The CeBIT is the world’s leading trade fair for information technology and telecommunications, held once a year in Hannover, Germany. This year we got the chance to present our Startup Kullo on the joint booth of Hessen.
The theme of CeBIT 2014 was datability, defined as the ability to use large volumes of data sustainably and responsibly. How that fits together with the partner country Great Britain is something we didn’t exactly get yet. Anyways.
Below a big signboard with our designer’s typo-easteregg two computers where running the prototype of our desktop software, allowing us to send Kullo messages between them. Next to the main desk, people could pre-register their Kullo address on an iPad, exclusively at the CeBIT.
Since we don’t have staff to do trade fairs for us, you could meet co-founder Simon and our marketing guru Christian at this spot on C24 in Hall 9 the whole five days, nine hours each.
To be honest, we did not have a clue how to do that. Trade fair? What are these visitors expecting and looking for? So we just hold tight on our desk and tried to look good.
It turned out that our claim Secure Messaging now possible for everyone. was a good start to pull visitors and soon we were involved in dozens of conversations with people who wanted to know how Kullo works or how it is different from product XY.
One thing we experienced was that Secure Messaging was always associated with Messenger and Instant Messaging, which is not exactly what we do. We don’t focus on informal live chat commutation. Thus we soon started to open with something a bit provocative:
We replace the email.
That worked great and oh my god, you learn to sell! After 2 CeBIT days, we knew exactly how to explain our product efficiently such that people got the main concept and wanted to know more. So if you ever need to train your sales staff, put them on a fairground and let them try what works best.
Fortunately we ignored all the advise to write our texts in German because CeBIT visitors are quite international. We talked to people from as far as Pakistan and Canada who came all the way to Germany just for the CeBIT. Overall approximately 1/3 of all conversations have been English.
Find the press
You have journalists everywhere at the CeBIT but if you are an unknown startup, they are not necessarily coming to you. You need to find them. At the t3n founder’s party we got in contact with one of their journalists, who wrote about us afterwards. Starting on day 2, Christian talked to everyone who was carrying a TV camera, which brought us an interview on ebru TV. CeBIT blogged. We also met the deputy editor-in-chief of c’t, which resulted in two heise journalists visiting us who are now observing our startup and wait for the launch.
Security is popular
On CeBIT thursday we got the chance to give a talk about the limits of secret services and why current cryptography is still secure, if used.
The talk was so crowded, visitors had to stand around the future talk area. It turned out that encryption is still a hot topic and people want to be able to secure their communications and escape mass espionage.
Quantity and Quality
On the one hand we met a whole lot of technology-affine end users who want to use Kullo with their friends and colleagues and who pre-registered more than a hundred Kullo addresses. On the other hand there are representatives of industrial leaders such as SAP and Software AG, who gave us a positive feedback that there are use cases for Kullo in their companies because their customers have troubles setting up email encryption. We talked to politicians as well as investors.
Over the whole week we received a lot of sympathy for our vision and our product which is a huge motivator for us to continue to work hard towards the Kullo launch.