must be made accessible through an intuitive application around it. Modern web technologies and cloud computing makes it possible to achieve tremendous results.
4/ Which development organization do you have?
With a founding team of five technical people, we’ve had sufficient development capacity for the initial phase of our company.
But over time, everyone of the founders has more and more grown into their own specialized role as the challenges became harder and more diverse. In recent years, we have already grown the development team by 3 people, and we are planning on growing further soon, in all areas of expertise.
Being an AI focused company, naturally a lot of work also goes into the research and development of the neural networks at our product’s core. Bridging this gap between science and product continues to require careful prioritization of problems and allocation of resources.
My personal responsibilities lie in leading the development team, where I make sure that we keep delivering, learning, and growing. Luckily, that still includes coding too!
5/ You are based in Germany while the team is in Amsterdam, is this a major challenge?
By moving back to my hometown four years ago, I was the first team member to work fully remote. As we all know, by now that is much more common practice and when the pandemic struck, it was very helpful to have prior experience in virtual collaboration – knowing that we can just be as productive from anywhere. Today, we still have a physical office in Amsterdam but people of the team are spread all over the Netherlands and even Europe.
Thank you Fritjof